Under the Dome

Groups call on Ellmers to help end the government shutdown

UPDATED to include response from Ellmers’ spokesman.

U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers is getting pressured by groups using her own words to help end the government shutdown.

Protect Your Care NC, a nonprofit that supports implementation of the Affordable Care Act, notes that in August, the Ellmers warned that “any threat to shut down the federal government over funding Obmacare in the Continuing Resolution is a political game and a distraction.”

The group also notes that Ellmers, a Dunn Republican, was right when she also predicted the shutdown would be used against Republicans. It points to a new poll conducted by The Washington Post and ABC News that shows 74 percent of Americans disapprove of the way Republicans are handling the budget negotiations.

“Renee Ellmers knew better all along but she was scared to buck the Tea Party,” Candice Davies of Protect Your Care NC said in a statement.

The statement followed an effort Tuesday morning by Organizing for America, which protested outside Ellmers’ office in Dunn, calling for the federal government to reopen.

Tom Doheny, Ellmers’ communications director, said in an email that the congresswoman was working “tirelessly to bring an immediate end to this shutdown, just as she did in the weeks and months leading up to it.”

“She voted numerous times to prevent this shutdown, each of which was completely ignored by (the Senate majority leader,) Senator (Harry) Reid and blocked by President Obama,” Doheny said, referring to spending measures the House has passed.

“Ever since the shutdown began she has continued to vote for legislation that will open the government and put people back to work – as she did with the three appropriations bills that passed the House,” he added.

Those votes to “open the government’ are a reference to Ellmers’ support for opening parts of the federal government, such as bills to fund the Federal Emergency Management Agency and provide veterans services. The Senate has rejected those House-approved bills and instead called for a government spending bill with no strings attached to restore all government funding.

Now, more about that poll: No one polled really approves of how anyone – Republicans, Democrats or the president – is handling the negotiations but the GOP’s approval rating on the “do you approve or disapprove” question has dropped the most since the budget negotiation question was first asked on Sept. 29. Then 26 percent approved and 63 disapproved; now 21 percent approve and 74 percent disapprove of the GOP’s negotiating style.

From the pollsters: “No one involved in this mess is particularly popular. But a two-party political system with first-past-the-post elections is a zero-sum affair. And Republicans are not only less popular than Democrats, their popularity is falling faster than Democrats’. They are, in other words, losing, and badly.”

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