Duncan Provides Shutdown Updates Via Facebook

October 11, 2013
Press Release

Washington, DC—South Carolina Congressman Jeff Duncan has been providing constituents with daily updates on facebook since the shutdown first began. The updates have kept constituents informed about the House’s plan to fully fund key parts of the federal government ranging from veterans services to Guardsmen and Reservists pay. The Congressman’s updates have also emphasized President Obama and Senator Reid’s public refusal to negotiate with Republicans. Below is a collection of updates from Congressman Duncan in chronological order. The updates can also be found on www.facebook.com/repjeffduncan

Shutdown Update 10/10 11:30pm: "It appears that President Obama and Harry Reid are trying to shift their position of refusing to negotiate with Republicans. Without yet making a firm commitment, President Obama has been sending signals that he may be willing to negotiate if Republicans end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling. The problem is why couldn't the President have been willing to negotiate months ago when the government was still open? The Speaker will push for a 6-week debt ceiling extension that does not end the budget impasse that caused the shutdown. Many conservative groups seem to support this approach as it keeps the focus on ObamaCare, begins serious negations with the Administration, but continues to stand strong on the continuing resolution. As I said before though, we wouldn't even be in this position if the President had been willing to negotiate from the beginning. In other news the ObamaCare roll out has been a complete mess. This morning people using the healthcare exchange were told they needed to change their passwords, about an hour ago it was revealed that was not the case. The websites aren't working, and the costs are higher than many expected. One part about ObamaCare that you may not be aware of is the secrecy clause in the Affordable Care Act that makes it difficult to determine whether the plan you've selected contains an abortion surcharge. As a result, it's very possible for many families to accidentally purchase an insurance plan that contains fees that are specifically used to pay for abortions on demand. This is an very concerning part of the law for anyone who has a moral objection to abortion and doesn't want to see their hard-earned money be used to kill unborn children."

Shutdown Update 10/9 3:10pm: "Tensions rose between the liberal Mayor of Washington DC and Senator Harry Reid at a press conference this morning. The DC Mayor expressed his frustration that the Senate hasn't taken up a bill passed by the House to end the government shutdown for the city. But that wasn't the only sign of tension from within the Democratic Party. Earlier this week, Daily Show host Jon Stewart questioned HHS Secretary Katherine Sebelius on why "big business" should get a reprieve in the healthcare law, but not the rest of the public. "If I’m an individual that doesn’t want it, it would be hard for me to look at a big business getting a waiver and not having to do it and me having to," Stewart said. "Because I would feel like...like you are favoring big business because they lobbied you this year, but you’re not allowing individuals that same courtesy." Jon Stewart's sentiments were echoed by CNN's Wolf Blitzer this afternoon when he questioned why the Administration wouldn't listen to Republican concerns and delay ObamaCare for a year if they knew the government website wouldn't be ready and there would be so many complications. Another important development is that the President may be trying to walk back from his ridiculous position of refusing to negotiate with Republicans. During a press conference yesterday, the President seemed to indicate that he MAY be willing to negotiate with Republicans if they would first vote to reopen the government for a few weeks. However, the President was fairly vague and no clear offer to negotiate has be presented to Republican leadership to my knowledge. Lastly, I'd like to point out a rather unfortunate situation that has come up. As you may have heard, there are five military families waiting to receive death benefits for the loss of their loved ones. This should have never been a problem because Congress passed, and the President signed legislation ensuring that the military would not be impacted by the shutdown. In fact, that legislation is what the Defense Secretary used over the weekend to bring 400,000 civilian military employees back to work this past Monday. When I see the President bend the law to pick and choose which parts of ObamaCare to enforce and which ones to delay, but then refuses to use the power given to him by Congress to ensure that military families are taken of, I get furious. Fortunately, Congress is passing legislation today that will help these military families, but I can't help but think that the President had the power to fix this all along. Thanks for helping push out these updates! We're making a big impact!"

