With only eight working days before October 1 when Congress returns from its recess, Rep. Steve Womack (R) says tying the defunding of the federal health care law to a continuing resolution to keep government operating is an unwise political move.
Appearing on KARK’s Capitol View on Sunday (Sept. 1), the Third District GOP Congressman said he agrees in principle and policy with the defunding effort, but he thinks the Republicans in the House of Representatives would face a public backlash if the federal government grinds to a halt next month over the health care issue.
“I just don’t think it’s a wise political strategy,” Womack said. “I think the potential political outcomes could be really, really hard on our party and that’s just not what I’m willing to risk right now.”
When Congress returns in a week, lawmakers will face the funding issue for government operations, a debt ceiling extension, a sequester debate, and other unfinished business such as farm policy, immigration reform and a Syrian-based Middle East crisis.
Womack said finding a quick fix for keeping the federal government’s lights on will be priority number one when he returns. There could be little time for additional debates with a short calendar ahead of upcoming Jewish holidays and an October 1 budget deadline.
“We have plenty on our plate, but clearly doing something that provides for funding of the government from the first of October for some time frame – whether it’s a month, two months, two weeks, whatever the case is – we have to do that in these eight days,” he said.
On Syria, Womack – a Colonel in the U.S. Army National Guard who was deployed to Egypt after 9-11 – says Congress has to keep options open for the President.
“We have to be very careful that we don’t limit the Commander-in-chief’s options on certain types of military actions,” said Womack. “Nobody in America wants to see the images on the television screen that we’ve seen, of people subject to chemical attacks, and I think if we’re going to leverage any leadership in that region they have to know that we’re taking an interest in that kind of stuff.”
Watch his full interview below.