Conversations with Conservatives: Was It Worth It?

WASHINGTON – (NewsBlaze) – Before House and Senate negotiators finalized a deal on the nation’s debt ceiling and a continuing resolution to end the government shutdown, a group of House conservatives faced the press in the Rayburn House Office building for the October edition of “Conversations with Conservatives.”

The conservatives continually found themselves queried by a Washington Press corps who pressed the lawmakers on whether the effort was worth it.

“Anytime you stand up for the American people it’s worth it,” noted Idaho congressman Raul Labrador.

Labrador reiterated a persistent theme mentioned in past “Conversations with Conservatives,” of support for the leadership, that he was “very proud of Speaker Boehner. If anyone should be kicked out of the the Republican Party who said they were going to fight and didn’t.” Ohio Representative Jim Jordan noted that the speaker’s standing was rock solid that “No talk along those lines existed.”

Losing Leverage

However, others didn’t feel kosher about their political standing with the debt deal “I’ll speak candidly, we lost leverage for the next CR” said Kentucky Rep. Tom Massie.

With that loss of political leverage, Newsblaze was curious about some of these deepening divisions within the Republican party congressional caucuses. One such rumor that has been floating around Washington reported by Glenn Beck’s was that Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell had supposedly told Senate Republicans that if they cooperated with Freedomworks or former Senator Jim Demint’s Senate Conservatives Fund.

Speaking on background to NewsBlaze, a House Republican communications aide categorized McConnell’s threat as “vindictive” and added, “most smart politicians don’t try to make enemies.”

Affordable Care Act Not Affordable

Returning to the debt deal, members made the point that they continued their fight because of economic hardships back home in their districts, resulting from the new Affordable Care Act. Wyoming Representative Cynthia Lummis told the assembled media the “average premium for a 27 year old male in Wyoming is 40% higher under Obamacare. “

Additionally, conservative lawmakers pointed out that while the Obama administration extended a delay on the employer mandate, it did not do anything about the individual mandate. South Carolina Representative Rick Mulvaney chastised the media, noting “the only [media] person who asked about this thus far has been Jon Stewart.”

As to when the law will be enforced on individuals “I don’t think it is outside the realm of possibilities that Obama will delay the individual mandate.” stated Kansas Rep. Tim Huelskamp.

Arizona Congressman Matt Salmon made it definitive by saying “I’ll go one step further, he will delay it.” As to that delay, Labrador took the opportunity to chastise the assembled press “You guys in the media continue to report that we want a full repeal of Obamacare.” Labrador said “A one year [continuing resolution] in exchange for a one year delay.”

As to what would change with the increased debt ceiling Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan noted “The debt will be bigger and Obamacare will more unpopular. More and more people will figure that out.” That unpopularity was assessed by Republican lawmakers as a net gain in the Arkansas Senate Race.

When Karen Bowman of Reuters queried lawmakers as to whether they would pursue the same strategy when debt negotiations happen next year, Labrador said “Ask Harry Reid, he seems to know.”

Immigration Reform

Further discussed at the October conversations with Conservatives was the status of immigration reform. Labrador, who supports immigration reform, noted his counterparts on the other side of the aisle did not have his approach in mind. “Anything we do on immigration it is in mind that he [Obama] wants to destroy the Republican Party” Other lawmakers said that any legislation on the issue that would be forthcomming in this session of congress would be piecemeal, to which Rep. Salmon stated “we will not be voting on the gang of 8 bill.”

Conversations with Conservatives returns in November.

Randy Foreman
Randy Foreman is the NewsBlaze White House Correspondent, reporting from inside and outside The White House and around the beltway in Washington, D.C.