McConnell Bashes Obamacare Shutdown Tactics
On Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) slammed Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-TX) strategy for defunding Obamacare that led to the government shutdown, saying it was a "tactical" error and "not a smart play."
McConnell made his comments to Politico. He emphasized that Cruz's defunding strategy "had no chance of success," even though Cruz stipulated that Republicans had to first get on board in order to pressure Democrats from red states to defund Obamacare. Senate Republicans and some House Republicans spent months slamming Cruz, as well as Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), the architect of the defunding strategy, and conservatives who supported them.
“Given the card I was dealt at that point, what I had hoped to have achieved was to punt the ball to a better place on the field without raising taxes or busting the [spending] caps,” McConnell said about the deal he cut with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to temporarily re-open the government and raise the debt ceiling.
"We got off track with a tactical error earlier starting in July and August that diverted our attention away from what was achievable,” McConnell said of the push to defund Obamacare. “And so we’ll be back at it in January and February, which is why the best you can say is, ‘It’s a punt.’”
Democrats like Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) praised McConnell for cutting a deal with Reid to open the government until January 15 and for saying that Republicans "got off track with a tactical error" on defunding Obamacare.
Durbin said McConnell had "been a very positive force in these negotiations."