Steve Southerland and Gwen Graham Clash on Federal Shutdown

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: September 30, 2013 11:30 AM
Steve Southerland and Gwen Graham

Steve Southerland and Gwen Graham

The looming federal government shutdown has taken center stage in recent days in one of the most competitive congressional races in Florida.

U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla., is one of the top Democratic targets in 2014. National Democrats have high hopes for Gwen Graham, daughter of Bob Graham who served as governor and U.S. senator from Florida, to topple Southerland. Over the weekend, Graham and a Democrat super-PAC went after Southerland’s role in the looming shutdown.

Southerland, like most Republicans in the House, supported the resolution to continue funding the government but delay President Barack Obama’s federal health-care law for a year. This legislation has no chance of passing the Democratic-controlled Senate.

“The House is again acting in accordance with the will of the American people,” Southerland said on Saturday after the continuing resolution passed.

Southerland insisted the bills the Republican House passed would ensure that members of the military are paid and that veterans' services would continue. Noting the Obama administration is delaying implementing the health care law for businesses, Southerland said the law should also be deferred for individuals.

“My constituents rightly expect that vital government services will be funded for our veterans, our seniors and the truly vulnerable, but the majority also wants to see this costly health care law delayed or dismantled,” Southerland said. “Considering the president delayed Obamacare for a year for businesses, it’s only fair to expect that same relief for all Americans. Just as importantly, I hope that the Senate will put politics aside and join us in ensuring that our military heroes receive their paychecks in full if a shutdown occurs.”

Gwen Graham fired back at Southerland in a blog item on Context Florida, insisting the Republican congressman “helped create” the impending “crisis.”

“The dysfunction in Washington is so disturbing to us in North Florida because it is so out of touch with our values,” Graham insisted. “From Panama City to Tallahassee, we are problem solvers: when we encounter challenges in our businesses, our communities and in our homes, we roll up our sleeves and get to work finding solutions. Unfortunately, Congressman Steve Southerland has shown us yet again why he is part of the problem in Congress: voting for a divisive plan that even Republicans say is jeopardizing a government shutdown – a move that would hurt North Florida middle class families and deliver a self-inflicted wound that our economy simply cannot afford."

Despite having worked for former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean’s and current U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s presidential bids in 2004, Gwen Graham is attempting to portray herself as free from Washington politics, even refusing to say if she would support U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., for speaker. While Graham is trying to avoid the national Democratic leadership, the House Majority PAC, a Democratic super-PAC, continues to hammer Southerland, ranked as one of their top 10 targets in 2014.

“Representative Steve Southerland's vote to shut down the government is crazy, shameful and reckless,” said Andy Stone, a spokesman for the House Majority PAC, on Saturday. “Instead of serving the people of North and Northwest Florida, Southerland opted to pledge allegiance to the tea party, throw caution to the wind and hurtle the United States toward a devastating shutdown.”

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com

Comments (9)

4:32PM OCT 3RD 2013
I have known Steve Southerland for years. I think he is a nice man and a good father. However, he is a terrible representative for our area. He has sponsored 11 bills in his tenure, and all have died in committee. He has not done one single solitary thing for our area other than ask them if they were "mad" at the government. Of course we are, but we are you going to do to fix it? In addition, look up his chief of staff, an uber religious uneducated zealot by the name of Hayes. The guy was mediocre in Bay county private sector and is absolutely getting steamrolled in DC. Southrland is interested in vetting his anger at Obama and the Government, but has NO interest in accomplishing meaningful legislation for the people in his district. I have voted democrat three times in my life. Once for JFK, and twice for Bob Graham. I'll happily vote for and support his daughter to get Southerland back where he belongs, shouting down the Bay County school board with no suggestions on how to fix things.
11:41AM OCT 1ST 2013
I live in Steve Southerlands home town of Panama city. I voted for him in the last election. The next election will not be the same. While on local issues I may agree with some of his politics, I have a huge problem with the obstructionism he is bought into with the tea party. It is very clear that the teabaggers plan all along was to shut down the government. I truly fear that they will also use there position to have the US government default on our debt. The affordable care act passed fair and square, the Republicans lost that fight a long time ago. It is a childish act to hold the rest of the gov't hostage. very dissapointed in the Republican party.
Rick Scott has to go next. I am done with this Party.
Glen Leirer
3:53PM SEP 30TH 2013
Gwen Graham is wrong about the shut down. I will bet you the people of North Florida will not even know we have a shut down if ti does happen.
2:45PM SEP 30TH 2013
Ah, yes . . . more blatant politics of the "Big Lie" about a government shutdown --> "The House is again acting in accordance with the will of the American people" . . . . apparently, to Republicans, the American public voted for a governmental shutdown when they overwhelmingly re-elected President Obama last November . . . . . . . . of course, such pure obstruct everything politics will come back to bite its owner . . . . . just label them the Grand Obstructionist Partisans . . . . . .

