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Rep. Barrow says he won't support GOP on defunding health law

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SAVANNAH, Ga. — In the past three years, Rep. John Barrow has outraged fellow Democrats with his vote against President Obama’s health care overhaul and been attacked by Republicans for refusing to support a full repeal. And the deep South’s last white Democratic congressman is still defying both parties with his stance on the law.

Barrow  JIM BLAYLOCK/FILE
JIM BLAYLOCK/FILE
Barrow

Before Congress adjourned Aug. 2, Barrow was among just four Democrats who sided with House Republicans voting to gut a key part of the Affordable Care Act that puts the Internal Revenue Service in charge of enforcing certain mandates. But the Augusta Democrat says he won’t be joining GOP lawmakers pushing to deny funding for the health care law or shut down the government when Congress reconvenes after Labor Day.

“It’s a question of defunding the whole government in an attempt to get the other side to cry uncle and agree to defund Obamacare,” Barrow said in an interview with The Associated Press last week. “And I think that is a reckless game that will not succeed.”

Barrow represents the Republican-leaning 12th District in eastern Georgia that still has a significant number of black voters who are critical to the district’s Democratic base. So the Obama health law has been a thorny issue for the congressman since its passage in 2010, when Barrow’s vote against the measure caused some Georgia Democratic officials to condemn him.

Barrow insists, as he did then, that problems with the law, which are burdensome for uninsured individuals and small businesses, can be fixed without scrapping the entire thing. Critics say Barrow is trying to straddle the fence in a way that lets him appeal to voters on both sides of the issue.

“He very cleverly continues to vote against repeal while voting to repeal parts of it,” said John Stone, a former congressional aide who’s one of two Republican candidates who have launched campaigns for Barrow’s seat in 2014. “He can sort of go both ways on this while he talks to people.”

During his 2012 re-election campaign, Barrow sent a letter to Democratic supporters saying he stood with the party “against repealing the Health Care bill.” Meanwhile, Barrow’s campaign aired TV ads boasting that the congressman had voted 12 times to repeal “the worst parts” of the Obama health care law.

Barrow said he’s taken a common-sense position between partisan Democrats who won’t acknowledge flaws in the health law and Republicans who treat the entire thing as political poison. Barrow said he mainly wants to eliminate the portions of the law mandating that uninsured individuals and businesses with 50 or more workers buy health insurance.

“Of course it can be fixed,” said Barrow, who blames both Republicans and Democrats for keeping that from happening. “Both sides are wrong because both sides are taking an all-or-nothing approach to this.”

Barrow also noted that House Republicans are far from unanimous on whether to strip funding for the health law from any spending bills to keep the government open after the fiscal year ends Sept. 30. A little more than a third of the 233 House Republicans have sent a letter to Speaker John Boehner asking him to resist any new funding for the law as it enters a critical stage of signing up millions of Americans for health coverage. With funding stripped for the health law, the Democratically controlled Senate and Obama himself would almost surely reject the spending bills, forcing a government shutdown.

Of course, the bill that Barrow supported to stop the IRS from enforcing provisions of the health law also faces sure rejection by the Senate.

Both Stone and Augusta businessman Rick W. Allen, the second GOP candidate running for Barrow’s seat, have said they support withholding funds from the law even if that means a showdown over a government shutdown.

Allen’s campaign Web site features a clock counting down the days, hours, minutes and seconds left until the new fiscal year starts Oct. 1. Allen’s campaign said he was unavailable for a telephone interview. The campaign issued a statement from the GOP candidate saying Barrow was sticking taxpayers with higher health care premiums for themselves while continuing to make them subsidize insurance for congressmen and their staffs.

“Deciding if a law is a bad idea is easy,” Allen said in a statement. “You simply look to see if Congress exempts themselves from it and that is exactly what Barrow and the liberals have done here.”

