- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 20, 2013

Senate Republicans took to the airwaves Sunday morning to criticize their party for the recent government shutdown.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, criticized fellow GOP lawmakers for shutting down the government in an effort to defund the controversial Affordable Care Act.

Mr. McConnell told CBS’ “Face the Nation” that the GOP should have learned its lesson when House Republicans unsuccessfully shut down the government back in 1995 during the Clinton administration.

“There’s no education in the second kick of a mule,” Mr. McConnell said.

Mr. McConnell also promised to prevent any such disasters from happening again under his watch.

“There will not be another government shutdown,” he said. “You can count on that. It certainly didn’t do the country any good.”

SEE ALSO: Cruz: Hard to win with Senate Republicans ‘firing cannons’ at House

But Mr. McConnell wasn’t the only Republican lamenting his party’s willingness to take such drastic measures to defund the Affordable Care Act.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, agreed.

“The public is ready for the Congress to behave better,” Mr. Graham said on “Face the Nation.” “As a party, we’ve got to do some soul-searching.

“The shutdown should be in our rearview mirror as Republicans,” he added. “Don’t do this again.”

Both Mr. McConnell and Mr. Graham agreed that Obamacare is a “debacle,” but they said there are better ways to defund the bill than shutting down the government.

Sen. Ted Cruz, who has been criticized by both Democrats and Republicans as the architect of the failed shutdown strategy, defended the stand in interviews Sunday.

SEE ALSO: Sen. Marco Rubio defends vote against short-term debt deal

“I would do anything, and I will continue to do anything, I can to stop the train wreck that is Obamacare,” Mr. Cruz, Texas Republican said on ABC’s “This Week.”

On CNN, Mr. Cruz said the shutdown strategy would have worked if GOP senators had stood united with House Republicans.

But Mr. McConnell said the Cruz strategy was flawed.

“Just because we have some tactical differences doesn’t mean we don’t share the same goals,” Mr. McConnell said. “Obamacare is the worst piece of legislation passed in the last half a century.

“I certainly agree with Sen. Cruz that Obamacare is a train wreck,” Sen. McConnell added. “A visit to the website is sort of like a trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles in your state.

“Republicans always thought Obamacare would be a terrible mistake for the country,” he added. “We still think that. We’re going to do everything we can to repeal it, but that requires a Republican president and a Republican Senate.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Mark Warner, Virginia Democrat, said on “Face the Nation” that there is plenty of blame to go around Washington.

“I understand why people are mad as heck at all of us,” he said.

• Tim Devaney can be reached at tdevaney@washingtontimes.com.

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