*Government Shutdown

Republican Infighting: “This is a huge distraction”

Some Republicans aren’t happy with their colleagues who chose to shut down the government over the Affordable Care Act.  From the New York Times:

The hard-line stance of Republican House members on the government shutdown is generating increasing anger among senior Republican officials, who say the small bloc of conservatives is undermining the party.”

“‘Fighting with the president is one thing,’ said Senator Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri. ‘Fighting with the president and losing is another thing. When you’re in the minority you need to look really hard to find the fights you can win.’”

“‘This is a huge distraction,’ said Gov. Bill Haslam of Tennessee. ‘Instead of that being the conversation, we’re talking about the government shutdown, and the average citizen can’t help but say the Republican Congress isn’t helping.’”

“Republican elders worry that the tactics of Mr. Cruz and his allies in the House are reinforcing the party’s image as obstructionist.”

“‘The fight here is important to have — this is an important part of political life,’ said former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida at a recent news conference in the capital. ‘But I do think the emphasis of being against the president’s policies, no matter how principled they are, needs to be only half the story, if not less.’”

The Wall Street Journal also highlighted growing Republican discontent with their party’s obsessive focus on attempting to repeal or undermine the Affordable Care Act:

“A small but increasingly vocal coalition of Republican lawmakers is urging the party's top brass to stop trying to dismantle the entire health-care law, believing the fight is a losing one for their party.”

“‘I voted over 45 times to defund or delay Obamacare—there's no question how I feel about that law, but I also came here to govern,’ said Rep. Lou Barletta (R., Pa.), a former mayor. A conservative on fiscal issues and immigration policy, among other issues, Mr. Barletta said he thinks a piecemeal approach to changing the health law is more realistic. ‘Shutting the government down does not bring more certainty,’ he said.”

“Still, that hasn't stopped people from trying to change course in the fiscal fight. Some GOP lawmakers have grown irritated with the party's unwavering insistence on dismantling the health law before fully funding the government. Many see the fingerprints of Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) on a strategy they say has borne little fruit so far.”

“‘Somebody once told me there's no wisdom to be gained by the second kick of the mule. There's certainly no wisdom to be gained by the third or fourth kick of the mule,’ said Rep. Charlie Dent (R., Pa.), one of the leaders of the group of self-described pragmatist Republicans.”

Even Republican Governor Bob McConnell has condemned Republicans for causing the government shutdown in a Washington Post op-ed:

House and Senate Republicans knew that the president and the Democratic Senate majority would never agree to defunding the president’s main legislative achievement in exchange for passing a routine resolution necessary to keep government running.”

“Now, real people pay the price for gamesmanship. Virginia is home to more than 172,000 federal civilian workers . We estimate that roughly one-third have been furloughedas a result of the shutdown. That means no paycheck and difficulty planning for the future. For the state, it means reduced income and sales-tax collections, which will hurt our state budget and job growth. The shutdown could also affect Child Care and Development Block Grants, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment block grants, block grants for mental health treatment and community health centers, to name just a few programs.”

Now it’s time for House Republicans to follow their colleagues’ suggestion and end the government shutdown. Are they ready to allow a vote on the Senate’s clean government funding bill?