Recklessness & Irresponsibility: Cassidy Threatening To Shut Down Government
John McCain: “Most Americans are really tired of those kinds of shenanigans here in Washington”
Bill Cassidy is threatening to shutdown the government, which could have devastating consequences for the more than 826,000 Louisiana seniors who rely on Social Security to help pay the bills, afford healthcare, and put food on the table. Bill Cassidy’s recklessness and irresponsibility was on display last week when he was one of 80 House members who signed a letter urging Speaker Boehner and Eric Cantor to shut down the government and allow the country to default this fall.
Last week, Cassidy actually told an audience in Louisiana that he wouldn’t support shutting down the government, but he immediately changed course when it was revealed that in 2007 Cassidy pushed for state run health care exchanges, similar to those in the Affordable Care Act.
While Social Security checks would still go out, a shutdown would slow the processing of applications for new enrollment and the already large backlog of applications for Social Security disability benefits would grow even larger. In just four days during the 1995 shutdown, 112,000 claims for Social Security retirement and disability benefits were not taken and 800,000 callers were denied service on SSA’s 800 number.
Cassidy’s shutdown plan has been ripped by numerous Republican Senators, including John McCain who argued that “Most Americans are really tired of those kinds of shenanigans here in Washington.”
“Bill Cassidy’s plan to shut down the government could have devastating consequences for Louisiana seniors who rely on Social Security and displays the recklessness and irresponsibility of an of an ideologue who bows to special interests in Washington and puts partisan politics ahead of Louisiana families,” said Justin Barasky, spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. “Republican Senators have slammed Cassidy’s position, which would slow the processing of new Social Security applications and exacerbate the already large backlog. Louisianians need leaders who are standing up for them in Washington, not self-serving politicians like Bill Cassidy who care more about scoring political points with the right instead of fighting for Louisiana.”
During the congressional recess the DSCC will continue to highlight the many ways in which Bill Cassidy’s government shutdown plan would harm Louisiana and the country.
Recent polling shows Mary Landrieu leading Bill Cassidy by double digits.
Bill Cassidy’s Government Shutdown Could Harm Seniors: “While Social Security checks still go out during a shutdown, applications for new enrollment will be processed more slowly and the huge backlog of applications for Social Security disability benefits would grow even larger.” “In just four days during the 1995 shutdown, 112,000 claims for Social Security retirement and disability benefits were not taken and 800,000 callers were denied service on SSA’s 800 number.” [CRS, 4/23/13; SSA History; Committee on Appropriations, 4/6/11; Center for American Progress, 4/11]
826,385 Seniors In Louisiana Rely On Social Security. [SSA, 12/12]
8/21/13: Cassidy Told Louisiana Audience That He Would Not Support Shutting Down The Government In Order To Defund Health Insurance Reform. The Associated Press reported on Cassidy speaking to a local homebuilders association: “U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy split with some hard-line members of the GOP on Wednesday, saying he wouldn't support a federal government shutdown as a way to defund President Barack Obama's health care law if the move would stop defense spending.” [Centre Daily, 8/21/13]
8/21/13: Cassidy Was One Of 80 House Republicans Who Signed Letter Calling For Government Shutdown Unless Health Insurance Reform Funding Was Cut After Push From Heritage Foundation. The Hill reported, “A growing group of congressional Republicans is pushing leaders to defund ObamaCare in the next government spending bill, setting the stage for a showdown in September, when the current continuing resolution expires.” The report noted that a letter from Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) was gaining steam in the House Republican conference that called on Boehner and Cantor “not to allow votes on a government funding bill unless it chokes off money for the Affordable Care Act.” Roll Call reported, “Heritage Action for America has a message for 100 House Republicans: You want to sign freshman Rep. Mark Meadows’ letter…The full text of the letter and final list of co-signers won’t be made public until Thursday, Meadows’ office told CQ Roll Call. But when it is sent to House Republican leaders, it will demand that they “take the steps necessary to defund Obamacare in its entirety, including on a year-end funding bill like a continuing resolution.” The letter which was signed by Cassidy and 79 other House members said, “we urge you to affirmatively de-fund the implementation and enforcement of ObamaCare in any relevant appropriations bill brought to the House floor in the 113th Congress, including any continuing appropriations bill.” [The Hill, 7/25/13; Roll Call, 8/20/13; Meadows Letter to Boehner & Cantor, 8/21/13]
2007: Cassidy Proposed Louisiana “Create a Statewide Health Insurance Exchange” During State Senate Campaign. During his campaign for the State Senate, Cassidy proposed that Louisiana “create a statewide Health Insurance Exchange to lower insurance premiums, decrease administrative costs and allow flexibility in which benefits workers choose.” [Cassidy for State Senate, Website Archive, 2007]