Shutdown Meltdown

GOP Descends Further Into Chaos

As their years-long quest to kill and undermine Obamacare demonstrates, Congressional Republicans are united in nothing if not their irrational hatred of a law which is already helping tens of millions of Americans and will give millions more the security of quality, affordable health care for the very first time in just a few short months.

Despite this apparent unity,  the GOP has somehow managed to descend into an all-out civil war over the efforts of a few extremists in the Senate to shut down the government in October rather than fund Obamacare. Never mind that the Congressional Research Service reported yesterday that shutting down the government will not, in fact, stop Obamacare.

Here’s what a few Republicans have had to say about their colleagues’ efforts to shut down the government over Obamacare:

  • “Madness.” – former Congressional Budget Office Director Doug Holtz-Eakin
  • A denial of reality mixed with a whole bunch of hype…intellectually dishonest…a good way for Republicans to lose the House…destroying the Republican Party.” Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK)
  • The political equivalent of throwing a temper tantrum.” “A suicidal political tactic.” –Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK)
  • “Terror politics.” – Rep. Peter King (R-NY)
  • “The dumbest idea I’ve ever heard of.”Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC)
  • “A silly effort.”Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN)
  • “Feckless.” Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)

Undaunted, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and some of his party’s leading 2016 contenders, including Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Rand Paul (R-KY), march on in this futile, dead-end effort. Outside groups like Heritage Action, which is launching a nationwide tour in support of the politically disastrous push, and FreedomWorks and pundits like Sarah Palin, Erick Erickson, and Sean Hannity are fanning the flames of this intra-party battle.

These outside groups have come in for criticism from fellow conservatives, with one GOP lawmaker suggesting that Heritage Action cares more about fundraising than anything else. The group, which has swung far to the right after its sister organization was taken over by former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), apparently has no plan for what to do next should the government actually shut down, something which has rankled GOP leaders.

Meanwhile, POLITICO reports that Sen. Cruz accused Republican doubters of belonging to the “surrender caucus” and “is taking his hardball tactics to a whole new level” because he relishes “intra-party warfare.”

Even as the House of Representatives is set to waste time this week on yet another pointless vote to repeal Obamacare — the chamber’s 40th, Speaker Boehner (R-OH) is privately urging his colleagues not to shut down the government over Obamacare or anything else.

This is perhaps because Boehner understands that it’s the GOP that stands to lose should this intra-party battle break out into an all-out war in Washington over shutting down the government. A new poll out this morning found that by a 2:1 margin, voters would be less likely to vote for a candidate who had voted to shut down the government in order to defund Obamacare.  This echoes the result of a poll out earlier this week that found repealing Obamacare is not a very popular idea.

BOTTOM LINE: Instead of wasting time fighting with one another and trying to deny the security of quality, affordable health care to millions of Americans, the GOP should actually give governing a try. Less than two full work weeks remain before the government will run out of money and shut down unless the House GOP abandons its demands for more austerity spending cuts and deep cuts to programs like Medicare and Social Security.

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Advocacy Team