BY KRISTEN BUCKLES
U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-1st, of Johnson City, voted Friday in the U.S. House of Representatives for a resolution that will continue funding government operations through Dec. 15.
That same resolution defunds the Affordable Health Care Act (ACA), also known as ObamaCare, and includes the Full Faith and Credit Act.
During a teleconference with area news media representatives on Friday, Roe said that the Full Faith and Credit Act would allow the government to meet obligations such as veterans benefits, Social Security payments and disability payments.
A news release issued from his office in Washington, D.C., just following the vote also described the act as "protecting the nation's credit rating by allowing the U.S. Treasury to continue borrowing over the debt limit until Dec. 15, 2014, to pay the principal and interest both government debt held by the public and on obligations to the Social Security trust fund."
Despite a busy week of major legislation, Roe called this continuing resolution the "big news" of it all.
Not approving such a continuing resolution could result in a government shutdown. While it wouldn't be the first time a temporary shutdown has occurred, such a shutdown now could be costly, Roe said.
He explained that, during the last government shutdown in 1995, seven of the 12 federal budget appropriations bills had made it through Congress.
"This is different," he said. "This year, we [the U.S. House of Representatives] passed appropriations bills to the Senate, but none of them have been taken up."
The House of Representatives has a Republican majority, while the Senate has a Democratic majority.
The particular resolution Roe voted for Friday is not expected to make it past the Democratic-controlled Senate, much less past President Barack Obama, who has promised to veto it.
"It is very important we continue to work tirelessly and use every tool we have to defund, dismantle, repeal and replace the president's health care law," Roe said in the news release.
"I, like the majority of Americans, am adamantly opposed to this law and am proud to support this continuing resolution.
"I hope my conservative colleagues in the Senate will fight to uphold the provision that defunds ObamaCare when the continuing resolution comes up for a vote on the Senate floor."
Roe recently introduced the Health Care Reform Act - a proposed replacement to the ACA that he said he hopes to bring before a House committee this fall.
"It's open to amendment, unlike the Affordable Care Act," he said during the conference call.
"I'd be willing to listen to Democrat and Republican amendments to make this bill better. It's far from perfect."
So far, he said, it has been well received by fellow Representatives.