Tipton votes to end partial shutdown
Cortez Republican has supported defunding Obamacare
U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton was among a minority of Republicans who voted to reopen the federal government and raise the country’s debt limit Wednesday night.
The vote came after 16 days of an unpopular federal government shutdown and on the eve of the last day that the treasury had enough money to pay the nation’s bills.
Colorado’s two Democratic senators, Mark Udall and Michael Bennet, voted with every other Democrat in the House and Senate to support the deal.
The passage of the bill will force Congress to re-evaluate the budget again in January. However, the government should not shut down again in January, Bennet said, citing the divisions in the Republican Party brought to light by the shutdown.
“What some people are overlooking is, in this case, the division was not between Democrats and Republicans but between Republicans,” Bennet said. “There were Republicans who strongly opposed the shutdown.”
The partial shutdown started when House Republican leaders refused to allow votes on a budget unless it also defunded or delayed President Barack Obama’s health-care law.
Tipton supported the strategy, but Wednesday night he backed away from the use of a government shutdown — which he called an “unintended consequence” – or a threatened debt default in order to gain leverage with Democrats.
“When the legislative process fails, gridlock ensues and unintended consequences can occur – such as a default on our national debt, damage to our economy, lost jobs and an extended government shutdown,” Tipton said in a news release.
The final deal contained nearly none of the demands House Republicans had made in exchange for funding the government at the beginning of the month.
Before the shutdown, Tipton voted with House Republicans to defund Obama’s Affordable Care Act, then delay its mandate for all Americans to be insured for a year.
As the shutdown dragged on, Tipton joined Republicans in demanding that Congress not pay for its employees’ health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
But the only change to the health-care law in Wednesday’s deal was to require some people – those who get tax subsidies to buy insurance – to prove that their incomes are low enough to qualify for help.
Udall expressed frustration at the drama.
“One of Congress’ top duties is to support job creation, strengthen our nation’s economy and help middle-class families thrive. But for several weeks, an extreme faction of one political party in one house of Congress manufactured a crisis and held our economic recovery hostage,” Udall said in a prepared statement.
As part of the deal, Udall and Bennet secured up to an extra $350 million for flood recovery in northern Colorado.
Tipton was one of 87 House Republicans to support Wednesday’s deal, while 144 opposed it.
Influential conservative and tea party-linked groups, including Heritage Action and Club for Growth, warned Republicans to vote against the deal or else face downgrades on report cards the groups use to recognize the most conservative members of Congress.
Tipton assured conservatives that he remains committed to repealing Obama’s health-care law.
“There have been many opinions on the best way to stop Obamacare, and it’s important to remember that a difference in tactics is not a difference in principle,” he said in his news release.