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Biggest challenge to Senate GOP these days is from conservatives

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks at a news conference with conservative Congressional Republicans who persuaded the House leadership to include defunding the Affordable Care Act in legislation to prevent a government shutdown, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013. Credit: AP

It's a time of reckoning for Republicans in the Senate -- Are you with the conservatives in opposition to Obamacare or are you with President Obama and the Democrats in protecting it?

As the Washington Examiner's Conn Carroll notes, the conservative fight against Obamacare is not making any moderate Republicans happy these days:

"If Reid pursues this plan -- if he insists on using a 50-vote threshold to fund Obamacare with a partisan vote of only Democrats -- then I hope that every Senate Republican will stand together and oppose cloture on the bill in order to keep the House bill intact and not let Harry Reid add Obamacare funding back in," Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, told reporters Friday.

This is what has moderate Republican Senators upset. Back on March, every Republican Senator voted with Cruz for an amendment to a Defense Appropriations bill that would have defunded Obamacare just as the House CR does. If every Republican voted with Cruz against cloture on the House CR, then Republicans could block Reid's amendment.

But moderate Republicans do not want to do this. They believe that if they vote to block ending debate on the House CR, then they will be blamed for a government shutdown.

So the question is, which moderate Republicans will cross the aisle and vote with Democrats to allow Reid to proceed to his amendment that adds Obamacare funding back to the CR?

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