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U.S. House veterinary caucus members take opposing stances over government shutdown

Kurt Schrader forfeits pay in light of Congress’ failure to pass a budget; Ted Yoho stands with conservatives to defund ‘Obamacare.’
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Oct 02, 2013
By dvm360.com staff
Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., left, and Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., right

U.S. House Representative Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., issued a statement Tuesday vowing to donate his congressional salary during the government shutdown to an Oregon charity. The veterinarian-turned-moderate-Democratic congressman serving his third term in the House has been outspoken about his distaste of unproductive, partisan politics and the ineffectiveness of the current Congress.

“I firmly believe that if members of Congress fail to perform their most basic duty in passing a budget, then they do not deserve to be paid,” Schrader says in an Oct. 1 release on his website. “It is in that vein that I will be donating the congressional salary I collect during the shutdown to a local Oregon charity to be named later. It’s time for Congress to get its act together.”

Schrader’s U.S. House of Representatives Veterinary Medicine Caucus counterpart, veterinarian and freshman Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., is one of about 20 conservative House Republicans who have led the push to anchor defunding of the Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act to a budget resolution that would end the government shutdown.

Schrader opposed the House Republicans' spending bill to delay the Affordable Healthcare Act Monday night. He continues to stress his desire for Congress to pass a long-term debt and deficit reduction package. “Right now, Oregonians expect their Congress to work together to pass a budget, create certainty in the markets for investors and get folks back to working good, family-wage jobs,” Schrader says in the release. “What they do not expect from us is to pound our chests over lost political causes, risk shutting down the economy and end vital services and investments they depend on.

“Instead of coming to the table and working with willing Democrats like me to find middle ground on our nation’s budget problems, House Republicans chose to cater to their reckless Tea Party ideologues and shut down the U.S. government. This is exactly the opposite of what American families and businesses need.”

He might as well have said, ‘Hey, Ted, I’m talking to you.’

Yoho won his seat on a Tea Party platform and a vow to “repeal Obamacare,” and while Schrader has said he and his fellow veterinarian can usually come to agreement over a few beers, this time, the two are on decidedly different sides of the debate.

A small group of veterans, federal employees and citizens gathered outside Yoho’s office in Gainesville, Fla., earlier this week to protest the shutdown. A shutdown Yoho says is not the result of his, or his Republican colleagues', actions but one that lies squarely at the feet of Democrats. “The House of Representatives sent three different solutions to avoid a government shutdown. Each time, the Senate rejected the measure and sent back the same legislation,” Yoho says in a release on his website.

“Congress has two chambers and when they disagree they are supposed to come together to resolve the differences. In order to do that we need the Senate to come to the table, something they refuse to do. Yet, Senator [Harry] Reid [D-Nev.] and the Democrats call us the unreasonable ones. Make no mistake about it; this government shutdown is because of the Senate.”

It may take more than a few beers to bring Schrader and Yoho to agreement on Congress’ current impasse. However, teamed as the veterinary caucus, the two remain bipartisan co-sponsors of bills that affect veterinary healthcare such as the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act, the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Enhancement Act of 2013 and the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2013. “Even if we don’t agree on policy, I respect [Schrader’s] views and his dedication to this job. We could use a little more of that in Congress,” Yoho told dvm360 in May.