Ringo says Labrador holding country ‘hostage’ in shutdown; Labrador blames Obama, Senate

Democratic state Rep. Shirley Ringo says Idaho GOP Congressman Raul Labrador is among a group “holding the country hostage to serve their extreme agenda” by refusing to fund the government without delaying Obamacare.

Labrador counters that the House Republicans proposal to delay the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate by a year is “very reasonable” and calls Tuesday’s partial closure of the federal government “The Obama Shutdown.”

Ringo, a Moscow Democrat challenging Labrador in 2014, says in a news release that shutdowns 17 years ago cost an inflation-adjusted $2.1 billion. “The GOP House members who are willing to waste this taxpayer money are the same bunch who less than two weeks ago voted to slash billions from the nation’s food stamp program in the name of saving money,” she writes. “This is no way to run a government.”

Labrador, in his Tuesday electronic newsletter titled “The Obama Shutdown,” says Senate Democrats are culpable. He writes, “While the House listens to the American people, the Senate is trying to keep the government shut down with the hope that Republicans get the blame. But the truth is, it will be the Senate that gets blamed for refusing to fix the individual mandate.”

Ringo’s news release and Labrador’s e-newsletter follow, in full:

Ringo:

Shutdown Only Serves Extreme GOP Agenda

Moscow, Idaho–GOP leaders in U.S. House of Representatives have imperiled our nation’s economy for petty partisan gain. They have failed at the most basic task of leadership, to find reasonable common sense solutions for the good of Americans.

My opponent, U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador, would like to have it both ways in this situation. He has both claimed that he does not favor a shutdown while making unreasonable demands, which could only lead to a shutdown.

In FY1996, when the government shut down twice, it cost taxpayers at least $1.4 billion, according to Pew Charitable Trust. That is equivalent to $2.1 billion today. The GOP House members who are willing to waste this taxpayer money are the same bunch who less than two weeks ago voted to slash billions from the nation’s food stamp program in the name of saving money. This is no way to run a government. Our economy, and the world’s economy, is still recovering. With the obvious impacts felt from furloughing more than 800,000 federal government workers, private businesses lose customers.

This morning, I was contacted by a group of constituents who expected to embark on a Grand Canyon rafting trip tomorrow. The closure of national parks has stopped this trip. The various vendors who rely on such visitors now have no income. The group has also lost hours of planning and money already spent on travel. Perhaps their inconveniences are not as devastating as some, but those who would shut down government to push their narrow agenda are insensitive about the consequences.

Others suffer the results, more drastic in many cases, of this shutdown through lack of services, delayed paychecks, and no work. A group of extreme Republicans in Congress seeks to delay or derail the Affordable Healthcare Act and they are holding the country hostage to serve their extreme agenda. At the least, Speaker Boehner could allow an up or down vote to keep government going. We expect representatives we send to Washington D.C. to show more maturity and statesmanship. They are letting their country down.

Labrador:

As you’ve probably heard, the federal government shut down today because of a “lapse in appropriations.”  Quite simply, there is no money currently available for many government functions, although its most important functions – from paying our soldiers to processing Social Security checks – will continue uninterrupted.  To learn more about how the shutdown affects you, click here.

The reason we got to this point is that the Senate refuses to negotiate with the House on what’s called a “Continuing Resolution” (C.R.) to keep the government open.  During the past two weeks, I voted for – and the House passed – three different C.R.s to keep the government open, while also shielding the American people from the worst aspects of ObamaCare.  The Senate, however, refused to accept our C.R.s.  They refused to negotiate at all.  And so, as of right now, we are left with no C.R. and a government shutdown.

This is the 18th shutdown in the past 37 years.  The quickest one lasted one day, while the longest one lasted 21 days.  The House has taken action to end the shutdown immediately.  Early this morning, we passed a resolution requesting a formal conference with the Senate to come to an agreement on a C.R. that ends the shutdown.  The Senate rejected our proposal.  The House continues to strategize on new ideas to end the shutdown, but we need the Senate to come to the table.

What the House has proposed is very reasonable – a one-year delay in the individual mandate (which is part of ObamaCare) and a requirement that all members of Congress and their staff purchase their health insurance on the ObamaCare exchange, with no subsidy beyond what is required by law for all Americans.  As I said on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday, the President has already delayed the employer mandate for big business for one year.  There’s no reason we can’t delay it for the American people too.  It’s really an issue of fairness.

While the House listens to the American people, the Senate is trying to keep the government shut down with the hope that Republicans get the blame.  But the truth is, it will be the Senate that gets blamed for refusing to fix the individual mandate.  As Senator Max Baucus – one of the architects of ObamaCare – recently said, ObamaCare is a “train wreck” and we owe it to the people to minimize the damage of that “train wreck” until either the law becomes workable or gets repealed.

Think about it: If a major company like Apple was rolling out a new product, they wouldn’t go to market unless they were sure it was going to work and all the potential problems had been fixed.  They would do whatever it takes to make sure everything was done, and done right.  That is the total opposite of ObamaCare.  The Senate is rushing into this “train wreck,” with no regard for the people.  And why?  What’s the rush?

The House stands ready to work with the Senate, but we need the Senate to come to the table.  The Senate has forced us into the first government shutdown in 17 years, which is unacceptable.  The American people deserve better.  I will continue advocating to end the shutdown while also ensuring fairness for the American people on health care.

Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

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