WASHINGTON -- Rep. Devin Nunes, a conservative Republican from California's Central Valley, on Monday accused freshman GOP Sen. Ted Cruz of misleading House Republicans that they could dismantle the Democratic health care-reform law known as Obamacare by forcing a government shutdown.
Nunes, said the strategy pursued by Cruz, a Texas freshman, and to a lesser extent Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, is "based on a false premise" because Republicans can't get two-thirds votes in the House and the Senate to override President Barack Obama's veto when he rejects any bill that ends his signature law.
Obama and the Democratic-majority Senate have refused to entertain any legislation passed by the GOP-majority House that would overhaul, change, delay or end the health care law. The partial shutdown is nearly a week old with no deal to end it in sight.
Nunes said Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has run into a wall of opposition from Cruz's House allies to any deal to reopen the government.
"It's really difficult at this time until the Cruz people decide and admit to our base that their whole premise of getting rid of Obamacare by shutting down our government was a lie," Nunes said. "This is his strategy that he's laid out, spent money on and he's got a lot of members of the Congress to go along with."
Cruz's denied responsibility for the House votes. "Members cast votes independently of any other lawmaker's policy priorities," said Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier in an e-mail. "Sen. Cruz has said from the very beginning that only the American people can win this battle. It depends on them making their voices heard and demanding of their elected officials to do the right thing and commit to defunding Obamacare."