For President Barack Obama to use the World War II veterans "as pawns" in the government shutdown negotiations is disgusting, Rep. Jeb Hensarling tells Newsmax TV in an exclusive interview.
"We're the ones trying to open the monuments and it's the president putting up barricades to 90-year-old heroes, to prevent them from seeing the World War II Memorial," the Texas Republican said. "To use them as pawns in this fight, frankly, is just disgusting."
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The federal government announced Wednesday that veterans coming to visit Washington's World War II Memorial would now be granted access
, after closing it yesterday as part of the government wide shutdown, preventing 91 World War II vets from visiting their memorial. Several congressmen showed up to make sure they got past the barricades
The reason why national parks and monuments weren't open Tuesday, Hensarling explains, was because President Obama issued a veto threat against a measure that would have provided the funding for it.
"Now if you listen to the national news this morning, you probably wouldn't have heard a word of it — but yesterday the House put on the floor a bill to keep the national parks open, the president issued a veto threat, the radical liberal elements of the Democrat party joined him, [and] it did not pass on a two-thirds vote that it needed," says the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.
Hensarling explains that the item was on what is called the "suspension calendar, which means in Congress' terms, is typically a noncontroversial item that has to pass with a two-thirds vote. Well, once the president issued his veto threat, most of the Democrats voted against it."
"It will be brought back today," he says, but on the rules calendar instead, which means it only needs a majority to pass it. "The House Republicans are standing by their veterans, standing by the American people who want their monuments open."
According to Hensarling, the Republicans have made several offers to the president and are ready to negotiate, which Obama has finally agreed to do
Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. EST with Republican House Speaker John Boehner, Democrat House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
"Republicans have now put one offer on the table, two offers on the table, three offers on the table, four offers on the table," the Texas congressman explains. "We're still prepared to negotiate, but we're through negotiating with ourselves."
Hensarling tells Newsmax that what House Republicans want is "one, keep the government open. Number two, ensure that Obamacare is enforced equally across our land if it's going to be the law of the land."
The Obama Administration has delayed the provision requiring businesses to provide health insurance or face penalties
for one year. House Republicans want individuals to get the same break.
"There's no reason that you should allow big labor unions and allow big companies to get a one year reprieve if you're not going to do the same for hardworking Americans," Hensarling explains.
House Republicans also want congressional members to be treated the same as other Americans under Obamacare and not be given a special advantage that Americans are not receiving.
"So all we're asking at this point [is] if Obamacare is going to be imposed on Americans, it ought to be imposed equally," the Texas Republican added. "That's what we're asking and the more that Americans see this, [the more] the president's position is going to be untenable."
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