Sen. Coburn Says House Republicans Should Drop Contentious Riders

April 06, 2011 5:22 pm ET — Matt Finkelstein

Two days ahead of a potential government shutdown, House Republicans are still refusing to give up on controversial policy riders standing in the way of a compromise. Asked yesterday whether he would shut down the government over Planned Parenthood funding, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) replied, "Of course."  House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) validated Pence's statement later in the day, telling reporters that the riders are "just as important" to many Republicans as cutting spending.

This afternoon, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) questioned the tactics of his Republican colleagues in the House. During an interview on MSNBC, Coburn argued that House conservatives should consider "the realities of the situation" with Democrats controlling the Senate and the presidency and make a deal to cut spending without the contentious riders:

COBURN: The one thing I've learned in my years here is there's one reason to talk about something, if you want to talk about it, to create a political climate. There's another, the common sense way is what can I really get done? What's the realities of the situation? And my recommendation to my friends in the House is, you know, it's highly unlikely that many riders are going to get passed with a Democrat president and a Democrat Senate, so why don't you take the spending and let's get on to the budget.


Notably, Coburn is one of the most conservative members of Congress and, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a "long-standing opponent of government-funded family planning programs."