The shutdown two-step: More from Tim Griffin | Arkansas Blog

The shutdown two-step: More from Tim Griffin

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YES OR NO? Simple question that Tim Griffin wont answer. If he doesnt get his way on Obamacare, will he vote to shut down government.
  • YES OR NO? Simple question that Tim Griffin won't answer. If he doesn't get his way on Obamacare, will he vote to shut down government.
I wrote the other day that both Republican Reps. Tom Cotton and Tim Griffin appear to be engaging in word games that end in the same outcome — a government shutdown unless Obamacare is defunded or radically impaired. A news release on the jump details Tom Cotton's preference to let the chips fall if he doesn't get his way on health care, despite the fact that many Republicans think such an idea is nutty.

But let me give a little more attention to U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin. His office rarely communicates with me but they have here and I want them to be heard. Generally, Griffin finds it much more congenial to leak material to a daily newspaper reporter in return for his being quoted generously on viewing with alarm the latest bad news to emerge about ExxonMobil, one of Griffin's best buddies until it smeared Mayflower with tar sands.

I mentioned Griffin Tuesday, particularly this comment he made on Twitter:

GOP Governors and Rep. Tim Griffin agree that shutting govt down not solution to spending problems. Repeal Obamacare! Reform govt!

I observed Wednesday that Griffin and Cotton seemed to be positioning themselves to blame Obama if a shutdown occurred. THEY don't want a shutdown. But if it does, it's because their preferable solution — repeal of Obamacare — didn't happen.

Today, I got a rare communication from the Griffin press secretary, Matt Wolking. Here's how it went:

Wolking: Rep. Griffin has made it abundantly clear that he does not believe a government shutdown is the right path forward and believes the Griffin-Young bills passed by the House are the best options to provide Americans relief from Obamacare.

Me: Well, that was not what his Twitter hinted at the other day.

Wolking: Not true. Here are the tweets where he makes it clear he does not support a shutdown.

@JesseFFerguson no. I am for the Griffin-Young bills House passed. Obama agree employer mandate must be postponed. Lets do the same with Individual.

GOP Governors and Rep. Tim Griffin agree that shutting govt down not solution to spending problems. Repeal Obamacare! Reform govt!

Me: And if the Senate doesn't go along with House vote to repeal, then what?

If you are issuing a statement that Tim Griffin will vote for a continuing budget resolution no matter what happens on the Affordable Care Act, I'd be happy to have that statement.

But if not shutting government down is contingent on Senate adoption of your legislation or "repeal of Obamacare", that's not what you're saying. I stand by what I think his utterance "sounds like" until the congressman has said something definitive on the subject.

Wolking: Sounds like it’s not worth troubling you with the facts.

Me: Sounds like you won't answer my question. I quoted the earlier Twitter. It raises the direct question: If Griffin bill doesn't pass, does he or does he not vote for continuing government operations.

Me (some time later): Yes or no will do.

And if the answer is yes, I'll instantly say I was wrong about Tim Griffin. That he will keep government operating even if he doesn't get his way on Obamacare.

Me (later still): I'll put down "crickets" as your response.

DEMOCRATIC SENATORIAL CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE NEWS RELEASE

Arrogance & Bad Judgment: Tom Cotton Threatens Government Shutdown

Fellow Republicans Slam Cotton’s Shutdown Threat: “Dumbest Idea I’ve Ever Heard,” “Not Achievable,” “Equivalent Of Throwing A Temper Tantrum,” A “Silly Effort”

John McCain: “Most Americans are really tired of those kinds of shenanigans here in Washington”

Tom Cotton’s arrogance and bad judgment appears to be limitless. In a recent interview on a conservative news show, Cotton was asked if he supported a government shutdown. Despite ducking the topic when asked by Arkansas journalists, Cotton admitted to a right wing audience that he would threaten to shutdown the government and allow the country to default:

“I think that when we return from our August recess in September with our continuing resolution and then in October-November with the debt ceiling, those are important opportunities to try to strike another blow against Obamacare before that law takes effect, before the insurance marketplaces begin to open for enrollment on October 1 and before they open for business on January 1. And whether that takes the form of trying to defund it or trying to effectively defund it by delaying for a year or two…”

Here’s what Republican Senators have to say about Tom Cotton’s threat to shut down the government.

