As the government shutdown enters its eleventh day and the nation races towards a possible default, a growing number of Republican lawmakers, leaders, and voters are publicly blaming Congressional Republicans for the budget impasse. Though they fault President Obama for failing to negotiate with Congress, as the public mood sours, some within the GOP are hurriedly distancing themselves from the mess in Washington.
“It’s time for someone to act like a grown-up in this process,” former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu (R) told the Associated Press. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) agreed, remarking on Monday that “This is not how we should operate. It shouldn’t be about people fighting and yelling.’ “The bottom line is we need that money in our economy to save rural hospitals and jobs in the rural areas,” Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) told the Arizona Daily Star on Thursday, criticizing the GOP’e effort to defund the Affordable Care Act.
The criticism comes as an Associated Press-GfK poll released Wednesday showed that “three-quarters of Republicans nationally said their party in Congress deserves a moderate degree or most of the blame for the shutdown” and a NBC/Wall Street Journal survey reported that just 24 percent of Americans now have a favorable view of Republicans — the lowest figure in the poll’s history. Seventy percent of Americans say Republicans are putting politics ahead of the national interest and have an increasingly dim view of Tea Party backed Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT), who orchestrated the current impasse.
In yet another sign of trouble for the GOP, business interests are also showing signs of discontent, signaling a possible rift with Republicans ahead of the 2014 mid-term elections.
Iowa Republicans “are recruiting a pro-business Republican to challenge six-term conservative Rep. Steve King (R), a leader in the push to defund the health care law,” the Associated Press reports and party establishment leaders in Michigan are threatening to recruit and fund challengers to Rep. Justin Amash (R) and other Tea Party aligned candidates.
Meanwhile, Republican governors — some of whom questioned the wisdom of shutting down the government over Obamacare in the first place — are scrambling to deal with sudden shortage of federal dollars in their states.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) “has ordered the state pay 244 federally-reimbursed employees who support the National Guard” and has committed to “funding federal programs like SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) and WIC (Women, Infants and Children) through the end of October.” Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) has declared a state of “civil emergency” and warned that “our federally funded state employees may have to be laid off.”
A report released earlier this week found that the shutdown is disproportionately affecting Republican-leaning states like Virginia, Alaska, and Alabama, which have higher concentrations of federal employees and federal contracts.