King on Defunding Obamacare Votes: 'I Went Along,' ‘I Was Assured This Was a Process to Keep the Government Open’

September 30, 2013 - 2:07 PM

peter king

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.). (AP)

(CNSNews.com) – Representative Peter King (R-N.Y.), who has harshly criticized conservative Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Tex.)  tactics in trying to defund Obamacare, said that he went along with the votes in the GOP-dominant House to push the defunding effort because he knew that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) did not want a government shutdown and he “was assured this was a process to keep the government open.”

Despite calling Senator Cruz (R-Texas) a “fraud,” and a “false leader” who was engaging in “a form of governmental terrorism” in trying to defund Obamacare, Rep. King voted with the Republican majority in the House on the measures to defund the health care law over the last 11 days.

“From the start I thought it was wrong to pursue this policy of threatening to shut the government down over defunding Obamacare,” said Rep. King (R-N.Y.) on Fox News Live on Sunday. “I went along with the votes up until now because I know that John Boehner does not want to shut the government down, and I was assured this was a process to keep the government open.”

“Now we’re down to the last 24 or 48 hours, and it seems we’re closer than ever to the government shutting down,” said King. “I think Harry Reid should accept the proposal that was made. If he doesn’t , I don’t want the government to shut down and I don’t see how I can vote again to any more amending to Obamacare.”

Sen. Ted Cruz

Sen. Ted Cruz (R.-Texas)

A stop-gap spending measure called a continuing resolution, or CR, was passed on Sept. 20 to fund the government – but not fund Obamacare – into the new fiscal year, which starts on Oct. 1. That measure was altered in the Senate, removing the no-Obamacare funding language, and sent back to the House on Sept. 27.

A revised CR was then crafted and passed in the House on Sept. 29 to delay Obamacare for one year and remove a tax on certain medical devices.

The Senate is expected to reject the re-revised CR and send it back to the House today, Sept. 30, without the amendments to delay Obamacare and end the medical devices tax.

If a solution is not reached between the two congressional chambers and a CR passed and signed by the president, the federal government will shut down.  All essential services, however, such as national security, law enforcement, Social Security payments, and the postal service, among many other functions, will continue.

According to the roll call votes between Sept. 19 and Sept. 29, Rep. King voted with the GOP majority on the eight measures to proceed with a CR that defunded Obamacare (and related votes) and then the revised CR to delay the health care law.  King also voted with the GOP on a separate appropriations bill (HR 3210) to ensure funding for military paychecks if the government shuts down after midnight on Oct. 1.

Eric Cantor, John Boehner

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R.-Va.) and House Speaker John Boehner (R.-Ohio). (AP)

Back on Sept. 19, Rep. King said on CNN’s The Situation Room, “I would just say if anything good comes from all of this, when Ted Cruz and Rand Paul [R-Ky.] or Mike Lee [R-Utah] fail in the Senate next week, maybe finally we Republicans will have ended their influence.”

Conservative Senators Lee and Paul are also strong supporters of defunding Obamacare through the must-pass CR.

“We as House Republicans should stop letting Ted Cruz set our agenda for us,” said Rep. King. “He should stay in the Senate, keep quiet. If he can deliver on this, fine. If he can’t, he should keep quiet from now on and we shouldn’t listen to him.”

On Sept. 24, concerning Senator Cruz’s 21-hour faux-filibuster on the CR – before the Senate voted to move forward and allow the bill to be amended by the Democrats – Representative King said Cruz was a “fraud” engaged in “a form of governmental terrorism.”

On Sept. 25, on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, King said of Cruz’s actions, “Now to me this is like the Charge of the Light Brigade, or it’s like Gallipoli, or Kamikaze pilot. And he's not standing on principle. First, I don't know what he's standing on. But he's standing for a strategy that can't work. It's going to personally help him as far as his political status but it's going to be bad for the country and bad for the Republican Party.”

King also said he had spoken with his own constituents over the defunding effort by Cruz, noting that “those I’ve spoken to think he’s crazy. They know what's real and what's not, and they know a guy who's being basically almost like a medicine man there selling goods that he knows are phony goods and really taking a good cause, the cause of trying to dismantle Obamacare and trying to repeal it and using it for his own purposes in a way that's going to hurt us and it's only going to help the president.”

“Hopefully it's going to end over the weekend,” King said on CNN.  “I know that John Boehner wants to make it work. I know Eric Cantor wants to make it work. No one wants -- none of us certainly want the government to shut down. The government should not be allowed to shut down at all. Because we know it's not going to happen. It's not going to last long if it does happen over this issue.”