Tea Party goes after Kline, Paulsen for support amid shutdown threat


As the budget battle in Washington continues, Tea Party conservatives want Minnesota Republican Reps. John Kline and Erik Paulsen to join their push to defund President Barack Obama's health care law, leading to a possible government shutdown, the Star Tribune reports.

Lawmakers have until midnight on Monday to pass a temporary spending bill to avoid a shutdown that would keep hundreds of thousands of federal workers off the job, including nearly 20,000 workers in Minnesota.

Obamacare, as it's known, will open enrollment to millions of people across the country starting Oct. 1, so the GOP's tea party wing is pulling out all the stops to try to derail it.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, spent more than 21 hours on the Senate floor Tuesday into Wednesday advocating for the defunding of the health care law.

It doesn't appear likely that Kline and Paulsen will support the tea party's initiative. The Star Tribune says both congressmen backed budget measures that averted showdowns and financial crises in 2011.

Like other Republicans in Congress, Kline has said he has no interest in shutting down the government, the newspaper reports.

Those affiliated with the local tea party movement are disappointed with both Kline's and Paulsen's voting record on cutting spending, balancing the budget and repealing the health care law, Minnesota Public Radio reports.

MPR says a shutdown could hurt Republicans up for election next year.

"This is the most basic example of failing to govern, of failing to keep the government open so that essential services continue to be provided to the taxpayers who are paying for them," Emily Bittner, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee press secretary, said.

MinnPost says the U.S. Senate will likely sign off this weekend on a short-term budget bill that preserves the Affordable Care Act and funds the government through mid-December. From there, it's anyone's guess.

“I think cooler heads will prevail and we will be able to get this done,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar told MinnPost.

Next Up