GOP must navigate growing divide with tea party

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Updated: Sat, 14 Sep 2013 04:15:54 EST

FLETCHER, N.C. (AP) — Tea party activists helped fuel Republicans' gains in the 2010 elections. But now they're criticizing Republican leaders seemingly at every turn. That puts GOP leaders on Capitol Hill in a tight spot, particularly on how to handle upcoming budget negotiations. Conservative activists demand that Republicans use the votes to deny money for implementing President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, which became law three years ago. And some Republicans worry that the tea party strategy could lead to a government shutdown if Congress can't agree on spending bills. The GOP recalls partial shutdowns in 1995-96, when voters largely sided with Democratic President Bill Clinton over Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich. But Tea Party Express leader Amy Kremer and her colleagues say Republicans must use all the leverage at their disposal.

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