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Which will prevail in Congress – common sense or the Tea Party?

If you read this morning’s New York Times you might be under the impression that the Republican fixation on shutting down the government to defund the Affordable Care Act is limited to Tea Party favorites in the Senate – Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas/Canada), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah). From the NYT:

Whether out of pure self-preservation or a sudden attack of common sense, a growing group of Republicans is saying no to the strident extremists who want to shut down the government this fall if health care reform is allowed to proceed.  “I think it’s the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard of,” Senator Richard Burr, a Republican of North Carolina, said recently.

He and others in his party are pushing back hard against the idea — promulgated by Senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Mike Lee, as well as others in the Tea Party camp — that Republicans should not agree to any legislation that keeps the government going after Sept. 30 if it also pays for the new health care system.  So far, only 13 reckless senators have signed on to this movement; most of the others recognize that the attempt would not only be futile but also ruinous to what little remains of their party’s reputation for governing.

It’s not limited to a legislative baker’s dozen… many House Republicans are still backing this dangerous approach.

Longview News-Journal – Gohmert: GOP afraid to block Obamacare

U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert told a tea party audience of about 200 people that GOP House Speaker John Boehner fears the political backlash of de-funding the Affordable Care Act as a condition of raising the debt ceiling to avoid a government shutdown…

“What does it say about Republicans if we’re not willing to stand up for what we know is best for the country?”

CNS News - Hannity to GOP: If You Don’t Defund Obamacare, ‘You’ve Lost Me’

If Republicans pass a government funding bill next month that includes money for Obamacare, they’ll lose Sean Hannity’s support, the talk show host told Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) Tuesday night…

On Tuesday, Gowdy told Hannity, “We just have to have one of those ‘come to Jesus moments’ as a party where we say, ‘You know, what do we stand for?  What is enough to fight over?’”…

“Juries like contrast. Voters like contrast,” Gowdy replied.  “This is a wonderful opportunity for us to provide contrast.”

The Hill – Conservatives say grassroots support building for ObamaCare shutdown

… Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) has held six events in his north Texas district so far in August and is leaning toward backing the shutdown threat…

Before the recess began, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) gathered 66 GOP signatures on a letter urging GOP leaders to demand that ObamaCare be defunded in the context of any 2014 funding bill.

Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) wants to go even further.  His resolution demands that language defunding ObamaCare be attached to any continuing resolution to fund the government.  On Wednesday, his office sent an email to other members seeking support…

Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.), who lost his committee assignments for bucking GOP leaders, argues that anyone in leadership who thinks the shutdown push is losing momentum is misinformed…

Rep. Tom McClintock’s (R-Calif.) office, for example, confirmed Thursday that he has now made it clear to constituents that he won’t vote for any temporary funding bill that does not defund ObamaCare.

And even those who aren’t publicly backing a government shutdown are threatening to let our nation default by refusing to raise the debt ceiling in an effort to defund the health care law. From the NYT:

As National Review recently reported, several lawmakers who consider a government shutdown a political liability — including the leadership of the House — are still willing to threaten a government default later this year if health care reform isn’t stopped or delayed.

In other words, they would refuse to raise the debt ceiling if their demands aren’t met, just as they did during a similar debacle in 2011 that damaged the nation’s credit rating and led to the sequester.

Enough is enough.  Americans want Congress to focus on jobs and economic growth, not partisan games and dangerous political threats.  Let’s work together to strengthen the Affordable Care Act and ensure its smooth implementation.

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