Why 3 Congressmen Bucked Their Parties on the Spending Bill
A GOP-drafted resolution to keep the government operational until mid-December while cutting spending by defunding President Obama's Affordable Care Act passed the House of Representatives Friday 230-189, almost entirely along party lines - except for three members who bucked their parties.
Democratic Reps. Mike McIntyre of North Carolina and Jim Matheson of Utah crossed the aisle to vote in favor the continuing resolution while Republican Rep. Scott Rigell of Virginia stood alone as the only GOP House member to vote against the resolution.
Both Democratic representatives have opposed the Affordable Care Act in the past, and saw Friday's vote as a necessary step to ensure the government remains functional.
In a statement, McIntyre said, "Among many other crucial services, it is essential that we honor our senior citizens, veterans, and men and women in uniform by ensuring there is no delay in their monthly retirement checks, health care coverage or military benefits. Keeping our government operational is vital and today's vote does that."
Not surprisingly, McIntyre also cited his strong opposition to Obamacare.
"My record on the health care law has been crystal clear - I voted against it when it was first considered, have voted to repeal it dozens of times and today voted to defund it," the North Carolina lawmaker said. "The need for health care reform is clear, but this law is not the right approach for our citizens, communities and businesses."
Matheson, a conservative Democrat who also voted against Obamacare in 2010, cited similar reasons in a Facebook post Friday, "It is irresponsible to add unrelated provisions to legislation to keep our government running. I have always preferred straightforward legislating that avoids political games. However, I believe we should avoid shutting down the government, and I voted for a continuing resolution to keep the legislative process working toward that end today."
The lone Republican to vote against the continuing resolution, Rigell, cited Congress' inability to pass necessary appropriations to fund the government as his main reason for crossing party lines.
"This CR fails to address the sequester that is negatively impacting those who wear our nation's uniform and is the result of Congress' inability to pass the 12 appropriations bills necessary to properly fund the government on time," he said. "What is needed is a comprehensive solution to our nation's fiscal challenges, including a replacement for sequestration."
The Senate is expected to strip the provision to defund Obamacare from the House's version, and there are likely to be more Republican dissenters like Rigell in the upper chamber.
President Obama mentioned one of them in his remarks at an automobile plant in Missouri on Friday.
"One Republican senator called shutting down the government over the Affordable Care Act 'the dumbest idea I've ever heard,'" Obama said, referring to Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C.