Shutdown Update 10/8 9:30am: "The government shutdown (or perhaps more accurately called "slimdown") has been going on for a week now and President Obama and Harry Reid are still refusing to negotiate on the budget and the debt ceiling. The debt ceiling deadline is Oct. 17th, so it's very likely that these two issues have now combined into one. I've had some people ask why the House feels that this is the time to address ObamaCare? Why don't you just give in to all the Democrats demands and deal with ObamaCare sometime in the future? The problem is that the House has already passed legislation to deal with ObamaCare and it's denied a vote in the Senate. Therefore, the only way to proactively deal with issues like ObamaCare are through must past legislation like the Continuing Resolution and the Debt Ceiling. The President has made changes to ObamaCare through Executive Orders that I and many others strongly believe that he did not have the power to do. If he had taken those changes to Congress as our Founders had intended, we would have had a venue to make changes to the law that way. Another question I've been asked is why even have this fight? The answer is that while I never wanted a government shutdown, ObamaCare is toxic for America and doing extreme harm to the country. At Clemson University, students received notices reminding them that because of the new healthcare law their work hours will be limited. In Oconee County, substitute teachers have seen their hours cut because of ObamaCare. I've heard from local police departments who won't be able to hire additional officers. I've also heard from many constituents who are furious because they've lost their employer provided insurance that President Obama promised them they could keep. The San Jose Mercury highlighted the stories of two supporters of President Obama who were shocked to learn when they were hit with $1,800 and $10,000 premium increases because of the new healthcare law! The stories go on and on, but simply put ObamaCare is not something I simply dislike or just believe is bad policy. ObamaCare is one of the greatest threats to our economy and well-being that I have ever seen. It's that serious, and that is why Republicans are having this fight. It's disappointing that so many Americans share these concerns, but we have a President who is unwilling to listen to them. As always, please help spread the word by sharing."

Shutdown Update 10/7 2:45pm: "More evidence is racking up that the White House is trying to use the government shutdown to create political theater. Last week I mentioned that this is the first time in history that any Administration has closed the Lincoln Memorial during a government shutdown. Well this morning, the White House decided to take down the Amber Alert website but left the First Lady's Anti-Child Obesity website "Let's Move" up and running. The American people didn't respond too well to the Administration's theatrics, and the Amber Alert website was quickly relaunched. Harry Reid and President Obama are continuing to publicly state that they will not negotiate. However, this afternoon the President decided to tweet about his new campaign commercial attacking Republicans. Campaigning is not leading Mr. President, and neither is refusing to negotiate. I represent the people of the Third District of South Carolina. When a sitting President says he refuses to negotiate with me, he's saying he's not willing to listen to the people's concerns. I have a serious problem with that. Please help me spreading the word by sharing this status so we can keep people informed about what's really going on."

Shutdown Update 10/7 9:30am: "Nearly all of the 400,000 civilian military contractors who were furloughed due to the shutdown will return to work today because of the "Pay our Military Act" that was passed by Congress prior to the government shutdown. This weekend, the House voted 407-0 to ensure that federal workers who were furloughed (by no fault of their own) receive pay during the shutdown. This is in addition to the legislation the House already passed to unconditionally re-open veteran services, cancer research, the FDA, Nuclear Security Administration, National Weather Service, Head Start, National Parks, and FEMA. While the Republican controlled House worked on all these projects this weekend, the Democrat controlled Senate manged to vote on Friday to establish "National Chess Week." This is because Harry Reid and President Obama are continuing to publicly state that they will NOT negotiate, and will oppose reopening any parts of the federal government unless Republicans cave to their every demand. To sum it up, Republicans are doing everything possible to end the government shutdown, and Harry Reid and President Obama are only concerned with catering to the extremist elements in their party."