Need more proof, here's five associated "Big Lies" from our own GOP Senator Rubio supporting the shutdown politics, as noted in the Miami Herald of the last couple of days, along with their analyzed degree of truthiness:

1 - "The American people support defunding Obamacare and oppose shutting down the government." Sept. 20, 2013 (MOSTLY FALSE)

2 - Under Obamacare, people who "have a doctor they’ve been seeing for the last 15 or 20 years, they won’t be able to keep going to that doctor." July 31, 2013 (MOSTLY FALSE)

3 - "Even the employees’ union for the IRS -- the very people in charge of enforcing this law -- are begging to be let out from under this law." July 31, 2013 (MOSTLY FALSE)

4 - Under Obamacare, "75 percent of small businesses now say they are going to be forced to either fire workers or cut their hours." July 25, 2013 (PANTS ON FIRE FALSE)

5 - "Obamacare is bad policy that adds around $800 billion of taxes on the American people. It does not discriminate between rich and poor. It hurts everyone." July 8, 2012 (FALSE)

Somedays, it appears that all the new right GOP knows how to do is spin and lie through their teeth . . . .

Pathetic . . . .
4:09PM SEP 30TH 2013
Ah....the leftist rag, Policifact..

1. Public approval of Obamacare: CBS News/NY Times: Favor 39/Against 51
2. ‘Obamacare’ health care reform ALREADY forcing doctors to close practices - via the Washington Times.

The DPMA, a non-partisan association of doctors and patients, surveyed a random selection of 699 doctors nationwide. The survey found that the majority have thought about bailing out of their careers over the legislation, which was upheld last month by the Supreme Court.

Even if doctors do not quit their jobs over the ruling, America will face a shortage of at least 90,000 doctors by 2020. The new health care law increases demand for physicians by expanding insurance coverage. This change will exacerbate the current shortage as more Americans live past 65.

By 2025 the shortage will balloon to over 130,000, Len Marquez, the director of government relations at the American Association of Medical Colleges, told The Daily Caller.

“One of our primary concerns is that you’ve got an aging physician workforce and you have these new beneficiaries — these newly insured people — coming through the system,” he said. “There will be strains and there will be physician shortages.”

The DPMA found that many doctors do not believe the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will lead to better access to medical care for the majority of Americans, co-founder of the DPMA Kathryn Serkes told TheDC. - Via Daily Caller

3. The effort by the Treasury Employees Union comes two weeks after representatives of three large labor unions fired off a strongly-worded letter to congressional Democrats, complaining that Obamacare would "shatter … our hard-earned health benefits" and create "nightmare scenarios" for their members. - via Newsmax

4. ObamaCare Employer Mandate: A List Of Cuts To Work Hours, Jobs
Via - Investor's Business Daily

5. Double Down: Obamacare Will Increase Avg. Individual-Market Insurance Premiums By 99% For Men, 62% For Women - Via Forbes...

Talk about 'spin'.....pathetic.....#GetYourHeadOutOfTheSand
9:32PM OCT 1ST 2013
Yes, you'll stake your honor on that "The DPMA, a non-partisan association of doctors and patients", correct . . . . guess that's why their website indicates "We believe that the battle for medical freedom is about more than just repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)" . . . . "It is DPMA's position that PPACA is the Destruction Of Our Medicine" . . . "PPACA = DOOM, facts and figures at your fingertip" . . . .

Yes, truly non-biased and non-partisan . . . just like their factoid that "According to Kathryn Serkes, cofounder of the Doctor Patient Medical Association, a recent nationwide poll sponsored by her organization found 83 percent of U.S. physicians have considered leaving their practices due to President Obama’s law" . . . . if you believe that one (which is the basis for some of your comments), I have some land out in the mid-Atlantic called Atlantis available for only $5,000 an acre . . . .

Ms. Serkes has since commented after major criticism of her poll that: "We didn’t say specifically that this was a scientific poll, nor did we state confidence levels or margins of error," she said. "We were very transparent about that." . . . . . furthermore, the poll didn't even specifically ask about the federal health care law! . . . .

Have any real facts, or real analysis to disprove my cited Miami Herald analyses, or just more pitiful truthiness? . . . . thought not . . . . you never learn . . . facts matter . . .

Once again, into politics of the "Big Lie" and demonstrating your spin to be absolutely . . .

Pathetic . . .
2:29PM SEP 30TH 2013
Gwen 'Coattails" Graham apparently hasn't been reading the news lately. Business Daily Insider has a list of the over 300 companies who have either laid off workers or cut their hours due to Obamacare.

From 8.18 on Forbes.com, Congressional Research Service. The CRS, Congress’ non-partisan in-house think tank, compiled 82 deadlines that the Affordable Care Act mandates upon the first three years of its own implementation. Remarkably, it turns out that the White House has missed half of the deadlines legally required by the ACA. And some of those deadlines remain unmet to this day.

Will Ms. Coattails call for the repeal of the Obama executive order exempting Congress from Obamacare? Or any of the 1000 plus exemptions??

Inquiring minds want to know.
4:01PM OCT 2ND 2013
Of course, your rabid biased mind is not one of them, as too easily demonstrated above . . . .

Pathetic . . . .
12:48PM SEP 30TH 2013
Steve Southerland clashes with ethics, morality, and reason. Gwen Graham has all of those attributes.

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