Cruz: No, I Cannot Guarantee Another Shutdown Won’t Happen in January

Posted: Oct 18, 2013 7:30 AM

Too soon? I mean, the government’s only been fully funded and open for business for 30 hours or so.

But apparently that doesn't matter to some Republicans. Indeed, during a recent interview, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) claimed that he’d “do anything” to stop Obamacare from going into effect. Anything?

Here. We. Go:

It’s the question on everyone’s minds: could the country be pushed to the brink of another shutdown when government funding runs out in January?

Sen. Ted Cruz, the Texas Republican who pushed the strategy to tie government funding to defunding President Obama’s health care law, wouldn’t rule out revisiting it in the coming months.

“I would do anything, and I will continue to do anything I can, to stop the train wreck that is Obamacare,” Cruz said when asked by ABC News’ Jon Karl whether he would rule out another shutdown. “The test that matters Jon, is are we doing anything for all the people that are getting hurt from Obamacare?”

A bipartisan agreement signed by Obama last night would only re-open the government until Jan. 15, opening the door to a replay of the 16-day government shutdown that brought federal services and Congress largely to a standstill.

Even the chief architect of the “defund” strategy conceded that it was never going to happen. That inspires tons of confidence in those looking to push the same failed tactics again in two months’ time. Question: What exactly would another government shutdown achieve? As far as I can tell, the only way to rid ourselves of Obamacare is to win elections. We tried “defunding” it -- that failed, naturally -- and fully repealing it was never a viable option given political realities. (Why on earth would the president repeal a law he himself spent years trying to pass?) Most Americans, meanwhile, recognize that the Republican brand was greatly tarnished over the last few weeks. Some would argue needlessly. Do we really want to go down that road again?

Surely Ted Cruz’s has the best interests of the American people at heart. And in fairness to him, he never explicitly said he would shut down the government (or even attempt to) next January. But he never did rule it out either. So while the Senate Minority Leader and other members of the ‘surrender caucus’ assure us this will never happen, we can’t be sure. But my hunch is that kicking off an election year with a government shutdown is probably the wrong approach. Why? Because we all know who’ll get blamed for it: Republicans.

UPDATE: Upon reading the comments section I should have added that the best approach to repealing Obamacare is highlighting its many failures. To his credit, Cruz has been very successful on this front. But it’s nonetheless true that another government shutdown would almost certainly hinder this important effort. I say: Let the law run its course. Exposing Obamacare for what it is will surely bring us one step closer to repealing it.

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