Rep. Tipton takes hits right and left over shutdown, Obamacare

U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., said Friday that his vote to reopen the federal government last week amounted to a change in tactics, not a retreat in his opposition to the Affordable Care Act.

For his trouble, he was blasted by both the left and right in a town hall meeting attended by about 85 people in the Grand Junction City Hall auditorium.His decision to vote to end the shutdown was driven by recognition of political and Constitutional realities, Tipton said.

After 42 House votes to alter or repeal President Barack Obama’s signature legislation, the requirement that all Americans have health insurance by Jan. 1, it was time to change the approach, Tipton said. “The tactic was not working,” he said.

The shutdown was causing problems because it was hampering businesses that needed various governmental inspections, as well as causing problems for Americans needing services such as passports. The change in strategy, Tipton said, was vindicated by 10 Democrats in the Senate who have sought a delay in the mandate, including both from Colorado.

Alden Savoca, owner of a Grand Junction small business and opponent of the Affordable Care Act, wasn’t persuaded.

“You’ve lost my vote, at least in the primary,” Savoca told Tipton, because the House majority abandoned its principles and Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, leader of the majority Democrats, “didn’t abandon his principles,” Savoca said.

And the House, said Grand Junction Democrat Bill Hugenberg, was guilty of playing politics by failing to take up legislation passed by the Senate.

Tipton has regularly complained that the Senate has failed to take up House bills, including most of the 42 measures affecting the health care law passed by the House.

Tipton, who was to speak today in Montrose, said also that Congress has allowed “taxation by regulation.”


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To put it politely, 3rd C.D. “Representative” Scott Tipton disingenuously told only “half the story” at his “town meeting” yesterday, as does Gary Harmon’s report – “Rep. Tipton takes hits right and left over shutdown, Obamacare” – in today’s Daily Sentinel.

Tipton first attempted to obfuscate the rationale for his October 1 vote to both cause the “government shutdown” and threaten “debt ceiling” default by endorsing only the former (costing $24 billion), while omitting any allusion to the latter.

Tipton next deflected criticism of his duplicitous vote to end the “shutdown” and avert default by citing the Constitutional structure of our government, openly admitting that “ObamaCare” could never have been “de-funded” (since its self-funding is “mandatory”) and blaming Senate Democrats for “refusing to negotiate” (under threat of default) and Senate Republicans for failing to filibuster the very bill Tipton voted for. 

Tipton then falsely claimed that the “shutdown” forced a conference committee with the Senate, but could not refute the fact that (since March 23, 2013) Speaker Boehner had refused to appoint House conferees and Senate Republicans had filibustered Reid’s—because “Tea Partiers” like Tipton wanted to force a shutdown and threaten default.

Of course, Tipton did not explain why his caucus irresponsibly ignored the foreordained futility of that strategy – denying that it was “his” strategy and thus attempting to evade “personal responsibility” for its adverse economic consequences.

The depth of Tipton’s intellectual dishonesty was exposed by his “handout” – depicting the false proposition that “spending is the problem”.  As a percent of GDP, government revenues are now their lowest since 1950, but Tipton’s chart both obscured the fact that President Obama has reduced deficits from 10% to 4% of GDP and was clearly contrived to scare gullible locals with inflated projections of future deficits. 

Most ominously, Tipton declined to forswear default.

And there’s more.

Tipton encouraged anecdotal complaints about the roll-out of ObamaCare and reported complications with ConnectColorado, and falsely claimed that “10 Democratic Senators” had called for the same one-year delay in the entire implementation of ObamaCare as had House Republicans – citing only Senator Joe Manchin (D-WVa).  Rather, as I correctly pointed out (but Tipton retorted was “wrong”) “10 Democratic Senators” had indeed signed a letter calling for a 6-week extension of the “open enrollment” period – only.

Tipton also ignored yesterday’s official report that – despite regrettable problems with websites (which would be “fixed” by the end of November) – some 700,000 people have “applied” for health insurance under ObamaCare (although many were not yet “enrolled” because of garbled transmission of application data to health insurers) – a first priority.

In reassuring local lemmings of his on-going support for repealing ObamaCare, Tipton repeatedly referred his audience to H.R. 2300 – the House Republican “alternative” to the Affordable Care Act sponsored by Congressman Mike Lee (R-Ut).  After having already admitted that “ObamaCare” was almost fully funded and thus could not be “de-funded”, Tipton failed to explain that Lee’s bill remains in a House committee because it is not funded at all and would cost $1 trillion more than ObamaCare over ten years (and fails to prohibit denials based on “pre-existing conditions).

In response to a question about high unemployment in Mesa County, Tipton failed to explain how his support for a government shutdown, threatened default, sequestration, and/or further spending cuts would produce any jobs anywhere – much less here.

When I reminded Tipton that government revenues were at their lowest point since 1950 (as a percent of GDP), he countered that – in dollar amount – those revenues are higher than they’ve ever been!  Of course, this totally incoherent ideological response was inconsistence with his handout (which depicted deficits and spending as a percent of GDP), and totally ignored the fact the U.S. population (and concomitant governmental responsibilities) have more than doubled since 1950.

Personally affable as he may be, until Tipton starts educating his constituency with facts rather than propounding fiction, he remains woefully unfit to hold office.

And, there’s still more.

In response to a question premised on the false propositions that Immigration Reform amounted to “amnesty” and would “cost American jobs”, Tipton opined that he’d not heard anyone talk about “amnesty” (disingenuously denying a consistent “Tea Party” talking point) and shifted his remarks to a Guest-Worker Program (some variation of which he supports).

Thus, Tipton deliberately evaded an obvious opportunity to explain that we already have de facto “amnesty” – since millions of undocumented immigrants remain in the U.S. and successfully avoid detection and deportation.

Tipton also ignored the CBO’s conclusion that enacting the already-passed Senate bill would help reduce future budget deficits by some $1 trillion over the next two decades – by expanding the labor force fully encompassed by Social Security payroll taxes and income taxes – while increasing unemployment by only .1% over its first five years.

The CBO also projects that S.744 will increase GDP by $700 billion (3.3%) in 2023, and by $1.4 trillion (5.4%) in 2033 (with similarly expanding gains in-between), projections which were entirely omitted from Tipton’s deceptively fear-mongering “hand-out”.

Tipton also failed to explain how spending $46.3 (Senate) or even $8.3 (House) billion on doubling the number of Border Patrol agents and/or building 700 miles of fencing in Texas would create any jobs in Mesa County – or anywhere else in the 3rd C.D.

Thus, Tipton remains the prisoner of his absurdly inconsistent “conservative” ideology, and is apparently determined to keep his constituency fellow inmates inside the “Tea Party’s” fact-free bubble.

One more thing.

Tipton also referred to a church in southwest Colorado whose health insurance premiums under ObamaCare were increasing from $50,000 to $70,000 for six employees, and to a small business that was converting some employees to part-time to avoid the employer mandate applicable to employers with 50+ FTE.  While both anecdotal cases could be true – I doubt it – and will ask Tipton’s office to identify both.

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