The Obama administration has said both Democratic and Republican lawmakers asked for regulations it adopted in August to ensure taxpayers will keep paying most of the health-benefit costs for members of Congress and their aides even as they’re marshaled into new insurance exchanges under the health care law. Legislators and their staffers had worried they might be forced to pay thousands of dollars more for health insurance.

Barrow spokesman Richard Carbo said legislation to reverse the exemption for members of Congress and their staffs is expected to be introduced after Congress returns Sept. 9 and “Congressman Barrow is going to support the efforts to remove the exemption.”

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Truth Matters
6986
Points
Truth Matters 09/03/13 - 04:34 am
6
2
Two faces of Barrow

Um, I guess Barrow's fence straddling makes him a Dino and a Rino. A strange political being by any measure.

Bodhisattva
6307
Points
Bodhisattva 09/03/13 - 05:40 am
9
9
It's called a centrist. A

It's called a centrist. A description of what most of our legislators used to be. They could meet in good faith and compromise on an issue. Of course that was before "The Meeting" when one party met before the inauguration and agreed to walk in goose step, excuse me, lock step, and oppose anything and everything the President said and did, even to the detriment of the country. THE REPUBLICAN PARTY ÜBER ALLES.

carcraft
26262
Points
carcraft 09/03/13 - 05:48 am
8
5
Lets see, I wrote to Barrow

Lets see, I wrote to Barrow asking him about the extra funding congress gets so members of congress and their staff can actually keep their health care, like Obama promised. These folks are getting 75% of it paid for by Obama's largess. So they get to keep their health insurance as is. Now you and I the peasants or should I say helots, not so much. No answer from the fence sitter Barrow. Well if the results of the law, lower coverage and higher premiums aren't good enough for Mr. Barrow why are they good enough for his constituents? Oh never mind he is still holding on to his guns and his health insurance policy!!! Sorry Mr. Barrow you lost me when you didn't answer my Email!

Riverman1
84926
Points
Riverman1 09/03/13 - 07:19 am
10
4
campaign gun commercial

It reminds me of his campaign gun commercial where he showed the gun his grandfather used to stop a lynching. And if anybody believed that...

GnipGnop
12321
Points
GnipGnop 09/03/13 - 07:54 am
7
2
What do you expect

He's a politician...you can tell they are lying because their lips are moving. Doesn't matter what party it is. The government is so out of touch with the real world.

soapy_725
43686
Points
soapy_725 09/03/13 - 07:58 am
0
0
A classic politician. If not a "user" before, they will be
Unpublished

A classic politician. If not a "user" before, they will be

Brad Owens
4583
Points
Brad Owens 09/03/13 - 08:36 am
8
3
Primary challenge in the works?

I disagree that the law can be "fixed" because no matter what they pass it dips into taxpayer pockets to pay for other folks healthcare that they did not earn.

Being born American my be the win at the world lottery but being born doesn't mean others must provide things for you that you can earn yourself.

This law is a train wreck by design, next we will hear them start the "Single payer" fix for the problems.

Barrow has a long uphill battle next year, it will be harder if he supports Obamacare in this district.

dichotomy
33552
Points
dichotomy 09/03/13 - 09:12 am
6
4
Barrow is using the cover of

Barrow is using the cover of the Democrat controlled Senate to make a few (very few) semi-sort of-conservative votes all the while knowing nothing will ever come of them. You can bet if the Republicans controlled the Senate you would see the Pelosi coming out in him.

Obamacare is SO convoluted, and SO intertwined, that it CANNOT be fixed. Period. Trying to fix it is like trying to remove a tumor that has invaded the brain stem.....it cannot be done. Leaving it alone or trying to fix it both kill the patient. It needed to be excised before it got too far.

harley_52
23645
Points
harley_52 09/03/13 - 09:32 am
6
4
Only One Man In The World...

....has the power to "shut down" the United States government.

The President.

Republicans will make it perfectly clear that they want to fund the entire federal government EXCEPT Obamacare.

