Dems Blast Tea Party 'Anarchists'-- But Admit 'Many of the Public Is Against Obamacare'

By Susan Jones | September 13, 2013 | 6:57am EDT

Senate Democrats Chuck Schumer (NY) and Harry Reid (Nev.) (AP File Photo)

( - Following a meeting Thursday with Republican congressional leaders, four Senate Democrats stepped up to the microphones on Capitol Hill to express their disgust with tea party conservatives who "seem to live in an alternative universe (and) keep demanding the impossible," in the words of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

The Democrats marginalized conservative Republicans, using adjectives such as "rabid," "anarchists," "willful," "extreme," and "guerrilla" to describe tea party attempts to pass a continuing resolution that funds all of government, except for the health care law that passed without a single Republican vote.

Remarkably, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) admitted that "many of the public is against Obamacare," but he added that "just a small few" want to shut down government to stop it.

'Extreme hard-right group'

Sen. Schumer singled out "this extreme hard-right group in the Republican party," which has chosen this moment "to pick their fight on Obamacare. They're perfectly blunt about it," he said. "They think threatening the government -- a government shut-down, holding the full faith and credit of the U.S. hostage, is the place they have the most leverage."

Schumer said it's "fine" if Republicans want to keep debating Obamacare: "But there's a time and a place for everything. It's called the election of 2014. Let them go debate in 2014, as they tried in 2012, whether there should be a Republican Senate, a more Republican Congress so that they can finally repeal Obamacare. But not at the expense of average Americans."

Schumer admitted that "many of the public is against Obamacare, but very few of the public says, hold up everything else until you repeal it -- just a small few."

He described the tea party as "this small few who represent maybe 5 percent of the electorate, but unfortunately, close to a majority in Republican primaries where there's a low turnout."

That means a "small few" can "dictate what's going on, hold the country by the neck and paralyze things."

Schumer said conservatives "know they're not going to win. They know we will not repeal Obamacare. We have the high ground," he said.

"If we say to them, we dare you, shut down the government unless you repeal Obamacare; we dare you, risk the full faith and credit of the United States until we end Obamacare, they will lose. That's the dilemma of Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, and they know that. But they have this rabid group."

"So we're making an appeal today to our Republican friends. The half of the House caucus, the two-thirds of the Senate caucus, Republicans who know this is wrong, stand up and make your voices heard..."

Schumer said he expects "more reasonable voices will prevail" when the funding deadline arrives. "But we're going to have to go through a lot of convolution and speeches and paralysis until that happens."

'Guerrilla attacks'

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called tea party efforts to defund Obamacare "a waste of their time."

"This is not the time for political stunts," Reid said. "If they want to work with us to improve Obamacare, let's do it, but not in these guerrilla attacks."

Reid said when he meets with his constituents from Nevada, "It's hard to tell them what we're doing, because we're doing nothing. As I said on the floor today, the anarchists are winning. Anything that can be done to slow down, hurt or get rid of government any way, that's good. Shutting down the government obviously is what a majority of the Republican caucus wants to do in the House."

Reid said "those in touch with reality...should understand that passing a clean CR  is the right thing to do." (A clean CR is a continuing resolution that funds all government programs and services at current levels, including Obamacare.)

Reid complained that "a small but vocal minority of Republicans here in the Senate, less than half of the Republicans in the Senate, seem to live in an alternative universe, keep demanding the impossible. And of course, as I've just said, a majority of the majority feel that way over there (in the House). If the Republican leaders keep giving in to the tea party and their impossible demands, they must be rooting for a shutdown."

'Democrats are united'

According to Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), "While Republicans are busy fighting amongst themselves again, Democrats are united. We know that the American people are sick and tired of House Republicans pandering to the tea party and pushing us from one artificial crisis to the next."

She said the tea party is just interested in "not governing," while diligent Democrats have been "working for months" to "tackle our fiscal and economic challenges responsibly."

And not only have Republicans refused to work with Democrats, "but now they are pushing us towards a government shutdown in a bizarre attempt to cut off health care for 25 million people, reopen the doughnut hole, make seniors pay more for their prescriptions and preventive care for seniors and so much more that we can talk about.

"Obamacare is the law of the land," Murray said. "I know the tea party is fixated on sabotaging it before it begins to help millions of Americans. But Democrats are going to fight for our constituents, and we are going to make sure Obamacare is implemented, and implemented well."

Murray concluded: "The tea party won't like seeing Democrats and Republicans working together. But I will tell you the vast majority of Americans want us to work together, and they want this government to function once again."

Boehner 'has bowed to this willful minority'

Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) said what's happening in the House -- the refusal to pass the Democrat agenda and fund Obamacare -- is an old story:

"I sometimes sympathize with Speaker Boehner, but the fact of the matter is, if he wants to lead for the good of this nation, he has to step beyond the tea party faction of his caucus. If he would call our farm bill on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, it would pass. I believe if he called our immigration bill on the floor of U.S. House of Representatives, it would pass. If he would call on the floor a basic funding level of the Senate Budget Resolution, it would pass.

"The fact is, he has stopped this, he has bowed to this willful minority in his own caucus at the expense of this government and of this nation. He'll pay a price for it, and the price will come in the election, when the American people finally realize -- and you can see it in the polling numbers -- that Congress may not be the most popular institution in America, but within Congress, the Republican leadership is being identified for our failures here in Washington."

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