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Rep. Cole: Congress Must Avoid Government Shutdown

Image: Rep. Cole: Congress Must Avoid Government Shutdown

Sunday, 01 Dec 2013 12:19 PM

By Amy Woods

Oklahoma Republican Rep. Tom Cole said Sunday that Congress will focus on passing a budget and place immigration reform on hold when it reconvenes.

"I think the most important thing right now is to make sure we don't have a government shutdown, to make sure we deal with the debt ceiling," Cole said on ABC's "This Week." "I don't think [a government shutdown is] likely, but, look, we've stumbled into one before that I didn't think was wise and didn't think should occur."

On the issue of the Affordable Care Act, Cole predicted doom for President Barack Obama's remaining term and legacy.

"You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and the first impression here was terrible, and I think it's going to be an unfolding disaster for the president," Cole said.

While the White House unveiled an improved and functioning Healthcare.gov website Saturday, the rollout of Obamacare remains rocky.

"The individual market is pretty tiny compared to what's yet to come," Cole said, regarding the enrollment of Americans as they join the exchanges. "I think as that unfolds, this thing is going to be an unmitigated political disaster for the president."

Reacting to Pope Francis' recent white paper about capitalism and growing economic inequality in the United States, the Republican seemed to side with the pontiff.

"I think this is a very hopeful message in terms of what our obligations are as individuals," Cole said. "I don't see this as an attack on the existing system, but I see it as a very useful corrective and a call for us to be better people."

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