If the President CHOOSES to shut down the government it will be his choice and his choice alone.

Ditto for the choice NOT to "pay our bills." These decisions are the President's decisions.

Congressman Barrow knows all of that. He's either FOR Obamacare, or he isn't. You can't claim to be AGAINST something, and then vote YES to funding it.

He'll have to pick a lane.

thauch12
6741
Points
thauch12 09/03/13 - 10:37 am
5
5
There are so many comments

There are so many comments above that elicit so many facepalms.
1. Amen Bodhisattva...partly. While Barrow is definitely playing the game of politics, any move by any politician nowadays towards the center is to be applauded. Quite simply, as much as people don't want to hear it, we currently have a bunch of hardline politicians (both left and right) working to appeal to the hardline factions of both parties. At the end of the day, nothing gets done.

2. The notion that the president is the only one who can shut down the government is absolutely ridiculous. It is a joint effort of the president and Congress, so there are basically 536 people in that equation.

It's a sad commentary on the state of American politics that being a moderate is considered being spineless...

harley_52
23645
Points
harley_52 09/03/13 - 10:49 am
6
4
"The notion that the president...

...The notion that the president is the only one who can shut down the government is absolutely ridiculous. It is a joint effort of the president and Congress, so there are basically 536 people in that equation."

Baloney. The Congress appropriates money. The President spends it. If the Congress appropriates money for everything BUT Obamacare (which they will) then only the President has the power to "shut it down." Congress can tell the President that no money may be spent on something and he is obliged to follow.

That's how we ended the war in Vietnam. Did you see the President "shut down" the government over that issue?

carcraft
26262
Points
carcraft 09/03/13 - 11:26 am
4
3
Harley is correct

If one remembers or studies history they will recall that Reagan shut down the Government to try to control Democrat's over spending. All Finanace bills must orginate in the House, then be passed by the Senate then up to the President to either veto or sign into law. The problem for the Republicans is that a bill that shuts down Obama care will never make it out of the Senate!

harley_52
23645
Points
harley_52 09/03/13 - 11:33 am
5
3
Very True, Carcraft...

...It may not make it out of the Senate. Heck, it may not even make it out of the House, though it probably will. Even if it does, the President would likely veto it.

The strategy is to get all these Congressmen and Senators to VOTE. They will then be on the record as either supporting Obamacare, or not supporting it. Having them on record like that will make it easier for the citizenry to vote in 2014 and 2016. They won't be able to claim they're against it if they voted FOR it.

Many of them (like Barrow) want to have it both ways. This makes them take a stand.....

Bizkit
32159
Points
Bizkit 09/03/13 - 11:55 am
0
4
The problem Bod is both

The problem Bod is both parties are equally guilty of having few centrist and mostly a bunch of extremist, hence the stalemate of neither side wanting to compromise. Like tell me there were lots of centrist when the Dems ruled Congress and refused to listen to any Rep ideas or contributions towards Obamacare-course the Rep did it under Bush too.

happychimer
18030
Points
happychimer 09/03/13 - 12:41 pm
5
1
We are already paying for

We are already paying for uninsured people. If they don't have insurance or the money to see a doctor, they go to the ER. Guess who pays. taxpayers do.

jimmymac
41331
Points
jimmymac 09/03/13 - 02:06 pm
1
0
BARROW
Unpublished

The last thing Barrow or any other dem wants is a vote on Obamacare before the next election. He wants to say he's against it but not have to vote that way. The truth is he like many others are hiding and hoping it gets funded and they can appear like they didn't want it to happen without going on record. Bring it to a vote an lets see who's for it before they're against it.

justthefacts
22198
Points
justthefacts 09/03/13 - 03:13 pm
1
2
Another example

Happy is another example of someone only looking at a single aspect of the law. With more and more information coming out everyday even democrats are starting to see the impact. Most won't admit it of course.

carcraft
26262
Points
carcraft 09/03/13 - 03:57 pm
2
2
Happychimer, before Obama

Happychimer, before Obama care we did not have businesses and organizations such as Hobby Lobby and Catholic Charities being forced to violate their ethics principals or close. We did not have employers going to part time positions under total confusion about the law such as outlined in the Augusta chronicle about local colleges. We did not have businesses choosing to cancel health care coverage because it was cheaper to pay a fine. Lastly America was not becoming a nation of part time workers so employers could skirt past the law! If you think arguing with an insurance company is bad wait till you get to argue with the IRS!!!

