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October 02, 2023

Republican Arizona congressman calls out own party after shutdown showdown

PHOENIX – Republican U.S. Rep. David Schweikert of Arizona had some sharp words for his own party Monday in the wake of the latest government funding showdown.

He said some GOP House members are more interested in “theatrics” than economic issues and called one fellow Republican’s posturing “absolutely bizarre and stupid.”

“Let me throw some of my own side under the bus,” Schweikert told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News.

Schweikert was among the 90 Republicans and one Democrat in the House who voted against the temporary funding bill that passed through both chambers Saturday night and was signed by President Joe Biden, averting a federal shutdown just ahead of a midnight deadline.

Rep. Juan Ciscomani was the only Arizona Republican to vote yes on the package, which funds the government until Nov. 17.

Why did Rep. David Schweikert vote against government funding bill?

Schweikert, whose congressional district includes parts of north Phoenix, Scottsdale and other northeast Valley suburbs, said he voted no because it was just a temporary fix. He said Republicans, who have the majority in the House, missed an opportunity to address what he considers key priorities.

Schweikert said he preferred the package he voted in favor of on Friday. That bill failed because a faction of 21 Republicans, including Reps. Andy Biggs, Paul Gosar and Eli Crane of Arizona, joined Democrats to reject it.

“That actually … had spending rollbacks back to pre-pandemic. It had the deficit commission that I have worked on for years. It also had the entire border package … not just border funding, but the entire drafting,” he said.

“So, this was a true funding bill, and it failed. And it failed because of Republican votes.”

Why does Arizona congressman think Republican negotiations were difficult?

Schweikert said some GOP House members were “engaging in more theatrics” during negotiations.

“They’re getting into things that have nothing to do with sort of the economic growth and survival of the country, and that becomes much more difficult to negotiate with,” he said.

“Because if it’s about the economics and the math, I can come in with my joint economic folks … and we can try to figure out the path, but we now have a number of folks where they fundraise off being ‘no’ all the time.”

Getting more specific, Schweikert took aim at Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida over his plan to oust Speaker Kevin McCarthy from his leadership position this week.

Schweikert said he thinks the effort will fail, but it shows how political incentives “have become sort of distorted.”

“It’s absolutely bizarre and stupid, but … Mr. Gaetz apparently wants to run for governor of Florida and believes this raises his status, and he’s going try to raise all sorts of money on this online,” the seven-term Arizona congressman said.

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