DeMint: Obama to Blame if Government Shuts Down

Image: DeMint: Obama to Blame if Government Shuts Down

Sunday, 04 Aug 2013 11:54 AM

By Audrey Hudson and Amy Woods

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If Republicans stop funding Obamacare when Congress passes its annual appropriations bills to keep the government operating, the blame lies with the president for a government shutdown if he chooses to veto the measure, says former Sen. Jim DeMint.

"If Obama would not accept a funding bill for the government that fully funds the government but didn't have his failed law in it, then he would be shutting down the government," DeMint, the former South Carolina Republican senator now leading the conservative Heritage Foundation, told "Fox News Sunday."

"No Republican I'm aware of wants to shut the government down. The whole point is we need to fund the government, but we should not fund Obamacare," DeMint said.

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DeMint said his organization will hold a series of town meetings during the August recess to tell voters this is the last, best shot at stopping the law from taking effect.

"I'm convinced the more Americans know about Obamacare, the more they're going to stand with those of us who want to stop it," DeMint said. "Obamacare is unfair, unworkable, unaffordable, and it's very unpopular."

"Even the Democrats who wrote the bill say it's a train wreck, and the president has agreed it's not ready for prime time," DeMint said.

When Congress returns from its five week break in September, it will only have nine working days to pass all of the spending bills necessary to keep the government operating.

House Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, appearing on Fox, said Republicans and Democrats can find common ground to keep government operating.

With a couple dozen Democrats deserting the president on Obamacare and labor leaders begging for a way out, Cantor signaled that tossing out the healthcare law will be part of the legislative package.

"Most conservatives, most on the left -- Republicans, Democrats alike -- say we shouldn't be forcing a government shutdown," Cantor said.

"What we're trying to do is fund a government and make sure also that we take away the kinds of things that are standing in the way of a growing economy, better healthcare, and all the while keeping our eyes focused on trying to deal with the ultimate problem, which is this growing deficit," Cantor said.

The principal problem Congress must tackle is the rapid growth of entitlement spending that was compounded with the new healthcare law, Cantor said.

"The president has already given up on Obamacare, he has already conceded that it's flawed and the employer mandate shouldn't be put into effect," Cantor said. "Let's do the same for individuals, let's say it isn't fair to burden them with the taxes and the mandate."

But Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press," said Republican calls to shut down the government would "do great harm."

"I’d love to [de-fund Obamacare], too, but shutting down the government and playing into the hands of the president politically is not the right thing to do," he said.

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