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Schumer: GOP plays ‘politics of idiocy’

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday accused Republicans of practicing "the politics of idiocy" by attempting to defund ObamaCare, a tactic that forced the 16-day government shutdown. 

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“I believe in immigration reform,” Schumer said on CNN’s "The Lead." “What if I persuaded my caucus to say, I'm going to shut the government down, I am going to not pay our bills unless I get my way? It's a politics of idiocy, of confrontation, of paralysis.”

The Senate is expected to a pass a bill on Wednesday that would reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling until Feb. 7. The only concession Republicans got was a procedure to beef up the verification process for those who apply for ObamaCare subsidies through the federal healthcare exchanges.

Democrats have tried to downplay the importance of that concession. Schumer said Democrats didn’t feel they had to give more because Republicans weren’t negotiating in good faith.

“It was a hard line saying, unless I get my way, I'm going to shut the government down, I'm going to risk default for the nation,” he said. “And so finally what happened, Barack Obama and Democrats said, we're not going to give in to this kind of brinksmanship, where basically a gun is put to your head.”

While both sides have seen an erosion in their favorability ratings since the shutdown, Republicans in particular have taken a pounding in the polls. Schumer said the “silver lining” was that going forward “mainstream Republicans realize that the politics of confrontation, of reckless brinkmanship doesn’t work.”

“This should not be a day of exultation and happiness, because look where we ended up: just where we started,” he said.