Rep. Lynn Westmoreland tells Newsmax that Republicans are justified in defunding Obamacare because it's "not ready for prime time" and we need to scrap it and start over.
The Georgia Republican also says the healthcare reform legislation threatens to turn America into a "part-time economy" — with middle-class workers holding down three 29-hours-a-week jobs.
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Westmoreland was first elected in 2006. He is a member of the House Financial Services and Intelligence Committees, and the Tea Party Caucus.
The House on Friday passed a stop-gap spending bill that funds the government past October while defunding Obamacare. It now goes to the Democrat-controlled Senate.
"We're not waiting until the last minute," Westmoreland tells Newsmax in an exclusive interview on Friday.
"We're not trying to jam the Senate. We're sending something over there that's at a responsible spending level. It takes into account the sequester. And then we're also defunding Obamacare because even the president himself has really admitted it's not ready for prime time.
"We need to scrap it. As James Hoffa has said, we need to scrap it and start over. That's what we're trying to do."
Only 10 days remain before a possible government shutdown, but Westmoreland insists: "Ten days is not out of the reach for the Senate to act, surely. But I would imagine that the Senate will wait until September 29 or 30 to send something back to us to try to jam us, to [make us] have to pass something to keep the government open.
"What we're showing the American people is we're not trying to jam anybody. This is not some type of political game. We are very sincere about what we're doing and we're giving the Senate 10 days to debate it."
A new ABC News-Washington Post Poll says Americans by a pretty good margin — 52 percent oppose it — do not like the president's signature piece of legislation or a government takeover of healthcare.
Westmoreland agrees: "The majority of the American people don't want it. The majority of people in my district don't want it. And of the 42 percent that want to keep it, is that 42 percent even aware of it? Because there was another poll that came down that said 40 percent of the American people did not even realize Obamacare was the law of the land.
"So after October first, if it's not defunded and all the rates of these exchanges come out, it's going to be a pretty big awakening to the American people about exactly how bad this was.
"This president has a hard time remembering all the rhetoric that he put out, one of them being if you like your health insurance plan, you can keep it. Your premiums are going to come down. You're going to have more choices. That's not turning out to be true. In fact, a lot of people are finding out that they're not going to be able to keep the same doctor they may have had for 20 years.
"So the more people understand it, the more people are going to go, hey, this is not good. And so we listen to the American people, which is basically what we're supposed to do, and we did what they've asked."
If the Republicans' defunding efforts ultimately prevail, "then the American people would be free of this anchor that's going to be around our economy and our healthcare, because it's not just the healthcare," Westmoreland says. "It's the fact that he's turning America into a part-time economy. We have never ever been a part-time economy."
As for whether the Republicans might employ a filibuster in the Senate to stave off passage of a bill they oppose, Westmoreland tells Newsmax: "If they're going to fight to their last breath, then I'm assuming that the filibuster would be a tool that they would certainly have at their disposal and that would certainly delay it."
The ABC/Washington Post poll also shows that among the people who oppose the healthcare law, only 27 percent support a government shutdown.
"We polled that same question in our district and 62 percent of the people said they would shut the government down if we did not repeal Obamacare," Westmoreland comments. "But we don't want to shut the government down.
"Shutting the government down is bad thing. That's not our desire at all. I don't want that to happen."
Asked if the American people will care who is responsible if there is a default, Westmoreland responds: "Once the government shuts down, it's not going to be just one party or the other that gets the blame. [The administration and the Democrats] will probably structure the shutdown to make the most political pain by making it felt by our service men and women.
"They'll certainly try to point the finger at us. That's the reason we're doing this 10 days ahead of time. What the American people have got to realize is these guys are giving them 10 days to think about it. If the undertaker in the Senate, Harry Reid, wants to bury it six feet under or not act on it until the end of the month, then they're going to have to take the responsibility for the shutdown, and hopefully the American people will see that.
"But our intent is not to shut the government down. Our intent is to take a bad bill that is 17 percent of our economy, that's going to hurt our healthcare, hurt our economy, hurt the middle class.
"The middle class is the people that this healthcare law is going to hurt — the people that are out there working two jobs, 40 hours a week, and then maybe one 35 hours a week or 30 hours a week. Now guess what? They're going to be working three 29-hour jobs. So that's the people we're trying to help."
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