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With Obama and the Democratic-led Senate dead set against defunding the controversial health care law to keep the government open, House Republicans likely will have to decide over the weekend whether they will vote for a temporary funding measure without strings attached.
Both Kline and Paulsen backed spending and debt-limit measures in 2011 that averted showdowns and financial crises. Like other Republicans in Congress, Kline has said he has no interest in shutting down the government, pointing to last week’s House vote that fully funded the government while defunding Obamacare.
But Democrats argue that tying the 2010 health care law to a broader funding agreement essentially holds government operations hostage. They also have sought to highlight Kline’s recent comments suggesting that the budget standoff might be a good time to reform entitlements, such as raising the Social Security retirement age.
But that idea also has been raised in the past by Klobuchar and U.S. Sen. Al Franken, the two most prominent Democrats in Minnesota.
Franken, who faces re-election next year, also has used the current standoff to engage supporters. His campaign sent out an e-mail this week directing people to his website to sign a petition calling a shutdown “a dumb thing to do.”
Franken’s pitch reflects a broader onslaught of fundraising efforts tied to the standoff. The DCCC sent out a fundraising e-mail in Pelosi’s name with an appeal to “fight back against Republican obstruction.” That came as the National Republican Committee sent out a fundraising e-mail asking supporters to “stand” with Cruz in his “fight to defund Obamacare.”
Democrats have all but dared the GOP to raise the stakes on a government shutdown, noting that Republicans paid a heavy price when it happened during the Clinton administration.
“I believe there will be an agreement and I think we can do it without any of these extraneous partisan poison pills,” Klobuchar said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.
Klobuchar also invoked the $1.3 billion in additional borrowing costs wrought from the nation’s downgraded credit rating after the last debt-limit battle in 2011. “This is money taxpayers have to pay,” she said. “This is affecting families and real people. And that’s why I think in the end this gamesmanship has to end.”
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