Lynn Woolsey: Obama must not ‘capitulate’ to GOP on shutdown (EXCLUSIVE)
WASHINGTON – Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) is urging President Barack Obama to follow in President Bill Clinton’s footsteps and stand strong against Republicans on sharp spending cuts — even as the possibility of a government shutdown looms.
“You have to remember what a leader Bill Clinton was in 1995. It was very clear he was not going to capitulate,” Woolsey told Raw Story in an interview late Tuesday afternoon. “President Clinton was absolute — he said he would veto [the GOP proposals], and he did. We were with him on that, and I’m hoping to do the same with President Obama.”
First elected to the House in 1992, Woolsey witnessed first-hand the 1995 stand-off between the Clinton White House and the Republican-led Congress, which led to a partial shutdown.
“Just as in 1995, if the government shuts down, it will be on the Republicans’ conscience,” Woolsey said. “They’ll be responsible, because they called for unacceptable spending cuts and they’re willing to destroy jobs and the middle class. I’m not.”
The House on Tuesday afternoon approved 335-91 a stop-gap bill that cuts spending $4 billion and keeps the government solvent through March 18. It’s poised to pass the Senate. But it’s very plausible the two sides won’t reach a budget deal in that time, which would bring many government functions to a halt.
Woolsey voted against the measure. “It destroys jobs, it hurts the middle class, and it demands more sacrifices from working families,” she explained to Raw Story. “I see it as moving towards more cuts, not fewer cuts. I see more jobs being lost, not fewer.” A Moody’s Analytics report issued Monday suggested the spending cuts would result in the loss of 700,000 by 2012.
The California Democrat, a progressive caucus member and former co-chair, called on Obama to refuse more spending cuts from a Republican Party determined to continue slashing government programs.
Unlike in 1995, when Americans decided early that Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) would be the culprit in a shutdown, the public is sharply divided on who would be to blame if the scenario were to occur again, a Washington Post-Pew Research Center poll found Tuesday.
“I certainly hope it doesn’t happen again,” Woolsey said. “I was here in 1995 and I realized how unfair a shutdown is to people who depend on government resources and services. And it’s certainly not fair to our federal employees, either.”
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons