Marco Rubio & the GOP’s Reckless Shutdown Politics
Huffington Post Opinion// DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Last year, Marco Rubio and his allies like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul spent their summer ginning up support for a risky plan to gut Obamacare or cause a government shutdown.
As a result of their reckless gamesmanship, Republicans shut down the government for 16 days, costing the economy $24 billion. What’s more, Rubio and his allies voted to prolong the shutdown when they had an opportunity to end it.
Immediately after we reopened the government, Republicans recognized their recklessness and criticized their own shutdown plan. Many pledged to never do it again.
The lesson didn’t last for long.
Last week, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell outlined to Politico what he would do if Republicans were to win the Senate in November: repeatedly threaten to shut down the government unless Republicans get exactly what they want.
It was perhaps the most candid moment for McConnell since he admitted his top priority was making President Obama a one-term president. And it confirmed what many of us have long suspected – the Tea Party is still calling the shots in the GOP.
McConnell made the choice voters face in November crystal clear: if Republicans win, they will put us back on the road to another shutdown, potentially over and over again.
And this week we learned that Florida’s own Marco Rubio is following McConnell’s lead, suggesting Republicans engage in political games with the federal budget, threatening to shut it down yet again.
In an interview with far-right Breitbart.com, Rubio said that if the President takes action to try to fix our broken immigration system, Republicans will use funding the government as leverage to try to stop the President.
That can only mean one thing: Rubio’s willing to risk another government shutdown.
If Republicans in Congress can’t come together to pass commonsense immigration reform, the President will do what’s best for our country – and he won’t be held hostage to Marco Rubio and the GOP’s demands.
The health of our economy shouldn’t be needlessly put at risk as a tactic to score political points. Here in Florida, Rubio’s last shutdown meant that Head Start programs across the state were suspended; thousands of the Kennedy Space Center’s employees were furloughed; half of the National Guard’s federal employees were furloughed which risked hampering efforts to prepare for natural disasters during hurricane season and so much more.
That’s what Rubio’s blind-partisanship cost his own constituents and he’s willing to do it all over again, all in the name of rebuilding his Tea Party street cred at the expense of our economy.
Instead of joining with Democrats to expand opportunity for all Americans by fighting for equal pay and a raise for millions of Americans, investing in infrastructure and education, and creating jobs, Republicans like Rubio have recommitted to digging in their heels and causing rampant dysfunction that hurts middle class families.
That’s the choice voters face in every race this November.