August 21, 2013
The Arizona Republic
Rebekah L. Sanders
U.S. Rep. Matt Salmon drew cheers from a Mesa town-hall crowd Monday, saying he plans to enter the fray this fall to support a government shutdown aimed at defunding the president’s health-care law.
The Republican congressman was piggybacking on an ultimatum issued by fellow conservative Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who wants the GOP to refuse to fund the federal government past Oct. 1 unless money is cut from the health-care law that will be rolling out in earnest at that time.
Salmon praised standoffs with President Bill Clinton over the federal budget in the 1990s, when the congressman was previously in office, for forcing spending cuts and erasing the deficit.
“There’s a few of us that have tried every which way to stop ‘Obamacare,’ ” Salmon told the crowd of about 450 at Central Christian Church. “As we go forward on this budget, I want you to know I will be leading the charge to defund Obamacare. I will do everything I can do.”
He tried to temper the crowd’s demands to do more.
Salmon said the 40 House votes to repeal the health-care law have gone nowhere because of the Democratic-controlled Senate. Any effort to impeach President Barack Obama would be equally futile, Salmon said.
Suing the president is one avenue, the congressman suggested, because he believes Obama violated the Constitution by postponing the health-care law’s employer mandate by a year, a delay not spelled out under the Affordable Care Act.
But Salmon said such lawsuits can be pursued only once the health-care law takes greater effect and people can prove they’ve suffered because of it, he said.
“I share your frustrations, I do,” Salmon said to one audience member. “I think there should be a comeuppance, ma’am. I do believe there should be lawsuits filed, but ... we only have a certain course to take with the president.”
Attendees brought up other conservative concerns: U.S. financial aid to hostile countries, accountability for last year’s attack on the U.S. Consolate in Benghazi, Libya, and welfare reform.
Buckley Merrill, a Republican constituent who attended the town hall, said he supports Salmon’s call for a government shutdown.
“Any kind of government shutdown won’t have the impact everyone fears,” he said, citing some parts of the government that would continue to function, such as Social Security.