McCain: Federal shutdown a 'fool's errand'
U.S. Sen. John McCain called the recent shutdown of the federal government a "fool's errand" during a town hall in Tucson on Tuesday morning.
McCain was highly critical of the recent brinksmanship led by House Republicans in an attempt to defund the Affordable Care Act by refusing to pass a budget to fund the federal government.
"It was a fool's errand to embark on this shutdown of the government," he said to a crowd of about 50 people at the El Pueblo Regional Center on Tucson's South Side. "To cause some much discomfort, dislocation and even pain to our citizens, including the citizens of Arizona."
The GOP senator argued that the shutdown had been especially painful for Arizona, citing a loss in state tourism dollars of nearly $45 million as, according to McCain nearly 600,000 visitors were unable to visit national parks and federal land in the state.
McCain noted the furloughed workers around the Grand Canyon, who ended up stranded and needed help from a local food bank as reported by the Arizona Daily Sun on Oct. 8.
McCain also brought up comprehensive immigration reform. The bill, known as the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act, was passed by the Senate in June, but has stalled in the House. "It is now up to the House of Representatives. I would hope that some of my Republican friends would realize that the American people want us to get on a positive agenda and part of that agenda, I would hope, would be for us to join together and pass immigration reform."
He argued that the 11 million people who were in the country illegally could not be easily removed and that the reform bill was tough.
"Sooner or later, we have to address this issue," he said.
Though McCain criticized the tactics of his Republican colleagues, he was adamant that Obamacare was flawed and argued that Republicans had a better plan.
McCain also took the opportunity to decry the poisonous and often personal politics that surrounded the shutdown debate. "There's room for debate, but these personal attacks inflict wounds that don't heal," he said.