Colorado’s Morning News, Mike Coffman, October 17, 2013

Station:     KOA, 850 AM

Show:       Colorado’s Morning News with April Zesbaugh and Steffan Tubbs

Guests:     Coffman


Date:         October 17, 2013

Topics:     Government Shutdown, Discretionary Spending Bill, Obamacare, Continuing Resolution (CR), Bipartisan Agreement, Debt Ceiling, Funding, Negotiate, Debt and Deficit, President Barak Obama, Spending, Solvency, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Delay, Defund, Furlough, Food Stamps, Defense Contractors, Military, Civilian Defense Workers, Extremists, Fundraising,

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CO-HOST APRIL ZESBAUGH:  Congressman Mike Coffman joins us on our live line now, to explain us why he favored ending the shutdown.  Good morning!  Thanks for coming on.

U.S. REPRESENTATIVE MIKE COFFMAN:  Good morning.  Good morning.

ZESBAUGH:  Yeah.  I’m sure you were relieved it’s done, but were you one of those, kind of holding your nose as you voted ‘yes’?

COFFMAN:  Well, I think—first of all, I think it’s being misreported.  This is not – the deal is not an end to itself.  Is all it does [sic], this bipartisan agreement, really, fundamentally, is give breathing space in a very temporary extension of the debt ceiling and of the Continuing Resolution for funding the government, part—the discretionary part of the government for a very limited time, in which to negotiate a path forward that to have my support will have to have conditions on it to bring down the debt.

ZESBAUGH:  The president says no, but it sounds like you’re saying that we are right back in the same situation in ninety days.

COFFMAN:  Well, let me tell you.  Let’s hope not.  And that, in the last debt ceiling negotiation, we got conditions that in fact really made a difference in terms of bringing down spending.  And we need, obviously, to go further in order to put this country on a path toward solvency in bringing down our debt.  And so, the notion where our President says, “I don’t want to negotiate.  I don’t want conditions on these debt limit increases.  I just want them without end” is the wrong path for America.   And so we will have an opportunity to negotiate given this breathing space and these very short-term measures, to be able to put conditions, again, on this nation’s rising debt to bring it down.

ZESBAUGH:  Just out of interest, what did you think of your colleague from Texas, Senator Ted Cruz’s reaction, I guess, and his stance throughout this whole thing.  What did you think of his position?

COFFMAN:  Well, I think that his objective was good.  I question the strategy that in fact he influenced enough House members to go along with that.  And that was– there were two vehicles for which we could have looked at delaying or defunding Obamacare, all or part.   And that was –the first one, being the Continuing Resolution, that discretionary spending bill, and the second being waiting for the debt ceiling, because of the fact that Obamacare will add to the debt.  And he insisted on the first one, not the second one.  And I think that was the much weaker hand

ZESBAUGH:  And what do you say to all those millions of Americans impacted by the shutdown over the past few weeks, the folks who rely on programs like food stamps, and the furloughed workers who need those paychecks?

COFFMAN:  Well, first of all, I put forth legislation — bipartisan legislation, prior to the shutdown to make sure that we protect our military,  to make sure that we protect the civilian defense workers that work in support of our military, and the contractors that work in support of our military.  And to take them out of the equation, I think that was important for this country.  I – there’s no question, I mean, I think that there were extremists on both sides.


COFFMAN:  On the left, there were people rooting for a shutdown, and making it as tough as it could possibly be on people.  And on the right, I think there were folks who saw this as an opportunity for national fundraising.  And so I think I worked, once I saw that there were not negotiations, that there was not a path out of this, I began working on a bipartisan basis with different groups to try and break through the gridlock.  And I’m just glad it’s over now.  And I supported the bipartisan agreement  last night.

ZESBAUGH:  We’ve got to run at that, I appreciate your time early this morning, from Washington.  Thanks!

COFFMAN:  Thank you.