The Continuing Resolution will run out on April 8. If it is not extended the entire government shuts down. This means more than a bunch of DC bureaucrats being sent home. The troops in Afghanistan, for example, won’t get paid. This is madness, both politically and substantively.
The House has already “won” in extracting billions of cuts from President Obama and Senate Democrats. But as the GOP rolls out a budget to save trillions, is a government shutdown going to help or hurt the cause of fiscal sobriety? I see no way in which this could help.
Last night House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) met with his Republican members. The speaker’s office put this out:
Tonight, Speaker Boehner informed House Republicans that tomorrow, at the Speaker’s direction, House Administration Committee Chairman Dan Lungren will issue guidance to all members on how the House would operate in the event Senate Democrats shut down the government. Because of the Senate’s failure to do its job and pass legislation to cut spending and fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year, Speaker Boehner made clear we have no choice but to prepare the House, and the American people, for a shutdown. The discussion with Democrats will continue, but the House has an obligation to be ready if the White House and Senate Democrats choose to shut down the government.
Speaker Boehner also said House Republicans will post online tonight the text of a bill that will make significant spending cuts and fund the Department of Defense though September while keeping the government running. Other provisions may be included as well. We hope the White House and Senate Democrats will get serious about making real spending cuts on a long-term bill, but this measure provides us with an option if House Republicans choose to use it.
That should serve as a jolt to Senate Democrats and to House Republicans who are obsessing over the appetizer while the main course is getting cold. A one-week CR would prevent a shutdown, allow a deal to be made and make clear that Obama won’t be able to cast Republicans as irresponsible militants. A note: Boehner’s bargaining power was severely undercut when 54 House members voted against the last CR. Boehner may be forced to go begging for Democratic votes from Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.). How embarrassing is that? And more important, House fiscal hawks should understand that a deal that requires Democratic support will be worse than one that Republicans can pass on their own.