Republican House Budget committee chairman Paul Ryan is under fire from his party’s conservative base for opposing Senate GOP efforts to block or revise continuing-resolution budget bills and potentially force a government shutdown until Obamacare is defunded.
The escalating feud also allows conservatives to clarify their position on the shutdown, which they claim will be “partial” and “temporary” and will not fully close down the federal government.
Ryan suggested Sunday that Republican Sens. Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and Marco Rubio are misguided in their proposed use of a government shutdown for political purposes, and that a “better strategy” will emerge to defeat the unpopular health care law.
“Well, look, we all, Republicans, want to repeal and replace Obamacare. So it’s not a matter of whether or not we want to get rid of Obamacare, we do. We’re having a debate about the best course of achieving that goal, the best strategy. And with the government shutdown, so to speak, we’re talking about discretionary spending, just government agency budgets, but it doesn’t affect entitlements. Obamacare is an entitlement like Medicare and Social Security is, and so the entitlement carries on even under a government shutdown scenario. So it’s just not that simple and easy,” Ryan said.
Conservatives are now swinging back at Ryan.
“As chairman Ryan understands, it is virtually impossible to fix failed entitlements once they are in place. The only serious strategy is to stop implementation. We are seeking to shut down a bad health care takeover that no one seems to think is working, including the President and congressional Democrats,” FreedomWorks president and CEO Matt Kibbe told The Daily Caller.
“We are not asking for a government shutdown, just a serious commitment from Republicans to do what they said they would do,” Kibbe said.
“What it is in fact is a partial, temporary shutdown because Social Security checks continue to flow, the military continues to be paid, the national debt continues to be serviced. If there’s no Continuing Resolution in effect, then what happens is non-essential government functions are temporarily suspended. Now that’s inconvenient, but we actually see this every single week on the weekends,” Sen. Cruz said in an interview.
“I believe the House of Representatives should pass a continuing resolution, should fund the entirety of the Federal government except for Obamacare, and should explicitly prohibit further funding of Obamacare,” Cruz said on the Senate floor last week.
As The Daily Caller reported, Republicans in Washington are reacting strongly to Cruz and his fellow junior senators’ shutdown plan.
“It’s a sideshow,” a Republican source on Capitol Hill told The Daily Caller. “We all know what’s going on. They’re just trying to drum up the base. That helps their donations, that helps their data collection. Everyone [on the Republican side] opposes Obamacare, so why drum up this controversy? That does no one any good. It’s unproductive. The focus should be on the Democrats who voted it into law. It’s time for everyone to be on the same page.”
“If Republicans force us to the brink of another government shutdown for ideological reasons, the economy will suffer. I would suggest to any of my Republican colleagues that has this idea: Give a call to Newt Gingrich,” Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid recently said. “He’ll return your phone calls. Ask him how it worked. It was disastrous for Newt Gingrich, the Republicans and the country.”
For what it’s worth, Gingrich replied on Twitter, “Harry Reid suggested people ask me about the effect of the 1995 government shutdown. It worked. We balanced the budget for 4 years…I would be happy to debate Harry Reid anywhere, any time about govt shutdown versus disastrous spending and destructive Obamacare.