Seven times last week, the House voted on amendments that would bar the use of FY 2011 funds to pay the salaries of government workers who are implementing last year's healthcare reform law. Each time, freshman Rep. Chris Gibson (R-N.Y.) opposed it, and twice he was the lone Republican dissenter.
Gibson is traveling this week and was not immediately available for comment. But his staff says Gibson "researches every issue" that comes up in a vote, and decided that while he would support efforts to repeal the law, he would vote against narrower amendments that would stop paying salaries to officials charged with implementation.
Staff said Gibson was worried that language preventing the payment of salaries would effectively get government workers fired or reassigned, which is not as preferable than the clear policy of repealing healthcare. Staff said that Gibson, who served 24 years in the Army, told staff that it is "our job here [in Congress] to write policy."
Four other Republicans joined Gibson in various votes to defund government salaries: Reps. Chip Cravaack (R-Minn.), Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.), Steve LaTourette (R-Ohio), and Kenny Marchant (R-Texas).