It's time to unite before it's too late

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On Wall Street, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced that processing and approving applications will be discontinued during the shutdown. This has already caused considerable disruption among companies raising capital here in New York.

Our federal government has become a joke! Here in the greatest democracy in the world, Republicans and Democrats can’t work together to agree on a deal that would end the shutdown. It’s despicable.

One politician isn’t laughing, and that’s Long Island’s own Congressman Peter King. He has been outspoken in his opposition to the tactics of ultra-conservative GOP Sen. Ted Cruz, who has become the champion of this government stalemate. Cruz launched the opposition to the Affordable Care Act with a 21-hour filibuster on the Senate floor.

“You have 40 Ted Cruz Republicans in the House running national policy,” King said, adding that the Republican Party has been taken over by the “Ted Cruz element.” These 30 to 40 ultra-conservative members of Congress have virtually held House Speaker John Boehner and the rest of the more moderate Republican caucus captive, causing the shutdown.

King has labeled the Cruz Republicans “yahoos,” and said he believes the American public should know that they are the ones running the show in Washington.

I give King kudos for telling it like it is. Since the rise of the Tea Party in 2010, there has been a political diaspora among Republicans, with many moderates becoming ultra-conservative. If I were still in the Senate, the “Cruz Republicans” would probably label me a liberal.

It is extremely disheartening that King is the only Republican willing to stand up to those on the hard right who have put their political agenda and their obsessive hatred of President Obama and his health care program above what’s good for this country. I urge more of the moderates in the Republican Party to follow King into action and call out the Cruz Republicans, before the damage is irreparable.

Al D’Amato, a former U.S. senator from New York, is the founder of Park Strategies LLC, a public policy and business development firm. Comments about this column?

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