Obama wants a government shutdown, says U.S. Rep. Wolf
Addressing members of the Leesburg Daybreak Rotary Club at a local restaurant, Wolf first made the comment in his formal address and then reiterated the claim in an interview afterward.
If the government shuts down, Obama, a Democrat, will use the closure to score political points against Republicans and "stick it to them," Wolf said.
“I believe the president wants us to shut it down … I think he'll literally come at us,” Wolf, a 30-year incumbent, said.
The remarks were preceded by a discussion of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare and widely viewed as the president's legacy achievement. Wolf said he wants Obamacare defunded, but he isn't willing to shut down the federal government to make it happen.
Following Congress' August recess, both chambers will take up a continuing resolution to fund the government, which is currently slated for shutdown after Sept. 30.
Some House Republicans favor attaching to the resolution a provision that will dice funding for Obamacare. But given the president would refuse to sign that bill, Wolf said, a shutdown could be blamed largely on the GOP.
“That's the battle that's going on in my party. There are some that are saying, 'shut it down!'” Wolf said. “ … If we shut the government down, who's going to fund the [Veteran Affairs] Hospital? Who's going to fund the veteran who doesn't have a leg? Who's going to fund the FBI who's working on a counter-terrorism case? Who's going to fund cancer research? … ”
Wolf went on to say he doesn't believe a government shutdown will, in fact, occur. But he's also pessimistic the opposing parties in Congress – in both the GOP-led House and Democrat-controlled Senate – will be able to compromise on long-term budget planning.
White House officials did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has yet to be fully implemented nationwide, and a key component – whether states choose to expand Medicaid and set up insurance exchanges – is still being debated in some places, including Virginia. The Obama administration recently announced a one-year delay in mandating that employers with 50 full-time workers or more provide health insurance to their employees or pay a fine. The delay pushed that mandate back to the beginning of 2015.
"I think Obamacare, or Affordable Care, is going to be a disaster for the country," Wolf said. "I think eventually it's going to be defunded."