President Barack Obama is to blame for the government shutdown by standing idly by as the budget talks reached crisis point, then pointing the finger at Republicans, Rep. Ted Poe says.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV, the Texas Republican said the House has made continual efforts to work with the Senate to reach a budget deal, but every compromise Republicans proposed was rejected by Senate Democrats and the president.
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"We've been trying to continue to work, and work the government, allow the government to receive funding. Meanwhile the Senate is basically closed down, they're not doing anything, the president spends time campaigning and blaming Republicans," said Poe, a member of the House Judiciary Committee and Foreign Affairs Committee.
"It's interesting — Nero fiddled while Rome burned; our president played golf over the weekend while the government shut down. Nero blamed the Christians and Obama blames the Republicans. It's an interesting analogy."
Poe, who represents a Houston district, took issue with comments the president made at his press conference on Tuesday when he blamed Republicans for the impasse.
"The president was real personal. He made personal attacks on members of the House of Representatives. It's not very presidential in my opinion but the government to be shut down is really the fault of the president and the Democrats because the House has passed legislation to fund the government," he said.
"We don't want to fund Obamacare, but we fund everything else. They don't want to fund anything in the government."
He added, "Let's place the blame where it belongs and that's the president. Calling us out, making it personal, he can do that if he wants to but we're going to, hopefully, stand our ground and make sure that we do the right thing for the American public."
Poe said that while there are some differences in opinion among Republicans about the best way forward, he acknowledged that some in the GOP propose a new resolution that would avoid stipulations on Obamacare. Overall, he says, while he does not think that solution will be viable, he also does not believe there is a great divide within the party.
"Sure, we disagree because we're independent Republicans, but at the end of the day, we're going to be united on continuing to try to work something out."
Poe said that in the coming days Republicans will continue to try to find ways to fund specific portions of the government on a piecemeal basis, regardless of the obstacles created by Senate Democrats.
"The Senate, basically, is closed already. They can close for five years, as far as I'm concerned, with Harry Reid over there refusing to ever vote on some of our important legislation. So that's our plan and that's what we're going to do for the next few days," he said.
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