There is a new group in town – that's ready to take the country over the cliff.

I am not talking about the Tea Party members of the House — the Michele Bachmanns, Steve Kings and Joe Wilsons, and 50 or so others who are members of the Tea Party Caucus. I am talking about the Senate, the greatest deliberative body.

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Sens. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeLoeffler isolating after possible COVID-19 infection Rick Scott tests positive for coronavirus OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Barrasso to seek top spot on Energy and Natural Resources Committee | Forest Service finalizes rule weakening environmental review of its projects | Biden to enlist Agriculture, Transportation agencies in climate fight MORE (R-Utah), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulLoeffler isolating after possible COVID-19 infection Rick Scott tests positive for coronavirus Overnight Defense: Formal negotiations inch forward on defense bill with Confederate base name language | Senators look to block B UAE arms sales | Trump administration imposes Iran sanctions over human rights abuses MORE (R-Ky.), Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOcasio-Cortez, Cruz trade jabs over COVID-19 relief: People 'going hungry as you tweet from' vacation McSally, staff asked to break up maskless photo op inside Capitol Capitol's COVID-19 spike could be bad Thanksgiving preview MORE (R-Texas) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioRubio signals opposition to Biden Cabinet picks Democrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks GOP senator congratulates Biden, says Trump should accept results MORE (R-Fla.) seem intent on shutting down the government unless ObamaCare is defunded. They also don’t want the nation to pay its bills unless they get radical concessions on spending. In short, they are willing to continue to threaten to push the nation over the fiscal brink.

Obviously, Democrats are rolling their eyes, with a “here we go again” look. They remember the government shutdown of 1995, when then-Speaker Newt Gingrich got his head handed to him. They remember all the cost, political and financial, that occurred when Republicans refused to raise the debt ceiling in 2011. Obstruction and gridlock are not a useful strategy.

Emboldened with Congress’s 15 percent approval rating (pardon the sarcasm), the Republican “Cuckoo Caucus” is intent on standing in the doorway of progress on the economy.

The surprise over these last few days is how strong many Republican members have been in opposing the “Cuckoo Caucus” on both substantive and political grounds.

Sen. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrNorth Carolina's Mark Walker expected to announce Senate bid Lara Trump mulling 2022 Senate run in North Carolina: report Cyber agency urges employees not to lose focus in wake of director's firing MORE (R-N.C.) called Lee’s threat of blocking a continuing resolution that would keep the government open “the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard of.” 

Sen. Tom CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnDemocrats step up hardball tactics in Supreme Court fight COVID response shows a way forward on private gun sale checks Inspector general independence must be a bipartisan priority in 2020 MORE (R-Okla.) called efforts to defund ObamaCare in this manner “dishonest” and ‘hype.” A noted fiscal hawk, Coburn says he would “love to defund it ... but it will not work.”

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said it was “foolish” not to fund the government. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) called it “terror politics.”Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainJuan Williams: Obama's dire warnings about right-wing media Democrats' squabbling vindicates Biden non-campaign McSally, staff asked to break up maskless photo op inside Capitol MORE (R-Ariz.) referred to it as “shenanigans.”

Finally, Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said: “The only way Republicans will lose the House is to shut down the government or default on the debt ... it makes you look politically irresponsible.”

Could it be that we are beginning to see a small ray of sanity coming from Republicans in response to those who seem intent on taking down the economy through government gridlock and shutdown? Could it be that many conservatives are finally standing up to the extreme elements of the party? 

Color me naïve, but my sincere hope is that the “Cuckoo Caucus” will go the way of the dinosaurs and we can return to a Congress with something substantially higher approval rating.