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Republican lawmakers divided on threat of a government shutdown

a-party-divided1

The Tea Party wackos are getting an earful from more sensible Republicans, as we see HERE:

With one week left before a possible government shutdown, congressional debate has exposed deep divisions within the Republican Party, pitting tea-party-backed conservatives against their colleagues.

Budget moves orchestrated by tea party leader Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas have encountered outright hostility from fellow Republican senators who say his strategy does not appear to have an endgame.

“I didn’t go to Harvard or Princeton, but I can count,” Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said last week in a not-so-veiled swipe on Twitter at Cruz, who studied at both schools. Cruz’s strategy is leading the party into a “box canyon” and “will fail and weaken our position,” Corker said.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is expected to begin debate this week on legislation approved by the Republican-led House that would keep the government running but do away with President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

Because the Senate’s Democratic majority is likely to have enough votes to strip out the healthcare law provision and keep Obama’s signature domestic achievement on track, Republicans have few options.

They can block the entire bill, joining Cruz’s call for a filibuster and risking blame if the government shuts down. Or they can step aside and try to fight the healthcare law during the next budget battle in mid-October.

“I believe we should stand our ground,” Cruz said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Cruz, a potential presidential contender who just started his filibuster strategy in recent days, conceded that he did not yet have the backing of enough fellow Republicans. But he and his allies, including Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), are working on it.

“This has been a fast-moving target. You know, just a few weeks ago we didn’t have anywhere near the votes we needed in the House or in the Senate,” Cruz said. “It’s now our turn to unify, to stand together with House Republicans.”

But top Republicans publicly and privately say a filibuster could be a losing proposition. Not only would the party probably face public blame — much as it did during the last government shutdowns in 1995 and ’96 — but there is no simple exit strategy even if it succeeds.

Several key Republicans have distanced themselves from their more firebrand colleagues. A sign of the party’s public relations pretzel was clear Saturday as the conservative advocacy group Heritage Action for America urged senators to block the bill, which on Friday it had urged House Republicans to pass.

“If we could do this, we should do it. But we can’t,” Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said on “Face the Nation” on Sunday.

To overcome a Republican filibuster, Democrats would need at least six GOP senators — possibly more if some of their 54-member caucus defect — to reach the necessary 60-vote threshold to advance the bill. Most Senate aides think Democrats will have the votes.

 

 

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