Darrell Issa: ‘Not Funding The Government Is Part Of Funding It’

AP

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and CNN’s “New Day” co-host Chris Cuomo got into a heated exchange Tuesday over the government shutdown, with Issa arguing that Congress has the “right” to not fund the federal government.

Issa told Cuomo that House Republicans are looking to compromise on a temporary spending bill, and said that if the Senate rejects the House’s offer to go to conference Tuesday morning the move would be tantamount to “rejecting the constitutional process.” 

“You want to use the phrase constitutional mandate. I applaud you for using it,” Cuomo said. “However, the mandate is for you to fund the government. Not for you to not fund the government. That’s a decision you made here and you made it for the political reasons that you lay out.”

“Chris, bless your heart, but not funding the government is part of funding it,” Issa interjected. “If you have the right to fund the government, you have the right to fund the government to a lesser amount.”

“[Former House Speaker] Tip O’Neill shut down the government seven times because President Reagan wouldn’t agree to his excess spending,” he continued. “If you can shut down because you don’t get enough money spent, you can also have a discussion about spending too much.” 

Cuomo then pressed the California Republican to say if he thought the government shutdown was wrong for hurting American families.

“You can’t accuse me of beating my wife and then turn around and tell me, isn’t that true? We did not shut down the government,” Issa responded. “We offered to the Senate, again and again, things to keep the government fully funded. We have said we want to go to conference. We want to have a discussion about the delay of portions of Obamacare for a short period of time in order to get it right.”

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Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at catherine@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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