Yarmuth says Republicans got nothing out of deal to reopen government

10/16/2013 05:42 PM

Republicans accomplished nothing in their holdout over defunding the Affordable Care Act and got little more than a “feel good” provision in the deal to reopen the government and avoid default, said Democratic U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Louisville.

“The bottom line is the entire exercise was pointless,” Yarmuth told Pure Politics just before the U.S. House was scheduled to vote on the deal (1:00 of the interview).

The deal will fund the government through Jan. 15, 2014, and extend the debt limit to Feb. 7. It also requires a bicameral conference committee to craft spending reforms in a report by Dec. 13 and requires income verification on anyone who would get subsidized health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.

That final piece amounted to a consolation prize for Republicans because it was already part of the Affordable Care Act and states such as Kentucky already were doing that through the IRS.

While Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell is getting national credit for helping broker a deal to reopen the government, Yarmuth said he merely “did the right thing when everything else failed.”

And he said Republicans should have learned a lesson that it was a failed strategy to link the effort to gut the Affordable Care Act with a government spending bill, which led to the 16-day shutdown.

“You don’t do it on things that aren’t related to pure budgetary issues. That was something many Republicans and many Republican consultants told them initially before this ever started — don’t go down this cul-de-sac,” Yarmuth said. “Unfortunately, there was a vacuum of leadership and people like Ted Cruz and others were able to convince some of their colleagues to go on what was a suicide mission, basically.”

Watch the interview to find out what he says the effect might be on McConnell’s re-election (3:30) and what happens next leading up to Jan. 15 and Feb. 7:


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