U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) is trying to sound like a good-government crusader, saying on Twitter that he’s “consistently been against government shutdowns,” and specifying on KOA’s Colorado’s Morning News that “it’s a position I’ve taken since 2013, opposing the shutdown then.”
But in 2013, Gardner told KOA’s Mike Rosen that he favored a government shutdown to de-fund Obamacare, and he said Obama would be at fault. Here’s the exchange:
Rosen: “Perhaps we can talk about some other items on the agenda, such as the current dispute, even with the Republican Party, about whether Republicans, who have a majority in the House, ought to take a stand now, as the continuing resolution question comes up, take a stand on Obamacare, and refuse to fund it, while at the same time, agreeing with a continuing resolution that would allow the rest of the federal government to operate. Have you got a position on that?
Gardner: I want to do anything and everything I can to stop Obamacare from destroying our health care, from driving up increases in costs. Whether that’s through the continuing resolution, I want to defund everything that we can….
Rosen: There’s a political concern that if the Republicans stand their ground on this [repealing Obamacare], they are going to be blamed for shutting down the government.
Gardner: Well, I think if the government gets shut down, it’s going to be the President’s decision to do so. I believe that we don’t need to shut down the government because we ought to just lift this health-care bill out of the way and let America work.
In 2014, Democrats used the fact that Gardner supported a government shutdown in a political ad.
“Gardner did vote in line with the Republican strategy that led to the government shutdown.”
The ad claimed that “Congressman Gardner stood with his party in Washington, voting to shut down the government, right when Colorado was recovering from historic floods.”
Rittiman wrote that the statement, “The overall claim here is true, but the wording requires some additional context.”
Here’s Rittman’s analysis:
CLAIM: “Just one year ago, Congressman Gardner stood with his party in Washington, voting to shut down the government, right when Colorado was recovering from historic floods.”
VERDICT: True, but needs context
The overall claim here is true, but the wording requires some additional context.
Gardner did vote in line with the Republican strategy that led to the government shutdown.
That didn’t happen by passing a bill to shut it down, the way this ad makes it look by referencing votes on screen.
Those votes were Republican spending packages, which passed the House. They would have funded the government, but also contained language aimed at curbing Obamacare.
For that reason, the president made it clear he wouldn’t sign that bill, which had no chance of passing the Senate regardless.
Republicans knew they could cause a shutdown by forcing the healthcare issue to be part of the discussion about keeping the government open.
However, it takes two to tango, and the Democrats didn’t want to mix the ACA into the spending debate. It would have been possible to accept the GOP plan and avoid a shutdown.
Whether it was fair to bundle those concepts is the core of the debate.
It’s also worth pointing out that Gardner did eventually voted to end the shutdown as well, which most House Republicans did not.