Steny Hoyer Recalls When GOP Ended Shutdown and Allowed Obamacare: ‘Thank God for John Boehner’

By Staff | January 18, 2019 | 3:46 PM EST

Rep. Steny Hoyer (D.-Md.), Rep. John Boehner (R.-Ohio), Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) and President Barack Obama. (Getty Images/Dennis Brack-pool)

( - House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D.-Md.) gave a speech on the House floor yesterday in which he heaped praise on former House Speaker John Boehner (R.-Ohio) for acting against the wishes of the majority of his own party in 2013 by agreeing to a deal to end a government shutdown and let Obamacare move forward.

“Thank God for John Boehner, who had the courage to say shutting down the government does not make any sense. It is a stupid policy,” said Hoyer.

“Thank God for John Boehner, who came to the floor, notwithstanding the fact only 87 of his Republican colleagues would support it, but with all the support of the Democrats, we opened up the government after 26 days,” said Hoyer.

“Now, we have exceeded it this time,” said Hoyer. “And what happens two weeks from now when the President says: Either you do it my way or no way, or I am going to shut down the government.

“We are paying a high price, Mr. Speaker, for shutting down this government,” Hoyer said.

In fact, the government was closed for 16 days in October 2013 after the Senate, then-controlled by Democrats, refused to pass fiscal 2014 funding bills that included language that would have rolled back Obamacare, which was set to be fully implemented in 2014.

That shutdown occurred as fiscal 2013 ended and fiscal 2014 started—on Oct. 1, 2013.

“Hours before a midnight deadline, the Republican House passed its third proposal in two weeks to fund the government for a matter of weeks,” the Washington Post reported on Oct. 1, 2013. “Like the previous plans, the new one sought to undermine the Affordable Care Act, this time by delaying enforcement of the ‘individual mandate,’ a cornerstone of the law that requires all Americans to obtain health insurance.”

“The Democratic-led Senate quickly rejected that plan on a party-line vote,” the Post reported.

Sixteen days later, without the support of the majority of Republicans in the House, John Boehner caved.

"We fought the good fight. We just didn't win,” Boehner said in a radio interview after he agreed with Democrats to end the shutdown.

On Oct. 16, 2013 at 10:18 p.m., the House voted on a bill that funded the government and allow Obamacare to proceed. The vote was 285 to 144. Among Republicans 144 voted against it and 87 voted for it. Democrats voted 198 to 0 in favor of Boehner’s deal.

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