Las Vegas Sun

November 21, 2014

Currently: 55° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

John Ensign: Avoid shutdown, focus on larger debt problem

Click to enlarge photo

John Ensign

The march of Republicans coming out against holding up a budget resolution over Planned Parenthood funding at the eleventh hour has been impressive, including Tea Party activists, rumored presidential candidates and some of the biggest spending hawks in Congress.

Add to their ranks one prominent Nevadan: Sen. John Ensign.

Ensign called on his fellow Republicans to swallow a reality check today, with the sort of abandon that can only be summoned by one who knows he can choose a course of action free from scrutiny two Novembers from now.

“Everybody in this body needs to forget about whether they get re-elected, and do what’s right for the country,” Ensign said. “It’s really important for both sides to get this behind us so we can focus on the much larger issues.”

It isn’t that Ensign’s in favor of keeping Planned Parenthood funded -- on the contrary, given a vacuum, he’d probably rather see the dollars go.

“I have an 100 percent pro-life voting record. I believe very strongly that life is precious,” he said. “But we have to face reality: Democrats are in control of the Senate, in control of the White House, and there’s no way that they’re going to allow Planned Parenthood -- which is the largest abortion provider in the United States, I disagree with what they do -- but the Democrats will never allow us to defund Planned Parenthood while they’re in charge.

“We have to look at what we can do, what is achievable,” he said.

For Ensign, like many other Republicans, the fact that these riders have hamstrung the federal budget debate is drawing attention away from the real problem: skyrocketing debt.

“We’re in a debate over a few billion dollars compared to trillions of dollars; it’s really a drop in the bucket,” Ensign said.

Rep. Joe Heck agreed.

“I believe in and support the bill as it came out of the appropriations committee, the original H.R. 1 before the riders went on. I would hope that any discussions taking place at echelons above me are concentrating on keeping government open and cutting spending."

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 2 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. The first sensible thing uttered by this man in ages.

    He should still resign today, but it shows anyone can be right once in a while.

  2. Good job, Ensign. You got this one right.

    We will demand defunding of wasteful programs, including Planned Parenthood, PBS, Nat'l. Endowment for the Arts, Dept. of Education, EPA and others later-on.

    The GOP did the right thing by accepting fewer budget cuts than they wanted in order to keep our military funded. It is a despicable new low the Democrats have descended-to by using our military personnel as political pawns.