Harkin: Tea Party 'every bit' as dangerous to nation as the Civil War

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) on Friday said that the Tea Party movement is just as dangerous for America as the Civil War.

“A small group of willful men and women who have a certain ideology about how our country should run and what we should do cannot get their way in a normal discourse and votes,” Harkin said. “Since they can’t get their way, they’re going to create this confusion and discourse and hope the public is so mixed up in who to blame for this that perhaps they’ll blame both sides.” 

“That is the path they see for taking over the government. It’s dangerous, very dangerous. ... Every bit as dangerous as the break up and the Civil War.”

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Harkin made the comments as the Senate prepared to vote on a continuing resolution that would fund the government past Sept 30. Democrats are moving to stip language from the bill that would defund President Obama's healthcare law.  

Harkin said Republicans were throwing a “temper tantrum” and threatening to "take their marbles home" unless they get their way on ObamaCare, risking a government shutdown.

“I suppose if you are of an anarchist mind, which I believe some of them are, then you don’t want government, you want to create chaos,” Harkin said. “But this is not a game and hopefully we’re not children.”

Last week, House Republicans passed H.J.Res. 59, which funds the government through Dec. 15 at sequestration levels but defunds ObamaCare. The Senate is expected to advance that legislation today, but only after adding an amendment that restores ObamaCare funding and moving the funding date to Nov. 15.

Harkin said it was hard enough for some Democrats to “swallow” the sequester spending level, but in the “spirit of compromise” the Senate would meet Republicans partway. The House would then have to accept the Senate changes or risk a government shutdown as time runs out.

The government will shut down Oct. 1 if Congress doesn't approve some a government funding measure.