House Republicans are "right on the mark" in their efforts to defund Obamacare, Al Cardenas, chairman of the influential American Conservative Union, tells Newsmax.
He also says the Democrats' intransigence in their dealings on Obamacare and the government shutdown shows they are "interested in politics more than governing America."
Cardenas is former chairman of the Republican Party of Florida. His American Conservative Union is best known for sponsoring an annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV on Wednesday, Cardenas expresses the ACU's position on the partial government shutdown that began on Tuesday.
"First of all, it's nothing new. We've had 15 shutdowns since the 1970s — more than half of them occurring during the term of Republican presidents," he says.
"So, the Democrats that cry out like this is a once-in-a-lifetime situation, it's not appropriate. It's been the rule rather than the exception that when we come to the end of the fiscal year, if there are things up in the air, sometimes you go past Oct. 1, which is what's happened here.
"ACU believes that the House has been right on the mark. Its first vote was actually the best vote, and that was to defund Obamacare. There have been a couple of fallback positions, one to kick the can down the road, so to speak, for a year, and the other to go into conference to discuss with the Senate what could be a compromise solution.
"Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats have ruled out both of those more than reasonable options, and so we stand with the House. We think they've done the right job."
Cardenas asserts that House Speaker John Boehner "ought to tell Harry Reid, 'Look, you've been totally unreasonable, you are the prime reason we're in a deadlock and past Oct. 1.
"'I'm going to adjourn. I'm going to tell my members to go home. You've got two offers on the table. You're just not ready to implement the individual mandate, just as you weren't ready to implement the corporate mandate, and that's why, by executive fiat, you, Mr. President, and the Democrat majority have postponed it for a year.
"'Now call us back when you're ready to go into conference and work this out.'"
Pointing to the problems created by Obamacare, Cardenas says, "The program is taking $700 billion out of Medicare over the next decade. Not much is talked about that, but our seniors should understand that their Medicare program is the one most greatly affected by Obamacare.'
"They've lowered the reimbursements to doctors and hospitals. That means seniors are going to have far less options under Medicare than they would have otherwise had. That's one of the main reasons why we believe that Obamacare hurts seniors the most, and we did the right thing by asking that it be defunded.
"Most Americans now agree that Obamacare doesn't work. Now we're in a deadlock. We've got the reality of a Senate majority and a White House ready to veto any bill we could pass, and so the House, frankly, has done a good job. They've come up with two alternatives which help the country. One is to do nothing for a year, the other is to see what we can work out.
"The Senate has rejected the only two options that made any sense for compromise, and so the House ought to shut down, go home, and wait to see what the Senate does."
A Quinnipiac University poll shows that 72 percent of Americans oppose and 22 percent support shutting down the government to stop implementation of Obamacare.
"The polls are an accurate reflection of people's mindset,” Cardenas says, “and we're always going to be at a disadvantage when the president with a bully pulpit can address a nation any time he wants to and get favorable coverage from the mainstream media.
"But I will also say that leaders on our side have not done a good job at getting to the public and talking about the things I just mentioned: how seniors will be hurt by Obamacare.
"There was a strong feeling to postpone it [because] they're not ready. Yesterday, when the exchanges opened, the answer was, well, we apologize for the inconvenience but we're not ready to handle your request. They have this thing with 150 languages — that's the ultimate political correctness, what's wrong with the English language? — to deal with these requests?
"The bureaucratic expenses involved with Obamacare will far surpass any savings that they intend to have. Frankly, they want to get everybody insured, but [on] the backs of those who played by the rules and are over 45 or 50 years of age, and that's not fair to America's middle class. Those people are going to pay as much as 50, 100 percent more in premiums in order to satisfy Barack Obama and his mission for Obamacare."
Cardenas agrees that the shutdown could hurt the GOP in the "short term," but adds: "What we need to do is have a better public relations effort. The speaker needs to adjourn the chamber. He needs to get on a plane, travel the country, have three press conferences a day in different media centers, and explain to the American people why we just can't afford this Obamacare and why they're going to be hurt."
"There's a lot to tell and educate the American people on, but our highest elected official is the speaker. He's got to get on the road until the American people understand and the needle of popularity moves back to where it needs to be."
As for President Obama's leadership on this issue, Cardenas tells Newsmax: "It's the same strategy he used with the sequester, where all of a sudden he was hosting fancy parties and canceling the White House tours for the American people. He's always using an excuse to show an environment that doesn't exist."
"If he agreed to temporary [funding] in the areas that wouldn't be affected, government could be run and run properly, and healthcare would be the only issue that would be on the table.
"But that's not what they want. They'd rather win the politics than win doing the right thing for the American people. So long as Harry Reid and President Obama take this position, nothing's going to happen, because they're interested in politics more than governing America."
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