U.S. Rep. John Fleming, R-Minden, was one of the most adamant supporters of the “Defund Obamacare” movement that led to the partial government shutdown.
He has called the Affordable Care Act the most dangerous law ever passed by Congress, and he voted against the bipartisan compromise that ended the 16-day shutdown, reopened the government for at least three months and increased the debt ceiling.
He immediately followed the vote up by penning a column in USA Today to pledge that the “fight didn’t end.”
“Much has been made of the epic battle that erupted between Congress and the administration during the past two weeks, leading to the first government shutdown in 17 years,” Fleming wrote.
“The battle unified Republicans in repeated efforts to keep government open while shutting down Obamacare. The sequester caps, so hated by Democrats, remain intact. Obamacare’s problematic rollout has been highlighted. And the president’s move to take the nation to the brink of default will not achieve his political goal of taking back the House.”
Congressional Republicans overall, while opposed to the Affordable Care Act, were splintered in their approach, and many criticized attaching Obamacare changes to legislation to keep the government open.
While the economy was hampered and the GOP got little tangibly out of the shutdown, Fleming said the fight was “worth the effort.”
“While the political debate has ended for the moment, like any prizefight there are many rounds, and this fight didn’t end last night,” he added.
Landrieu touts support for her FAIR Act measure
Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., announced the nonprofit Southern States Energy Board is endorsing her FAIR Act legislation to expand and accelerate the amounts of offshore drilling revenue shared with the coastal states.
The FAIR Act, which is co-sponsored by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, is awaiting Senate committee action as the senators seek to build support.
The FAIR Act would send 37.5 percent of offshore energy production revenue, including offshore wind and wave energy, to the states.
But 27.5 percent would be received if the participating states refuse to opt into state-supported funds to support clean energy and conservation projects.
“For decades, offshore producing states have endured a glaring inequity at the hands of federal energy policy — it’s time for that injustice to end,” Landrieu said in a prepared statement.
“While inland producing states keep 50 percent of the revenues for energy produced on federal lands, offshore producing states like Louisiana and other Gulf Coast states keep virtually nothing. All the while our coast is eroding at the rate of 25 to 35 square miles a year, or about a football field each hour.”
The FAIR Act is intended to speed up Landrieu’s Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act, which became law in 2006 but does not fully kick in until 2017.
The FAIR Act would expedite the revenue sharing and remove a $500 million cap. Louisiana is expected to receive close to half of the funds, with the rest going to Texas, Mississippi and Alabama.
The Southern States Energy Board seeks to increase economic development and the quality of life in the South through improvements in energy and environmental policies, programs and technologies.
Membership includes 16 Southern states and two territories.
U.S. Senate candidate Maness running as ‘political outsider’
Landrieu and Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, have more than $9 million combined in their war chests for the 2014 Senate election as of the end of September.
The third candidate in the race, retired U.S. Air Force Col. Rob Maness, of Madisonville, is touting his growing momentum as an alternative Republican choice.
Maness raised about $58,000 for the third quarter of the year to increase his total donations to more than $100,000 as he attempts to run to the ideological right of Cassidy as a tea party candidate.
“Before I entered this race, a friend told me you either need to be rich or corrupt to succeed in politics,” Maness said in a prepared statement.
“I’m going to prove them wrong. We entered this race as a political outsider, knowing we’d be going up against well-funded political machines from both sides of the aisle.
“That we’ve stimulated this level of support from a broad range of donors is extremely encouraging, and we are excited as we continue to move forward.”
Jordan Blum, The Advocate’s Washington correspondent, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.