"Will he act as the captain of the entire House of Representatives or remain a captive of his right wing Republican mates?" asked Democratic Rep. Sander Levin of Michigan. "Will he, as he acts, worry mainly about the risk to his speakership or the risk to our entire nation? House Republicans taking the ship over the cliff would take the nation's economic well-being with it."
Polls showing a decrease in public support for the health care reforms embolden the Republican stance. Meanwhile, Democratic resolve is bolstered by surveys showing most people oppose a government shutdown and more would blame Republicans if it happens.
Voices across the political spectrum warn against a shutdown, including Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Republican strategist Karl Rove.
"Even the defund strategy's authors say they don't want a government shutdown. But their approach means we'll get one," Rove argued in an op-ed published Thursday by the Wall Street Journal.