The Heritage Foundation is at risk of losing its legitimacy in the eyes of the Republican Party by politicizing its role as a long-time and widely-respected Washington-based think tank whose ideas have helped to drive modern conservatism, according to Sen. Orrin Hatch.
"Right now, I think it's in danger of losing its clout and its power around Washington, D.C.," the Utah Republican said Thursday on MSNBC's "The Daily Rundown."
"The right is a multiplicity of various groups, some of which aren't even Republicans but who think they can control the Republican Party, and some of which have been good think tanks in the past but now are losing their reputation for some of this radicalness," he said, referring to the organization's all-out effort to defund or repeal Obamacare and its support of the tea party movement.
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Hatch's remarks came one day after Heritage Action, the foundation's lobbying arm, warned lawmakers not to vote
for the Senate budget compromise to end the government shutdown. They also came just ahead of an op-ed piece posted late Thursday in The Wall Street Journal written by Heritage president and former South Carolina GOP Sen. Jim DeMint, promising to continue the fight against Obamacare.
"There's a real question in the minds of many Republicans now, and I'm not just speaking for myself, for a lot of people that [question is]: is Heritage going to go so political that it really doesn't amount to anything anymore," Hatch said.
Heritage Foundation spokesman Matthew Streit responded to Hatch's comments in a general statement to The Huffington Post
, in which he echoed DeMint's declaration of war against Obamacare.
"Heritage is fully dedicated to policy research of the utmost intellectual integrity.
Everything our analysts warned would happen as a result of Obamacare is happening. Every day brings new reports of Americans losing jobs, losing work hours, losing the coverage they want to keep — all because of this unworkable, unaffordable program that most Americans don’t want," Streit said.
"The Heritage Foundation wants to stop Obamacare from doing even more damage. We continue to seek policy solutions that will benefit all Americans, not political deals that would appease one political party or another."
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