U.S. Rep. Tom Marino, R-Cogan Station, voted against the short-term measure to re-open the government and raise the debt ceiling Wednesday night because of a lack of spending cuts, claiming President Barack Obama refused to negotiate.
Marino said his vote is "based on the fact that there is no cut in spending. The president said he's not cutting spending, he wants an increase in taxes, he's not creating jobs and the debt is going up. We cannot afford it; we cannot continue to spend money that we have to borrow."
This view and his resulting vote represents his constituents in the 10th District, he said.
"My constituents sent me there to do this. None of us wanted a government shutdown, but (my constituents) wanted us to draw a line in the concrete and say enough is enough," he said. "If the American people don't want a government shutdown and continued spending, they'll have to make that decision."
With Standard & Poor's estimate of a $24 billion cost to the economy resulting from this political game of chicken, was it a good tactic to tie anti-Obamacare measures to the spending bill?
Marino said although he voted with his leadership, his position was against bringing Obamacare into this political battle.
"I did not want Obamacare attached to anything. Obamacare is the law. I do not like it, we cannot repeal it, we tried to repeal it - we did in the House, but the Senate wouldn't repeal it. Even if the Senate did, do you think the president would get rid of it? It's his signature on it ... no way that was going to happen," Marino said.
He posited Obama may have made more concessions on spending and the medical device tax if Republicans would have accepted Obamacare as the law it is.
The fight should have been saved for the debt-limit issue, he said.
He clarified that 94 percent of Obamacare is mandatory spending, money they have no control over; only 6 percent is discretionary.
Marino blamed the 11th-hour passage of the bill on Obama. "The president kept telling the American people he wanted to negotiate, but he wouldn't negotiate," he said. All he heard from Obaa was, "No, no, no," he said.
"We can't just roll over to, who is in my opinion, the first president in the history of the country that would not negotiate. It's his way or no way," Marino said.
He said he recognized all parties shared a part in this play.
"There's enough blame to go around here. ... We all cannot have everything we want. The Republicans don't have the market cornered on all the great ideas, nor do the Democrats," he said.
Marino said he is a Tea Party member, but values negotiation.
"I realize as a Tea Party member, I can't get all my way, but I'd rather leave the table with half a loaf rather than no bread. That's called the art of negotiation," he said.
Marino drafted legislation for three issues he wants addressed, and criticized House leadership for not allowing a vote on it: 12-year term limits for members of Congress; one subject addressed in a bill at a time; and no leader can prevent a piece of legislation going to the floor for a vote if it passes a committee.
Regarding the third part, he said House Speaker John Boehner was "between a rock and a hard place" as he "didn't have a consensus with House Republicans."
Marino isn't entirely opposed to Obamacare. He agrees with allowing children to stay on their parents' insurance until age 26, and that people with pre-existing conditions should have equal access without paying more for health care.
He opposes the requirement for all people to have health insurance, and said it could be funded by "downsizing the government, getting rid of non-essential employees, eliminating departments and agencies that aren't effective." Everyone should "chip in," such as insurance companies, pharmacies, hospitals and taxpayers, he said.
The time is short until it's time for another round of decision-making on the debt ceiling and government funding - and how will Marino vote?
"My position is going to be we have to balance the budget, cut spending, keep taxes low to create jobs and get us out of this fiasco nightmare," he said. "If the president takes the position of it's his way or no way, we are going to get nowhere. I'm not going to roll over just because he's the president."