Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) railed against Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and House Republicans on Thursday for pushing a continuing budget resolution aimed at defunding Obamacare, saying a government shutdown is not an option.
King argued on CNN that if the Republican budget resolution passes the House and fails in the Democrat-controlled Senate, it may actually help ease the partisan divide.
“I would just say if anything good comes from all of this, when Ted Cruz and Rand Paul or Mike Lee fail in the Senate next week, maybe finally we Republicans will have ended their influence,” King said.
“We as House Republicans should stop letting Ted Cruz set our agenda for us,” King continued. “He should stay in the Senate, keep quiet. If he can deliver on this, fine. If he can’t, he should keep quiet from now on and we shouldn’t listen to him.”
King told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that "we cannot let the government shut down," calling the standoff in Congress a "crisis" and criticizing President Barack Obama for refusing to negotiate with House leaders.
"If we make it through this continuing resolution crisis, it'll be because of John Boehner's leadership, and the president has an absolute obligation to sit down with John after this and resolve the debt ceiling issue," King said. "For him to say he won't negotiate is the height of arrogance. If he can sit down with Vladimir Putin, he can sit down with John Boehner."
The Republican senator has warned against using a continuing resolution to defund Obamacare from the beginning, saying in late July that the debt ceiling belongs in a "different category."
"There's no reason to bring down the government," King said. "Let's make this work. Let's get the spending cuts we need. The American people get turned off with the threat of terror politics."
King hasn't always been a staunch opponent to shutting down the government. In 1996, during Bill Clinton's presidency, King supported a government shutdown as a response to the budget battle at the time. That year, Clinton went on to win reelection, a massive triumph for Democrats.
A recent CNN poll suggests that most Americans would blame Republicans for a government shutdown. Perhaps King learned something from the earlier go.