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Politics, government and public life for Southern California

California GOP Congressman disagrees with his party strategy on shutdown

Republican Congressman Devin Nunes of the Central Valley has been voting with his party, but he disagrees with the government shutdown strategy.
Republican Congressman Devin Nunes of the Central Valley has been voting with his party, but he disagrees with the government shutdown strategy. nunes.house.gov

Republicans in Congress are moving forward with temporary proposals to fund the government, all of which have been blunted by the Senate.

Not all Republicans are pleased with the strategy. One California GOP member is disgusted with Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and the Tea Party House members he blames for the current impasse.

Make no mistake, Tulare Republican Congressman Devin Nunes voted for every one of the GOP's continuing resolutions that contained provisions to diminish Obamacare — amendments that have been stripped out by the Democrat-majority Senate over and over again. Nunes says the GOP had the moral high ground in delaying the individual mandate, "But we didn't fight on that." Instead, Nunes says the party is sending mixed messages.

He blames fellow GOP House members and Texas Senator Cruz for pushing the party off a cliff. "They're lemmings, they're followers," said Nunes, following a Republican caucus meeting Tuesday afternoon. "They're just waiting for the next guy in front of the mic, the next guy that's on TV, and they're going to run out and follow them."

Nunes isn't pleased with his party's strategy, but having come this far — shutting down the government — he says it has to be played out. But he's not optimistic about the outcome. He says if you're going to take "extreme measures," you'd better have a plan to win. "And I don't know that there's a plan to win."

Nunes isn't the only Republican Congressman to criticize Cruz and the Tea Party influence. But are there enough other Republican members who are like-minded and willing to take on the hyper-conservative wing? "Obviously not," he says.

The outcome could prove disastrous for a party already in trouble in the blue state of California. House Republicans lost four seats in California in the last election. But Bill Whalen, a research fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution and a media consultant for GOP candidates, says the shutdown is a metaphor for "bad Washington," but not that important in the long run for the California GOP.

Whalen says Nunes and other California GOP Congressmen are facing a larger problem: demographics and their party's opposition to immigration reform. "The Latino population continues to grow in California," he says, and they're having more say in the outcome of California elections. He says immigration reform is something Latino voters want. "And if I'm part of the party which is seen as obstructing that reform, I've got problems down the road."

Nunes says despite his misgivings, he will continue to follow Speaker John Boehner and again vote with fellow Republicans on the next series of temporary funding measures, which will certainly be shot down in the Senate. 
 

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