Members of the San Joaquin Valley's congressional delegation toed their respective party lines on Friday's vote on a bill to extend federal spending for 10 weeks beyond Sept. 30 while also eviscerating President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act.
All five Valley Republicans in the House of Representatives -- Jeff Denham of Turlock, Devin Nunes of Visalia, David Valadao of Hanford, Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield and Tom McClintock of Granite Bay (whose foothills district stretches south into eastern Fresno County) -- voted for the resolution. Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, voted against the bill.
The overall House vote was 230 yes (228 Republicans, two Democrats) to 189 no (188 Democrats, one Republican). Thirteen House members did not cast votes.
Valadao touted his vote to prevent a government shutdown while also stripping money for the health-care law.
"My constituents reach out to me every day expressing their disapproval of Obamacare," Valadao said in a statement issued by his office. "It is time for our colleagues in the Senate to answer to the American people on this issue."
Costa said efforts by Republicans to link Obamacare to the funding resolution are an exercise in futility because of the president's support in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
"Whether the Republicans agree with this president or not, he's going to be president for the next three years and three months," Costa said. "He's made it crystal clear that he won't sign any legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act."
Costa noted that Republicans in the House have now tried 42 times to repeal the health care law. "Playing games with our economy by adding this amendment to the 10-week spending plan is like toddlers unwilling to hear the word 'no.' Do they think that on the 57th time they'll succeed?"
Both Valadao and Costa, however, expressed hope for the sides to eventually reach some kind of agreement.
"I think there's hope that we can avoid a government shutdown," Costa said. "The key will be what happens next week when the Senate sends back a clean bill for a concurrent resolution" without the provisions to gut Obamacare.
Valadao said that "Republicans and Democrats must come together to find solutions that put America back on track while honoring promises our government has made to those most in need."
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