A Message From Rep. Bill Johnson - October 4, 2013

OCTOBER 4, 2013


I want to provide you an update on the latest on the government shutdown, as there is a lot of conflicting information out there.  

But first, let me tell you what I’m doing during the shutdown. I’m not accepting any of my salary during the shutdown – I’ll be giving it to charity. I refuse to profit from the mule-headed, arrogant culture of modern day Washington, D.C. I’ve also furloughed the majority of my staff.

Here’s the bottom line: I did not vote to shut down the government, and it's not the solution I was looking for. This shutdown is not in the best interest of our nation, and represents a failure by both political parties – and this President – to work together to find common ground. I served in the Air Force for 26 years, and founded two small businesses, so I come from a results-oriented culture. This dig-in-your-heels-at-any-cost-to-America culture in Washington is frustrating. And I know many of you share that frustration.

So here's where we are: my colleagues and I in the House have been at the negotiating table for weeks, but two seats have remained empty - President Obama's and Harry Reid's. This shutdown is not good for America, and neither is Obamacare. The House has passed multiple pieces of common-sense legislation that would've prevented a shutdown while delaying, defunding, and removing some of the most onerous parts of the "Affordable Care Act."


The House's position is simple: if the President wants to delay the mandate for big businesses, he should also be willing to delay the individual mandate that will be affecting the American people. And, we need to eliminate the preferential treatment given to the President, Members of Congress, and their staffs under Obamacare - Washington should live by the same laws the American people have to live by. But, the President and Harry Reid have said that they will not negotiate with us.


The fact is, the American people are becoming increasingly concerned about how Obamacare may cause their health insurance costs to increase, how it may negatively impact their ability to keep their current health care plan, how it may reduce access to the physician of their choice, and how it allows Washington bureaucrats to get between them and their doctors. I’d like to see the President and Harry Reid drop their "my way or the highway" approach, and come to the negotiating table to do the right thing for the American people.


Earlier this week, I reiterated this during an appearance on the "America's Newsroom" program on Fox News:

The refusal of President Obama and Senator Reid to come to the table and simply talk has left us at this unfortunate place - where, for example, our Greatest Generation is forced to break into their own WWII Memorial, and where America's Veterans aren't getting the full care they earned and we owe them. The House just passed legislation, with my support, that would have ensured our veterans will continue to receive the health care and benefits they've earned, that would fund the life-saving clinical trials at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), that puts our National Guard and Reserve forces back to work, and that reopens our national parks, memorials, and monuments to the American people who paid for them. But once again, President Obama and Harry Reid said no.

Yesterday morning, I spoke with Stuart Varney of Fox Business to discuss what occurred at the open air WWII Memorial, where the administration is actually spending money to shut it down:


The President, Harry Reid, and Senate Democrats need to come to the table so we can work out a compromise to restart the government. That, however, requires leadership, and leadership is not about wearing a title or sitting in a fancy office - it's about producing results, it's about positively influencing the outcome. And, real leadership is what the American people have the right to expect from their elected officials. Until that time, I will not stand by and let the President and Harry Reid use our nation's veterans as a bargaining chip. Regrettably, the President has said that he will veto this legislation should it pass Congress. This is unacceptable.

I am in Washington, working day in and day out, to find a way to give the American people two things they want: access to high quality, affordable health care, and an efficient, effective federal government. 

Although parts of the government are closed, you can still contact me through my website, or by calling my Washington D.C. office at 202-225-5705. I am still meeting with constituents, holding tele-townhalls, and casting votes as normal.

I will keep you updated as the situation changes.





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