Truth Matters
6986
Points
Truth Matters 09/03/13 - 04:18 pm
3
1
President shutting down gov't

This "clever" attempt to flip the blame on the president is right out of the mouth of Sen. Ted Cruz. It is also an insult to the intelligence of anyone breathing.

It was not the President who said, "if you try to shut down the government, I won't repeal the ACA." This "clever" little plot was hatched by none other than Ted Cruz. And he will own it all if there is a shut down. He has shown himself to be dishonest by this acrobatic act.

And by the way, let's not forget how the threats of a shut down and default were instrumental in the downgrading of our credit rating last time. These people need to stop being so wreckless with the mouth and self-centered and think about the country and not their own political aspirations.

Truth Matters
6986
Points
Truth Matters 09/03/13 - 04:30 pm
2
1
@happychimer--12:41 PM Good

@happychimer--12:41 PM

Good point. The opposers to the ACA do not care about that little pesky fact.

carcraft
26262
Points
carcraft 09/03/13 - 04:38 pm
1
3
Truth matters, apparently you

Truth matters, apparently you don't either!

harley_52
23645
Points
harley_52 09/03/13 - 05:24 pm
1
3
"This "clever" attempt to flip the blame on the president....

....is right out of the mouth of Sen. Ted Cruz. It is also an insult to the intelligence of anyone breathing."

Nothing wrong with being "clever" and I agree Senator Cruz is. He also happens to be correct, which makes him even more clever.

The Congress appropriates, the President spends. If they appropriate spending authority for all of the government, but specifically deny authority for Obamacare spending, the government will run just fine UNLESS Obama pitches a hissy fit and decides to stop paying the bills. He may well do it and convince America that the "wascally wepublicans" did it. That would be a blatant lie, but it has worked before.

Ultimately, it will be a matter of who the American people believe.

Why on earth would anyone believe Obama?

It is a FACT that the President is the only one with the power to "shut down" the government. The President knows it.

carcraft
26262
Points
carcraft 09/03/13 - 06:27 pm
1
3
Just saw where the Long

Just saw where the Long Shoreman's Union is leaving the the AFLCIO because of the lies they were told about Obama care! I love when reality hits them squarely between the eyes!

faithson
5193
Points
faithson 09/03/13 - 06:35 pm
1
2
thanks John,

good to have your congressman doin' what you voted for. for those who didn't... yea right, to the victor goes the spoils... and can Allen beat him next fall, not at the moment, Rick is going to have to; 'come on down' if he expects the south Georgia group to fall in with any enthusiasm

rebellious
20916
Points
rebellious 09/03/13 - 11:23 pm
0
1
Who sang it?

Was it Cindy Lauper? A beautiful song, different context but I think the title was

"I See Your True Colors, Shining Through"

So fitting for this article and Congressmun Burruhs position.

Darby
26087
Points
Darby 09/04/13 - 03:36 pm
1
2
"Of course that was before "The Meeting"

when one party met before the inauguration and agreed to walk in goose step, excuse me, lock step, and oppose anything and everything the President said and did, even to the detriment of the country."

.
Don't remember that meeting. I do, however, recall OzBama calling leaders of both parties to the White House about that time to put down Republicans by saying to McCain, that "I won the election, we're gonna do things my way."

He was clearly not of a mind to work with anyone not in "lockstep" with him, and that has not changed to this day.

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