The revisionism has started early. Ted Cruz Republican Chris Collins is playing an elaborate game of make-believe, and the only way it will work is if we’re as stupid as he assumes us to be. The Buffalo News’ Jerry Zremski reports that Collins is attempting to urinate on all our legs, all the while insisting that it’s a meteorological phenomenon.
Collins is now denying that he supported the disastrous GOP shutdown, and is claiming that tea party underpants gnome Ted Cruz did everyone a disservice. Say what, now?
Both Rep. Chris Collins of Clarence and Rep. Tom Reed of Corning said in response to questioning that it was a mistake for House Republicans to tie the funding of government to defunding of Obamacare – a strategy that they and the GOP leadership had agreed to under pressure from tea party forces.
Collins, in an interview, blamed the failed strategy on Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican who goaded several dozen ultra-conservative lawmakers in the House to pursue the shutdown strategy.
“I think Sen. Cruz has done a disservice to the Republican Party,” Collins said. “He is an extremist, and he’s the one that had the rallying cry of repeal Obamacare, defund Obamacare, delay Obamacare.”
This is astonishing. I slow-clap the chutzpah here. Collins’ entire congressional tenure is founded on his denunciations of OBAMAPELOSI and Obamacare. Now he’s saying that he’s not just another irrelevant backbencher, but a useful idiot for the tea party? Even though he voted to shut down the government and risk default unless Obamacare was defunded, he thinks it was a bad idea? Even though, all the while, he voted precisely the way Ted Cruz did, now all of a sudden Ted Cruz is an “extremist” because he holds exactly the same position as Collins vis-a-vis Obamacare? Surely we’re through the looking glass, here. As a reminder,
— Rep. Chris Collins (@RepChrisCollins) September 24, 2013
While downstate Republican Congressman Peter King was hammering the stupidity and pointlessness of the Ted Cruz/tea party position, Chris Collins blindly got led along.
The local congressmen likened the bipartisan agreement to “kicking the can down the road,” and said they could not support it because it does not include long-term budget reforms.
Still, both of them sharply criticized the strategy that started the shutdown in the first place. “Shutting down the government over Obamacare was obviously a mistake,” Collins said. Without the shutdown, “we would have been talking about the failure of Obamacare in starting up on Oct. 1, proving the point it was not ready for prime time. Instead, the shutdown overwhelmed.”
As early as mid-September, Collins voiced concern about tying the defunding of Obamacare to the must-pass continuing resolution to fund the government in the new fiscal year that started Oct. 1. Instead, he said at the time, the House would be better off focusing its energies on the Oct. 17 expiration of the debt ceiling.
Nevertheless, Collins voted for the GOP legislation that tied the funding of government to the defunding of Obamacare, and a follow-up bill to delay the health reforms for a year.
Asked why, Collins said: “Because ultimately that was the bill that was put forward to vote on. And you can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good …. There will be things you don’t like but in this case it was a bill to keep the government open. We needed to keep the government open. There was not another bill.”
Collins blamed that fact on Cruz and his acolytes, who pushed the shutdown showdown over the objections of House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and other House GOP leaders.
“I think Ted Cruz and that extremist group, which is focused on something that can’t be done as long as this president is in office, has distracted us from moving forward and working on deficit, entitlements, tax reform and immigration reform,” Collins said.
So, shorter Chris Collins: yes, if my friend jumped off the Empire State Building, I would do that, too.
But look at the “can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good” quote – he applied that to the idiot positions he took because his friends told him to, but he didn’t think it equally applicable to reopening the government and avoiding default on existing sovereign debt?
If you took the time to read through all of Chris Collins’ shutdown-era Tweets yesterday, you’d have noticed that he had voted to restore funding to certain programs. It was as if Republicans like he suddenly discovered that the federal government didn’t exist solely to hand out Cadillacs to welfare queens, but also affected people who may be potential prime Republican voters.
During the shutdown, Collins voted to restore funding to America’s National Parks, and to the National Institutes of Health. (Roll Call 513, 514). Collins thought linking Obamacare to a shutdown was such a bad idea, he voted to do so no fewer than four times. The more their poll numbers tanked, the more federal programs Collins suddenly thought were “essential” – WIC, the FDA, Head Start. Suddenly, they were cherry-picking the affected programs that were making the news. He tried to tell you that it sort of sucks that cancer kids and tourists were getting shafted because of the tantrum party’s Ted Cruz Pointlesspalooza. Well, a continuing resolution to fund the government without affecting Obamacare would have restored funding to all of them.
Wednesday night’s overwhelmingly bipartisan vote to re-open the government and avoid default on our sovereign debt restored funding. The National Parks and Smithsonians were open today. The NIH, NASA, and the PandaCam were all back up and running Thursday.
But Chris Collins voted nay. (Roll Call 550).
Re-opening the government returned 800 FAA employees – some of them safety inspectors – to work. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is back at work. So are the workers at the National Transportation Safety Board and the United States Department of Agriculture, making sure our skies and food are safe. The Consumer Product Safety Commission is once again making sure your kids’ tchotchkes are free from lead paint.
But Chris Collins voted nay.
The Environmental Protection Agency is again working to ensure that you breathe clean air and drink clean water. The Food & Drug Administration is once again working to approve new medicines and ensure that your food and medicines are reasonably safe. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are working to ensure citizens’ health, and the National Institutes of Health are back at work trying to cure cancer.
But Chris Collins voted nay.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is back to work investigating claims of discrimination. The National Labor Relations Board is once again ensuring that workers are not being illegally exploited. Economic data will once again be analyzed, and loans put on hold due to the shutdown at the Federal Housing Authority can be reopened. Low-income people’s housing will once again receive their Housing & Urban Development funding, the National Weather Service will get back to work tracking hurricanes, and the National Geological Survey will monitor the ground for devastating earthquakes.
But Chris Collins voted nay.
CIA personnel are back to work, as are people providing services to veterans.
But Chris Collins voted nay.
All of these essential services that “we the people” have tasked the federal government with providing are being restored.
But Chris Collins wanted none of it. If it was up to him, they’d all still be closed, their people furloughed. We’d now be threatening default on our sovereign debt. This is good for small business how, exactly?
The amazing truth is that Chris Collins is not a leader, but a follower. He will take positions that go directly against the best interests of his constituents and the country when his friends tell him to. He will vote for things he thinks are dumb in order to try and get one over on the President, and when it fails miserably, he’ll try to weasel out of it and throw his buddies under the bus. He might feel comfortable calling Ted Cruz an “extremist”, but there is absolutely no sunlight between Cruz’s position and Collins’. They are like-minded in everything – except Cruz led while Collins followed along, blindly and unquestioning, even when he supposedly thought it was dumb.
Chris Collins isn’t just irresponsible, his willingness to keep the government shut down and to risk default and global financial catastrophe is downright dangerous. Never forget that Chris Collins voted “nay” to reopen the government and keep you and your family safe, and that he risked another recession. You can be a Republican and see that this is bad for people and small business.