A crowd of at least 75 gathered Friday at Erie County Republican Headquarters on Main Street in Buffalo to protest the votes that two local GOP congressmen cast that supported a strategy that led to this month’s government shutdown.
The protest targeted Rep. Chris Collins, R-Clarence, and Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, who both voted for government funding bills tied to the defunding or delay of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. Democrats who control the Senate refused to even consider that legislation, given that it would have gutted President Obama’s signature accomplishment, meaning a vote for the GOP bills was in essence a vote for a shutdown.
“We wanted to draw attention to the fact that the tea party wing of the Republican Party – which they voted with – shut down the government for two weeks and put the country on a path to default on the national debt,” said Richard Lipsitz, president of the Western New York Area Labor Federation.
The labor federation organized the protest, which drew speakers from local unions as well as Citizen Action of New York.
“Reps. Collins and Reed have shown their true colors and are more willing to put the needs of fat-cat campaign contributors before the needs of their community,” said Terry Purdue, a member of Citizen Action.
Cori Gambini, president of Communications Workers of America Local 1168, agreed.
“The American people want to work and are tired of the ‘greed economics’ of the 1 percent that Congressmen Collins and Reed represent,” she said. “No one wants to go through this again.”
Reed and Collins both voted for the legislation that tied funding the government to Obamacare, but this week they both criticized that strategy.
Collins said it was doomed to failure because Republicans only control one-half of one-third of the government and cannot force their agenda on the Democratic Senate and president.
And Reed conceded it was “a poor strategy.”