New York Republican Rep. Peter King told Bloomberg News Friday that the tea party caucus has lost the shutdown battle and its fight against President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. In an appearance on “Political Capital with Al Hunt” that will air on Saturday, King predicted that the House will raise the debt ceiling and overwhelmingly pass a potential spending resolution with no changes to current government policy.
Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) has “the leverage he needs, and I think it’s going to come to the House floor, no matter what.”
King opposed the shutdown from the start and has been a vocal and vituperative critic of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), the nominal leader of the drive to shut down the federal government over Obamacare.
King told Hunt that if Boehner doesn’t bring a clean resolution to the floor to fund the government, then King himself will support a discharge petition, in which a majority in the House can order the chamber to vote on an item.
“If we have to do a discharge petition, ultimately, we will, but this is going to come,” said King.
Blanket opposition by Republicans to the Affordable Care Act, King said, “goes against the country.” Rather than bring all of the government’s operations to a standstill over the law, he said, “if we can eliminate some of the parts of it that don’t work or could work better, let’s do it.”
Hopefully, he said, Republicans will come out in a better position to negotiate a longer deal when the government is functioning again and disease monitoring by the CDC, food inspection by the FDA and other necessary programs can resume. He suggested that Obama will be more willing to negotiate with Republicans once the shutdown is over.
“I think the president sees the opportunity,” King told Hunt. “His election is behind him now. He’s going for a legacy.”
King continued, “The strategy of the Tea Party, of the Cruz Republicans, Ted Cruz Republicans, worked so badly.”
In fact, poll numbers continue to decline for Republicans, who, according to an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, are currently running at only a 24 percent national approval rating, the lowest it has ever registered.
“We can’t allow 30 or 40 people to hijack the Republican Party,” said King in the interview. “I think we’ve got to call them on it. We can’t allow a small minority of a party to hijack it and, again, cause catastrophic problems, not just for our party — that’s our problem — but for the country. It’s 800,000 people out of work because of 30 or 40 people.”
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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