by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Nobody really likes government shutdowns, including me. But sometimes you have to make a point. Send a message. Show voters what you really believe. Take a stand.
With John Boehner set to resign at the end of October, many believe the outgoing speaker can team up with House Democrats to avoid a government shutdown on October 1. Ace Washington watcher Dan Clifton of Wall Street firm Strategis reports, “The risk of a government shutdown next week has been eliminated.” And he expects Congress to pass a short-term continuing resolution that will fund government appropriations through December 11.
That would be a clean bill that does not defund Planned Parenthood. More Democrats than Republicans would support it. And Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell stands ready to pass a similar clean resolution.
But will this non-disruptive approach really work? Nancy Pelosi wants to reauthorize the Ex-Im bank. House Republicans do not. So far the House has not come up with a plan to finance the Highway Trust Fund. And then there’s the issue of defunding Planned Parenthood — because of the vile and depraved videos of the removal of fetal body parts — that weighs heavily on the national conscience. Is defunding really dead?
So a shutdown next week is still possible. Most of the Beltway media will blame Republicans. Democrats will blame Republicans. And GOP pundits will blame Republicans. Political death, they will say.
Former National Review reporter Andrew Stiles wrote a most interesting government-shutdown piece almost two years ago when Senator Ted Cruz and other Republicans filibustered to stop full funding of Obamacare. Stiles pointed out that the Cruz shutdown was the 18th shutdown since 1976. And he argued that Democrat Tip O’Neill presided over two-thirds of them.
In the late 1970s shutdowns occurred when the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress and the White House. The disagreement was over abortion policy. That caused three shutdowns.