Murray: Rubio’s threat to shut down government is ‘absurd’

Earlier Thursday, Rubio said Republicans should not vote for any government funding bills unless they defund President Obama’s signature healthcare law, the Affordable Care Act, also called ObamaCare.

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“Not only do they want to push us to a crisis, but they want to do that in order to cut off healthcare coverage for 25 million people and reopen the doughnut hole we know so much about causing seniors to pay more for their prescriptions, end free preventive care for our seniors, and much more,” Murray said. “I hope responsible Republicans reject this approach and work with us on real solutions, not just more political fights.”

Rubio repeated his comments on the floor in an exchange with Murray.

“The real disaster is ObamaCare itself,” Rubio said. “The disaster that is looming in regards to ObamaCare will affect every American. … ObamaCare threatens to shut down our economy.”

Murray asked for the 16th time for the Senate to go to conference with the House to work out the major differences in their budgets. But Rubio objected, saying he didn’t want the conference report to raise the debt ceiling.

“I do not oppose going to a budget conference with the House,” Rubio said. “My concern is when this budget conference goes to the House that a deal to raise the debt ceiling will be included."

Rubio asked that Murray modify her request to go to conference to prohibit a debt ceiling increase, which the government is expected to need in the fall, but Murray objected to restricting conferees.

“We’ve been told that they don’t intend to deal with the debt limit,” Rubio said. “Why not just put it in writing? I think it raises suspicion.”

Murray said the differences in spending levels need to be worked out on the budget because it’s affecting the appropriations bills. Rubio said he would not support raising the debt ceiling because the government has a spending problem, and Murray’s budget does nothing to address it.

“We owe $17 trillion, and there is no plan to stop that,” Rubio said. “Where is the urgency? What are we waiting for? This isn’t going to take care of itself. We’re not going to win the Powerball lottery to pay this off.”

Republicans have complained that the Democrats' budget increases spending and raises taxes, while Democrats have charged that the Republican budget reduces the deficit on the backs of the middle class and poor.