Boehner Vows No Government Shutdown

By the end of the month, Congress will have to pass a Continuing Resolution to fund the government through the end of Fiscal Year 2013, given how fiscal negotiations have been going between Republicans and Democrats on the Hill recently, many were anticipating a showdown that might ultimately lead to a government shutdown. Today, however, House Speaker Boehner took the idea of a shutdown off the table:

The sequester is in effect, but House Speaker John Boehner says he won’t force a government shutdown.

Boehner told “Meet the Press” the House will vote this week to keep the federal government operating through September, when the fiscal year ends, and avoid a potentially politically damaging shutdown.

The move would be the second time since the election that Boehner has avoided a fight some House conservatives wanted in order to keep the GOP from possible blame. He led House Republicans to raise the debt ceiling in January to fend off a repeat of the 2011 conflict that led to the sequester.

It also avoids a repeat of the 1995 government shutdown engineered by then-Speaker Newt Gingrich, which was widely seen as a disaster for House Republicans.

“The president this morning agreed that we should not have any talk of a government shutdown,” Boehner in an interview aired Sunday. “So I’m hopeful that the House and Senate will be able to work through this.”

This isn’t entirely surprising. Both sides did everything they could to avoid a shutdown in September by passing a Continuing Resolution shortly before adjourning for the pre-election break, and they did the same thing at this time last year when an CR had to be renewed. For all of the talk about strong negotiating position, Boehner is smart enough to know that a full-blown shutdown would likely cause blowback for the GOP, especially since he’s lived through this before. The interesting question is whether either side will attempt to use the negotiations over a Continuing Resolution to try to undo the sequester.

Boehner’s announcement does bring one thing to mind. It’s long past time that we stopped governing by Continuing Resolution. The Senate last passed a budget four years ago, and it’s been longer since Congress has actually passed a budget plus the Appropriations Bills for all Cabinet Departments by the time the Fiscal Year expired on September 30th. The budget process has been set in law since 1921, but for decades now Congress has essentially ignored that law and used CR’s to fund the government.  This isn’t the fault of any one particular party, because it’s happened while both parties have controlled one or both Houses of Congress. There’s something institutionally wrong here that’s been wrong for a long time. It’s not the sexiest issue in the world, but it’s time Congress stopped governing by Continuing Resolution. It ought to stop immediately, starting with the budget that has to be passed for the Fiscal Year starting on October 1st.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Deficit and Debt, Quick Takes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. Moosebreath says:

    “Boehner told “Meet the Press” the House will vote this week to keep the federal government operating through September, when the fiscal year ends, and avoid a potentially politically damaging shutdown.”

    The devil’s in the details here. I suspect a continuing resolution which could get the support of the majority of the Republicans in the House would trim so much of the budget that it would be DOA in the Senate. The only way this can pass through all of Congress is by violating the Hastert Rule again, and passing the House with largely Democratic support.

  2. al-Ameda says:

    It also avoids a repeat of the 1995 government shutdown engineered by then-Speaker Newt Gingrich, which was widely seen as a disaster for House Republicans.

    1995 government shutdown engineered by Republican Speaker
    2011 Debt Ceiling Crisis, forced downgrade of American debt
    2013 vow for no government shutdown, by Republican Speaker

    … such is life under Republican governance

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The budget process has been set in law since 1921, but for decades now Congress has essentially ignored that law and used CR’s to fund the government.

    To be honest, what difference would it make? Whenever they do pass a budget, they just ignore it at the first opportunity.

  4. rudderpedals says:

    What does Cantor say?

  5. legion says:

    @rudderpedals: Exactly. Has Boehner not noticed that he has neither power nor respect anymore?

  6. bill says:

    @al-Ameda: of course there’s a democrat in the white house on both accounts, who did nothing and were held unaccountable for anything. at least clinton got head from an intern, good for him.

  7. Mr. Replica says:

    Aw, how sweet.
    I get you have to keep up the appearance of being the speaker, Mr. Boehner… but how about you get back to us when the real leaders in the HOR chime in on the matter?

    Obviously, Obama agreed with your assessment. And as we all know that means your caucus will want the opposite.

  8. ralphb says:

    Who cares what Boehner says? He doesn’t have the votes to pass anything with his own caucus. That’s probably why governance is such an incredible mess, for the most part. The only way he can pass anything is to break the stupid Hastert rule. Orange Julius should either do his job or, if he can’t, go get a job at McDonalds to closer match his skill set,

  9. An Interested Party says:

    Has Boehner not noticed that he has neither power nor respect anymore?

    When has Boehner ever had respect…

  10. al-Ameda says:

    @bill:

    @al-Ameda: of course there’s a democrat in the white house on both accounts, who did nothing and were held unaccountable for anything. at least clinton got head from an intern, good for him.

    “unaccountable”? Bill Clinton was impeached.

  11. C. Clavin says:

    Wh cares what Boehner says?
    If Boehner had control of his caucus there wouldn’t have been a Sequester.
    There would have been a Grand Bargain long ago.
    But he has no control over anything.
    That’s why on MTP he was practically begging the Senate Dems to pass a Bill to replace the Sequester. Then he can ignore the Hastert rule and it will pass the House with the Dems and the few moderate Republicans left.
    But he cannot do it. Because he cannot handle his caucus.