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Gov't shutdown splits possible 2016 GOP contenders


Associated Press


MACKINAC ISLAND, Mich. (AP) — Sen. Ted Cruz says he will fight "with every breath" to stop the health care overhaul, even if it means shutting down segments of the federal government. That approach, warns former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, is "quite dicey" politically for Republicans.

A clear divide over President Barack Obama's health care law separates the emerging field of potential 2016 GOP presidential candidates. And it offers a preview of the battle Republicans nationwide will fight in their effort to build the party and win back the White House.

On one side of the health care fight are Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Texas' Cruz and others who say they are standing on principle and willing to oppose the law at all costs.

On the other side are those taking what they call a pragmatic approach by accepting the law, if grudgingly, and moving on. Holding that view are New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who says that shutting down the government would violate the public trust.

The Republican-controlled House passed a short-term spending plan Friday that would continue funding government operations through mid-December while withholding money for Obama's signature domestic accomplishment. Some GOP lawmakers also advocate holding back on increasing the nation's borrowing limit, which could result in a first-ever default, unless what they call "Obamacare" is brought down.

Obama, who has warned of "economic chaos" should Congress pursue such a strategy, said Friday in Missouri: "We're the world's bedrock investment. The entire world looks to us to make sure the world economy is stable."

Less than a quarter of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, about the same as approve of Republicans in Congress, according to recent national polls. Democrats poll slightly higher, and large majorities disapprove of the work of both.

Walker said shutting down the government violates government's chief responsibility to run, and run efficiently. He views the next round of congressional campaigns as a referendum on the law passed three years and two elections ago.

"The best way to fight it is in the 2014 elections," Walker said Friday in an Associated Press interview.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, hosting a state Republican conference on Mackinac Island where Walker, Jindal and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky are set to appear, said a shutdown "reflects poorly on the national political culture."

Jindal said earlier this week, "I do think the party needs to be more than the party of ‘no."'

Bush was more pointed, saying Republicans would be guilty of overplaying their hand if they passed a spending measure that did not include money for the health care law.

"You control one-half of one-third of the leverage in Washington, D.C.," Bush said, referring to House Republicans. "As we get closer to these deadlines, there needs to be an understanding of that, or, politically, it gets quite dicey for the Republican Party."

Cruz said worries that voters would blame Republicans for a shutdown are unfounded.

"If history is a guide, the fear of deep political repercussions — I don't think the data bear that out," he said.

Republican lawmakers and Democratic President Bill Clinton failed to agree on spending in 1995, which resulted in two partial government shutdowns. Clinton was re-elected the following year, but Cruz noted that Republicans held the majorities in both House of Congress in 1996 and 1998, and collaborated with Clinton on spending cuts and other changes that preceded economic expansion.

Creating some daylight between himself and his Senate colleagues, Paul — also a potential candidate for president — called a shutdown "a dumb idea" but said the fight about it was worth having.

"I am for the debate, I am for fighting," Paul said. "I don't want to shut the government down, though. I think that's a bad solution."


Thomas reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Philip Elliott in Washington contributed to this report.

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palani wrote:
The only one threatening a government shutdown is the intransigent and petulant President Obama, who obstinately refuses to compromise or negotiate an agreement with House leaders.
on September 21,2013 | 05:09AM
hornswoggler wrote:
Really? A major part of Obama's platform when he was campaigning was Obamacare, he was elected twice. Obviously we want Obamacare, if we didn't, we would have elected Romney.
on September 21,2013 | 05:24AM
kainalu wrote:
on September 21,2013 | 08:55AM
smooshpappy wrote:
Don't forget Romney's very own version of "Obamacare" when he was the Gov in Mass.!
on September 21,2013 | 12:20PM
wiliki wrote:
Republicans want to deny health care to 40 million Americans and cut food stamps to millions as well. It's good that Obama wont negotiate on that.
on September 21,2013 | 07:25AM
kuroiwaj wrote:
Mahalo Palani, it's true that Pres. Obama is the only one threatening a government shutdown. Obama care will impact all the unions by lowering coverage and increasing costs. The unions recognize that and seek waivers that Pres. Obama refuses to allow, thus causing the unions to join with the Republicans and a few Democrats on this budget issue. Pray the Senate sees the truth and next week vote for the Continuing Resolution funding the government and defunding Obama care.
on September 21,2013 | 10:26AM
smooshpappy wrote:
When was a federal shutdown ever used by Congress to get its way with a bill it has voted on 40 times to repeal. Congress has the lowest approval rating in history! 8% by some polls, and with good reason: they are out of touch with the American people! Throw the bums out!
on September 21,2013 | 12:25PM
mikethenovice wrote:
In the past whenever the Democrats and Republicans needed more tax funds to operate the government, they would agree to the amount needed. We this current self fish Republicans, they won't allow the its citizens to pay an extra penny more in taxes that is needed to operate the government.
on September 21,2013 | 05:45AM
mikethenovice wrote:
The GOP only act like they care about America. In reality, they just want to embarrass the Democrats by halting the government.
on September 21,2013 | 05:46AM
Anonymous wrote:
Sad when the government plays the people like "rag dolls". This country is heading for a train wreck. Forget about who got the most power.... They MUST work on a solution or we all suffer. They could stop the millions of dollars going to foreign countries and use it for US instead of a country that HATE us. Charity begins here and not on some far away place !!
on September 21,2013 | 06:16AM
wiliki wrote:
There wont be much of an election for Republicans in 2014. They have two strikes against them. One they wont pass an immigration bill. Two they want to shut down the govt. The third strike is coming up. Will it be gay marriage?
on September 21,2013 | 07:24AM
HD36 wrote:
Like Obama said, we are a nation that pays our bills. We are not a banana republic. The only problem is that we need to borrow morrow money to pay our bills. Sounds like kicking the can down the road. What happens when the world won't lend anymore money?
on September 21,2013 | 11:01AM
smooshpappy wrote:
Restore the Bush tax cuts and we won't be having this discussion!
on September 21,2013 | 12:27PM
HD36 wrote:
How's that? The problem is not enough revenue and too much government spending.
on September 21,2013 | 12:57PM
honupono wrote:
The house republicans are greedy self serving pigs and their leader is a coward. He doesn't lead he just follows so he won't be targeted.
on September 21,2013 | 07:45AM
kainalu wrote:
The Tea Party has hand-cuffed the GOP, hence, it has hand-cuffed the functionality of the Federal Government. While the TP policies appeal to the hardcore conservative-base, they do not appeal to the majority of Americans. The TP may be able to seat a few representatives in conservative-counties, but they'll never - not ever - seat a President.
on September 21,2013 | 08:53AM
raken58 wrote:
Hummmm.......let me try to understand these elected reps............your were elected to help run the gov......right?!?!? but bc you are unable to debate or agree on an issue YOU GOP want to shut the gov down?!?!? I would want to elect a capable rep for my area.......opps.......that means you are out! LOL!!!!!!
on September 21,2013 | 09:04AM
HD36 wrote:
They didn't taper QE3 to infinity and they've raised the debt ceiling the last 50 years. There's no stopping the printing press until the dollar is replaced as the world's reserve currency. This won't happen unless the OPEC strangle hold is broken by the natural gas co-op led by Gazprom. When Russia told the UK they would shut down the pipeline during the winter, they backed out from attacking Syria.
on September 21,2013 | 10:09AM
GorillaSmith wrote:
Thanks for the only intelligent comment on this page.
on September 21,2013 | 11:24AM
HD36 wrote:
I'm glad you understand. Welcome to the 3% club.
on September 21,2013 | 12:59PM
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