LIMA — U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, visited The Lima News Thursday and discussed the Affordable Care Act and the recent government shutdown. Below are some excerpts:
The deal that ultimately got passed in the House and Senate didn’t move the needle in the direction for anything conservatives wanted. What are your thoughts on what the shutdown accomplished?
No one ever wanted the shutdown. There were 14 different pieces of legislation the House of Representatives passed that funded all or part of the government. We were disappointed in the final package because it didn’t address the underlying problems.
You’re never wrong when you’re standing up for principle, and the two principles at stake were real basic. The first was, relative to the debt ceiling, address the underlying problem. You can’t keep raising the limit on an already maxed out credit card. You can’t keep spending more than you take in. At some point you need to understand we have a $17 trillion debt. The other issue was, everyone knows, and we’ve learned even more, everyone knows Obamacare is not ready. I don’t think it will ever be ready. The way this administration is implementing it is unfair. Equal treatment under the law is a hallmark of this country, and this administration doesn’t want to abide by the that. We tried to make that argument, and in the end didn’t get it done. We said that is unfair, and that it should be delayed, and now here we are and Democrats found Jesus and they’re doing the same thing, introducing bills to delay.
But it wasn’t delay, it was defund, and those are two very different things. Was there an overreach, a political miscalculation?
We were always for delay. I’ve been talking about delay the entire year. The important date to me was July 2, the day the president said we’re going to delay it for employers. I remember calling up Eric Cantor and said, Eric the whole world changed today. Now, our argument is, “We want to delay the entire law.” If it’s good enough for big business, why isn’t it good enough for the rest of America? We always wanted to delay. The bill we co-sponsored, our bill said, one year delay, one year extension of the continuing resolution. We thought that made sense. This idea of defund and repeal for all time, we didn’t think was, in the end, likely to happen.
So what got accomplished?
I don’t think it’s ever a mistake to stand up and fight for things you care about and things the voters elected you to fight for, and principles that are important: equal treatment under the law, addressing the underlying spending problem the country has. And, now we do have Democratic senators saying maybe we do need to delay this legislation, maybe it isn’t ready.
There were questions about whether Republicans and Democrats were putting party and agenda over what was best for the country. When the country was going through this, how were you balancing that?
In my mind, this has nothing to do with party. It is all about what I think is best for the families I get to represent and the 4th District of Ohio and what I think is best for the country. I am convinced this law is not good for the nation. We are seeing it play out over the last 24 days, and last year. The uncertainty with Obamacare is a drag on economic growth and job creation. Everyone understands that. Folks elected me to help stop this thing. That was my motivation and it remains my motivation.
Were you prepared to let the country go into default over those principles?
No one wanted that to happen. We gave the president 14 different bills to fund the government, 14 different times. Thirteen of those, Harry Reid said, no, forget it. Our focus was always, address the problems. This law treats people unfairly, and a debt ceiling increase without addressing the spending problem isn’t good for the country long-term. That’s all we were focused on. We didn’t want to go past any deadline Jack Lew said, and we didn’t want to shut down the government. This president wanted to. … All we’re asking is give individuals the same delay as corporations and make politicians who wrote the law live under the law they wrote. We funded the government at the level they asked for, we asked for those two simple things. Somehow Jim Jordan is the extremist, the Tea Party crazy. Are you kidding me? And now, this week, the very same people are saying, maybe we should delay this.