Republican Senator John McCain: “Most Americans are really tired of those kinds of shenanigans here in Washington”

Republican Senator Richard Burr: "I think it's the dumbest idea I've ever heard of"

Republican Senator Bob Corker: "Oh, I think it's a silly effort"

Republican Senator Tom Cole: The “equivalent of throwing a temper tantrum”

“Tom Cotton’s arrogance and bad judgment appears to have no limit, and his willingness to shut down the government and allow the country to default proves that he is a dangerous ideologue who does not have the best interests of the people of Arkansas in mind,” said Justin Barasky, spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. “Republican Senators have slammed Cotton’s position, suggesting the idea is both childish and dangerous for the economy. Arkansans need leaders who are standing up for them in Washington, not self-serving politicians like Tom Cotton who care more about their personal political ambition instead than fighting for Arkansas.”

Cotton’s latest example of arrogance and bad judgment comes a week after he voted against low interest loans for Arkansas students despite admitting he took government loans to help him pay for Harvard.

Mark Pryor leads Tom Cotton by 8 in a new poll released earlier this week.

BACKGROUND:

Hugh Hewitt Show On July 30th: Cotton Called A Continuing Resolution To Fund The Government And Raising The Debt Ceiling “Opportunities To Try To Prevent Obamacare.” On Hugh Hewitt’s show, Cotton said: “I think that when we return from our August recess in September with our continuing resolution and then in October-November with the debt ceiling, those are important opportunities to strike another blow against Obamacare before that law takes effect, before the insurance marketplaces begin to open for enrollment on October 1 and before they open for business on January 1, and whether that takes the form of trying to defund it or trying to effectively defund it by delaying the core provisions for a year, two years — the individual mandate, the employer mandate, and the insurance exchanges — it’s something that we’re still debating internally but because those are two must-pass pieces of legislation, it gives us an opportunity to try to prevent Obamacare.” [Hugh Hewitt Show, 7/30/13]

Yesterday, Cotton Spokeswoman Refused To Say Whether Cotton Would Sign Pledge To Shutdown Government To An Arkansas Reporter. On August 7, 2013, John Brummett of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported on an exchange between him and Cotton spokeswoman Caroline Rabbitt. “Me, after opening pleasantries: ‘I am endeavoring to write about this business of certain Republican threats to shut down the government after Sept. 30 if the Affordable Care Act is funded therein. In that regard, I see on a CNN post this sentence: ‘And a bloc of about 71 House Republicans say they will refuse to vote for a measure that funds the government if it continues to fund the Affordable Care Act.’ What I need to know is whether Tom Cotton is among those 71, or, beyond that, what his position is on the shutdown/Obamacare matter.’ Rabbitt: ‘Well, since you didn’t send me to the story you’re referencing, it’s a bit difficult to comment on it. I would assume you mean 71 signers of a letter to leadership about defunding Obamacare. If I am correct then your answer is that he generally prefers consulting with colleagues in person, rather than joining letters. But he strongly supports all efforts to defund, delay and ultimately repeal Obamacare, regardless the legislative approach.’ Me: ‘I will take the final sentence to mean he strongly supports even the government shutdown approach advocated by Ted Cruz and warned against by Paul Ryan. Allowing perhaps for some nuance.’ Rabbitt: ‘I am not sure how you can make that claim based on my answer. I think you are inferring something based on what you want to be true, not what I actually said.’ Me: ‘I don’t want to argue. I want to get it right. My reading is that ‘strongly supports all efforts…Regardless the legislative approach' covers shutdown. Key words 'strongly' and 'all' and 'regardless.' But I will say you stopped short of specifically committing Cotton to shutdown. Barely. Maybe.’ Rabbitt: ‘Congressman Cotton doesn’t want a government shutdown, nor does anyone in his party. Only Barack Obama is threatening a shutdown. They’ve talked about not voting for a [continuing resolution] that funds Obamacare. The shutdown is just inferred, like you did to me earlier.’” [John Brummett, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 8/7/13]

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