McCain To GOP: ‘We Can’t Win’ Shutdown Fight

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) wants House Republicans to accept that they’ll lose the shutdown fight and pass a clean stopgap bill to keep the government open.

“We can’t win,” he told reporters in the Capitol, just two hours before a government shutdown. A clean continuing resolution, he said, “will happen sooner or later.”

He spoke moments after the Senate rejected the House GOP’s third attempt to chip away at Obamacare in a continuing resolution to avert a shutdown.

McCain said he reads polls and Republicans would “absolutely” take the blame for a government shutdown. “Congress always gets blamed,” he said. “Republicans will be perceived as blocking and as shutting down the government.”

“I only know what pollsters say,” he said. “You read the same polls that I do.”

Around 8:15 p.m. ET on Monday, House Republicans sought to attach a one-year delay of the Obamacare individual mandate and a provision denying health insurance subsidies to members of Congress and staff. Senate Democrats quickly voted to strike that down.

Shortly after McCain spoke, House Republicans revealed that they would meet to appoint members to a conference committee to invite Democrats to negotiate a spending resolution.

McCain said he hopes Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) would be willing to negotiate and accept the provision that bars health care subsidies for Congress, commonly known as the Vitter amendment. Reid has rejected that, pointing out that Obamacare merely lets members and staff receive an employer contribution for health insurance they’ll have to buy on the exchange, like millions of other Americans.

The Arizona Republican said he respects the intentions of his young House colleagues. “A lot of them were elected in 2010 with a commitment,” McCain said, “and I respect that they want to repeal Obamacare, and that’s why they were elected.”

But he said they were picking a very risky — and unwinnable — battle. “I saw the movie back in 1995,” he said, “and it was very illuminating.”

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Latest Dc
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriters:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: