WASHINGTON — Indiana GOP Rep. Marlin Stutzman said he wanted respect in the budget standoff. Instead, he got ridicule from President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats.
Stutzman is being mocked for saying Republicans should get something from the budget standoff — but he doesn’t know what that is. The tea party-backed lawmaker told the Washington Examiner on Wednesday: “We’re not going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.”
The three-term congressman backtracked Thursday, saying in a statement he had “carelessly misrepresented the ongoing budget debate.”
But Obama and the Democrats jumped on his original comments, calling him selfish while some 800,000 federal workers remain out of work, parks and museums remain shuttered and various government services are on hold.
At an event in Rockville, Md., Obama repeated Stutzman’s quote as the audience laughed.
“Think about that. You have already gotten the opportunity to serve the American people. There’s no higher honor than that,” Obama said. “So the American people aren’t in the mood to give you a goodie bag to go with it.”
Riffing on the remark, Obama described a worker stopping in the middle of the day, saying he wanted something but didn’t know what it was and shutting down the entire plant. Audience members yelled out that the employee would be fired, and Obama agreed.
The president said that what the Republican would get from a budget resolution is intelligence experts and medical researchers back on the job, parks and monuments open and an economy back on track.
“That’s what you get; that’s what you should be asking for. Take a vote, stop this farce, and end this shutdown right now,” the president said.
On Capitol Hill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and top Democrats also mocked Stutzman, offering faux apologies if he felt disrespected as they stood next to a placard bearing Stutzman’s words.
Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said he hoped Stutzman would take his apology to heart and re-open the government. He suggested that Stutzman apologize to the furloughed federal workers.
The 37-year-old Indiana lawmaker is a farmer and truck company owner who ran unsuccessfully for the Senate in 2010, though he had the backing of the tea party and former Sen. Jim DeMint. He easily won re-election in his northeast Indiana district with 67 percent of the vote in 2012.
Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said that if “it takes a group hug” to get Stutzman and House Republicans to pass the Senate’s temporary spending bill, “I’m in, too.”
The office of House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said it had no comment about Stutzman’s remarks.