Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican who voted against reopening the government last week in an effort to defund the Affordable Care Act, blamed President Obama and Senate Democrats for the government shutdown.
“The people who shut down the government were the president and the Democrats in the Senate, who basically said, ‘Unless you fund the entire Obamacare, we are going to shut down the entire government,’” Mr. Rubio said on “Fox News Sunday.”
Mr. Rubio, a tea party favorite, said that shuttering the government was a last resort for Republicans, yet he was one of 18 GOP senators who voted against the short-term deal to reopen the government because his party didn’t achieve its goal of defunding Obamacare.
“Let me be clear: I never was in favor of shutting down the government. I never was in favor of defunding the government,” Mr. Rubio said. “The only thing I didn’t want to see us waste any more money on was Obamacare, which has proven to be a disaster. So why would we waste a penny more on that?”
The majority of Americans blamed the Republicans for the government shutdown, and the GOP has felt the heat, as its poll numbers declined dramatically over the course of the shutdown.
But Sen. Roy Blunt, Missouri Republican, said politicians shouldn’t play the blame game in Washington.
“Sen. Durbin and the Democrats think this is a very big win for their party,” Mr. Blunt said on the Fox show. “But nobody won the last three weeks. Democrats look terrible; Republicans look terrible; the president looks terrible.”
Mr. Rubio expressed disappointment in his fellow Republicans for not “uniting” in the fight to defund Obamacare.
He criticized the Affordable Care Act’s rocky start, blaming the Obama administration for hiding the fact that not many Americans are signing up for the health care exchanges because of glitches on the website.
“Setting up a website where people can go online and buy something is not that complicated,” he said. “People do this every day.”
Mr. Durbin admitted the Affordable Care Act is “off to a rough start,” but ultimately, he believes, “it’s on its way to being a substantial success.”
He pointed out that 17 million Americans already have visited the exchange websites, and a half-million have filed applications for health insurance.
“There is no perfect laws,” Mr. Durbin said. “The only perfect law was brought down on clay tablets by Sen. Moses.”