INDIANAPOLIS | An Indiana Congressman has accidentally exposed the government shutdown strategy of U.S. House Republicans -- they don't have one.
U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Howe, told the Washington Examiner newspaper Thursday that the three-day-old federal government shutdown will continue until the House Republican majority gets something, anything, from the Democratic-controlled Senate and White House.
"We're not going to be disrespected," Stutzman said. "We have to get something out of this. And I don't know what that even is."
Stutzman later walked back his remarks saying he "carelessly misrepresented the ongoing budget debate and Speaker (John) Boehner's work on behalf of the American people."
But his statement already had been declared by pundits and commentators nationwide to be the perfect encapsulation of the House Republican bargaining position.
President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., have repeatedly made it clear they will not approve a government spending measure that delays, defunds or deletes the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
However, House Republicans have refused to consider a "clean" spending plan that would fund the government without striking a blow to Obamacare.
Their final offer before the federal government closed Tuesday was six weeks of government funding in exchange for a one-year delay of the health law, new restrictions on access to birth control and a $30 billion tax cut.
Obama responded directly to Stutzman during a speech Thursday at a Maryland construction company. He said Stutzman doesn't deserve a "goodie bag" to end the shutdown; Stutzman should instead "stop this farce" so the government can get back to work.
"What you get is our intelligence professionals being back on the job. What you get is our medical researchers back on the job. What you get are little kids back into Head Start. What you get is our national parks and monuments open again. What you get is our economy not stalling but continuing to grow. What you get is workers continuing to be hired," Obama said. "That's what you should be asking for."