WASHINGTON — California House Republicans on Wednesday split over a measure to end the government shutdown and lift the U.S. borrowing authority, highlighting divisions within GOP ranks over the strategy for reining in federal spending.
The vote among the state’s Republicans was 8 to 7 in favor of the legislation.
"I cannot say that I am proud of some of my colleagues for allowing this to go until the 11th hour, but I can say that I am undoubtedly relieved," said Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach).
"No more lemmings," Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Tulare) said after a House Republican meeting Wednesday. He supported the measure. During the 16-day stalemate, Nunes had described colleagues who were willing to let the federal government shut down in an effort to kill Obamacare as "lemmings with suicide vests."
Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Elk Grove), who voted no, said the measure "trades short-term relief for long-term suffering."
"The executive branch will set spending levels and whenever a fiscal deadline approaches, the Senate can simply refuse to negotiate with the House on any measure that does not meet its demands until Congress is faced with the Hobson’s choice of another shutdown or a default," he said, expressing fear the debt will continue to mount.
Other Republicans who voted no were Reps. John Campbell of Irvine, Jeff Denham of Turlock, Doug LaMalfa of Richvale, Duncan Hunter of Alpine, Dana Rohrabacher of Huntington Beach and Ed Royce of Fullerton.
Republicans voting for the measure besides Nunes were Reps. Ken Calvert of Covina, Paul Cook of Yucca Valley, Gary Miller of Rancho Cucamonga, Darrell Issa of Vista, Howard "Buck" McKeon of Santa Clarita, David Valadao of Hanford and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield.
McCarthy said in a statement that as a result of Republican efforts in recent weeks, President Obama and Senate Democrats will sit down at the negotiating table to consider spending reforms "and yes, that includes Obamacare."
Miller said he voted for the measure because a government default would have "put the full faith and credit of the United States at risk, and in combination with the government shutdown, severely weakened job creation" at a time when unemployment remains high in his district.
Denham, who voted no, said, "The American people deserve long-term solutions to stop the spending, stop running up the debt and give real certainty to families across the country and the financial markets so we can get back on a path to economic success and job growth."
After the vote, Democrats and Republicans in the delegation blamed one another for the shutdown.
"I was frustrated to see the president and Senate leadership continually refuse to engage in bipartisan negotiations and neglect the opportunity to hash out real solutions to the problems threatening the prosperity of our country," McKeon said in a statement.
Some conservative groups urged Republicans to hold firm in insisting on defunding or making changes to the 2010 healthcare law as a condition for funding the government. But business groups pushed for a "yes" vote to avoid a potentially calamitous U.S. default.