The Daily Gazette
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Gibson & Tonko explain votes on weekend's CR

An effort in the House of Representatives to attach a one-year delay in implementation of the Affordable Care Act to a measure to keep funding the federal government was opposed by all of the Capital Region’s representatives.

One of the few Republican members of the House to oppose the measure over the weekend was U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson, R-Kinderhook. He explained that his vote stemmed from a disagreement with the approach of the plan.

House Democrats soundly rejected the GOP plan to attach the Obamacare delay to the continuing resolution. Both U.S. Rep. Bill Owens, D-Plattsburgh, and Rep. Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam, voted against the proposal.

Gibson's full statement on Sunday:

I voted "no" tonight on attaching a one-year delay of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to the latest version of a “Continuing Resolution (CR)” because I don’t agree with this approach.

I believe the Senate will reject this CR and we'll be back to square one on Monday, increasing the likelihood of a government shutdown – which I oppose.

From my perspective, the desired end state remains the same - a delay of the Affordable Care Act / Obamacare and a temporary lifting of the sequester - both to January 2015. However, we need a successful strategy to get that implemented and this approach will not do it.

What we should do instead is take the Senate CR and add a simple amendment - overturning the Obama Administration's recent rule providing health care insurance subsidies for Members of Congress and their staff.

The Administration made an exception for Congress to permit these benefits. “Fixing” this problem for Congress before the American people are protected from adverse impacts of the law is wrong.

I believe this amendment would likely pass the Senate, thus ending the stalemate over the continuing resolution and preventing a shutdown. More importantly, in the coming weeks as negotiations continue I think adopting this simple amendment is our best opportunity to delay implementation of Obamacare. Once Congress is forced to live within the letter of the law, all parties (including the Democrats who still support it) will be much more willing to recognize the significant issues facing the ACA and agree to delay its implementation.

The President has repeatedly said: “I’m not going to negotiate.” The democratic process doesn’t work that way. Both parties need to work together – and that means sincere negotiations and compromise.

But we can’t give up. We can still forge a bipartisan, long-term solution that funds our government, raises the debt ceiling, lifts the sequester, and delays the ACA for one year. My approach would start us down that path and I encourage the President, the Speaker and the Senate Majority Leader to consider it immediately.

Tonko's full statement:

“What we have seen today is nothing less than toying with the American economy for the sake of scoring political points. It is regrettable that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle cannot put aside their obsession with repealing the Affordable Care Act for one day to simply keep the government open,” said Tonko. “The federal government has a duty to keep its lights on, its doors open, and its critical services available to the American people. Make no mistake, the Senate bill keeps the government open. Unfortunately, House leadership is more interested in maintaining the same level of brinksmanship and petty politics they have dominated this chamber with for almost three years.”

According to The Fiscal Times, a government shutdown would cost taxpayers $150 million per day. The 21-day shutdown spanning 1995 and 1996 cost $1.25 billion, or $1.9 billion in 2013 dollars.

“Albert Einstein once defined insanity as ‘doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results’. That is exactly what we have seen out of House Leadership again today,” added Tonko.

Follow @poozer87 on Twitter.

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