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Washington Beat: Republicans Take Lessons From Debt Ceiling Battle

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Now that the government shutdown and a potential default have been pushed back, Republicans are taking stock of what they learned from the battle. Washington bureau reporter Geoff Bennett filed the following report for NY1.

On Thursday, even after the crisis had come to an end, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was still sticking it to Republicans for shutting down the government and bringing the country to the brink of default.

"And why? Because of anti-government ideologues in the Republican caucus where it's the tail is wagging the dog," Pelosi said. "And everybody described it as 'Oh, it's just a few. It's 30-some.' But 62 percent of their caucus voted to keep government shut down."

Congressional Republicans openly admitted defeat in their weeks-long battle with Democrats, and that's led to second-guessing among some House Republicans who led an unsuccessful charge against the president's health care law.

"Regrets? I've had a few," said Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas.

It's also led to squabbling over who should take the blame for the political damage. Many Republicans and Democrats are targeting Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who became the face of the "Defund Obamacare" movement.

"We have the lowest numbers now in the history of the party, and I attribute this almost entirely to Ted Cruz and to the Republicans who allowed him to lead us into this valley," said Rep. Peter King, whose district covers part of Long Island.

"I think the thing that's going to send a message to these Tea Party folks is when they get sent home," said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of Cold Spring, N.Y.

But conservative Republicans say they were right to stick to their principles.

"Listen, there's no shame in fighting the fight when you're representing your people," said Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina.

The bill the president signed into law keeps the government running and extends the debt limit into early next year. Some wondered if the country will find itself back on the brink in just a few months. A reporter asked the president that question Wednesday night, and the president responded, "No."

That's in part because Republicans say they can’t shoulder another political fiasco in an election year.

On Thursday, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly said he won't allow another government shutdown as part of a GOP strategy to repeal the president's health care law as Republican lawmakers look ahead.

"We've got to move on now," said Rep. Roger Williams of Texas. "We've got to get our economy going again. We've got to put people to work and get people off the unemployment rolls."

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