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Shutdown showdown letdown

"Shutdown showdown letdown" Continued...

The success of these groups and new lawmakers like Cruz has upset some veteran Hill politicians and their staffers. When Cruz, in the days leading up to last week’s House vote, admitted Republicans didn’t have the votes to succeed in the Senate, lawmakers protested he was punting on a strategy he spent all summer propping up. Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Ark., sent out this tweet that he later deleted: “so far Sen Rs are good at getting Facebook likes, and town halls, not much else. Do something.”

On Friday, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., decried the House vote to combine defunding Obamacare with the government funding measure.

“We can't be going off on these false missions that Ted Cruz wants us to go on," he said.

Republicans who oppose Cruz’s strategy to risk a government shutdown over Obamacare argue that President Barack Obama and the Democratic-led Senate will never gut what they consider their signature accomplishment.

Reid confirmed as much this week when he said, “The simple fact remains: Obamacare is the law of the land, and it will remain the law of the land as long as Barack Obama is president of the United States and as long as I am the Senate majority leader.”

Cruz’s Republican critics also are skeptical that the media will go along with his argument that Democrats are to blame for any shutdown by moving to protect dollars for Obamacare. They argue, in fact, that it is distracting the media and the public from Obama’s own scandals, including waffling over strikes against Syria for the use of chemical weapons.

In an opinion piece published Monday night, the conservative op-ed board for The Wall Street Journal called the Cruz plan an “implausible defunding gambit.”

“The only real way to repeal the law is to win elections,” the op-ed board wrote. 

Indeed, even if Obamacare is defunded in this bill, many of its elements would proceed. Those include the individual mandate, health insurance exchanges, and subsidies.

Regardless of how the government shutdown showdown plays out, this volatility between Tea Party Republicans and establishment Republicans likely will continue with the next fiscal debate. The government will hit its borrowing limit sometime in October, forcing lawmakers into another give-and-take over the nation’s debt and the size of the government’s spending.

Already House Republicans have had strategy sessions to consider agreeing to an increase in the government’s borrowing limit in exchange for a series of objectives, including a one-year delay of Obamacare. With the healthcare law on the table for this next set of negotiations, it is clear where many Republicans think the current defund Obamacare push—the one now before the Senate—will end up.

Edward Lee Pitts
Edward Lee Pitts

Lee is WORLD's Washington Bureau chief. As a reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press, he was embedded with a National Guard unit in Iraq. He also once worked in the press office of Sen. Lamar Alexander.

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