Shutdown Update 10/4 4:30pm: "Harry Reid and President Obama are continuing to say they won't negotiate. “We are winning…It doesn’t really matter to us (how long the shutdown lasts)” was the statement a senior White House official gave to the Wall Street Journal. Speaker Boehner angrily responded to that comment by saying "this isn't some damn game!" I agree with the Speaker on this issue, and I believe many Democrats are starting to see the light as well. 57 House Democrats have joined with Republicans to end the politics and move forward on fully funding the key portions of our federal government that we can all agree on. Unfortunately, there are indications that Harry Reid and President Obama are more interested in theatrics than solving problems. My colleague, Congressman Mark Sanford, pointed out that this is the first time in the history of the country that the Lincoln memorial has ever been closed due to a government shutdown. The World War II Memorial, which is an open air memorial, has also been closed to create powerful images for the nightly news, but is unnecessarily politicizing a monument honoring our Greatest Generation. I can't help but think that previous Presidents wouldn't stoop to the level of playing politics with our country's veterans. I can tell you one thing President Obama managed to do today. He sent out a campaign e-mail urging his supporters to send angry tweets to Republican Congressmen. I don't care if you're conservative, liberal, or independent; I think we can agree that campaigning is not leading. And we need a President right now who will lead and work with the people's representatives to end this shutdown."

Shutdown Update 10/4 9:30am: “Day four of the government shutdown. Last night President Obama announced that he canceled his trip to Asia because of the government shutdown, but reiterated once again that he will not negotiate. Yesterday the House moved forward to reopen specific programs like guard & reservist pay, cancer research, veterans benefits, and national parks. Today the House will vote on clean/non-controversial bills to fully fund the WIC program, the Nuclear Security Administration, the FDA, border security, the National Weather Service, Head Start, and a bill to retroactively pay all furloughed federal employees impacted by the shutdown. Despite the fact that 57 House Democrats have voted with Republicans to reopen portions of the federal government, President Obama continues to threaten to veto these bills and Harry Reid refuses to bring them up for a vote. I'm hopeful that more Democrats will join us today in voting to reopen parts of the federal government, and that President Obama and Harry Reid will realize that refusing to negotiate is not in the best interest of the country. Please share this update to make sure the public is getting the facts about what is really happening in Washington.”

Shutdown Update 10/3 8:01pm: “Day three of a government shutdown and President Obama and Harry Reid are continuing to publicly state that they will not negotiate. In the history of our country, this is the very first time that the elected leadership of either party has taken the stance of refusing to negotiate on the budget. The House has stepped up though and is continuing to pass clean/non-controversial spending bills to fully fund aspects of the federal government including national guard/reservist pay, cancer research, national parks, DC city government, and veterans benefits. So far 57 House Democrats have broken from their party's leadership to support our effort to prevent federal workers from being used as political pawns. However, President Obama has continued his threat to veto all of these bills if they were to reach his desk as part of his ‘will not negotiate’ strategy.”

Shutdown Update 10/3 9:12am: “Some words of wisdom from James Madison and Federalist 58: ‘This power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people, for obtaining a redress of every grievance, and for carrying into effect every just and salutary measure.’”

Shutdown Update 10/2 8:02pm: “Congressional leaders met with the President at the White House this evening to discuss the government shutdown and the debt ceiling. However, the White House reiterated that the meeting was not a negotiation since they will not negotiate on those two issues. The House voted this evening to restart funding for critical medical research and our national parks (with no strings or conditions attached). The President said he would veto those bills if they make it to his desk. CNN reporter Dana Bash asked Harry Reid about the medical research bill today: ‘If you can help one child who has cancer, why wouldn't you do it?’ she asked. Harry Reid replied, ‘Why would we want to do that?’ Make no mistake, this is Harry Reid's shutdown.”

Shutdown Update 10/2 1:47pm: "The House is planning on taking up five separate spending bills that would fund key parts of government that we all agree need to be funded. These range from Veterans services to Homeland Security. These are clean spending bills, no riders or controversial provisions are attached to them. However, in continuing his position of not negotiating, President Obama has said if they pass he will veto them. What are your thoughts on the President's decision not to negotiate?"

Shutdown Update 10/2 10:30am: “So far President Obama and Senator Reid have continued their stance of refusing to negotiate. The Senate voted yesterday morning AGAINST creating a conference committee to work out the differences with the House. Additionally, House Republicans decided to move forward on a bill that would fully fund Veteran's Services. However, shortly after the House announced their plan the President threatened to veto this bill. President Obama seems more interested in spending his time comparing Republicans to terrorists than he does leading the country.”