John Boehner Doesn’t Want A Shutdown Next Week, But The Tea Party Does
The next week promises to be a battle between John Boehner and the Tea Party over whether or not compromise is a good idea.
Setting himself apart from the Tea Party Congressmen and others who are pushing the GOP to stand firm on their budget proposal, Speaker John Boehner signaled again today that he’s interested in getting a deal done before the government would have to shut down next Friday:
Speaker John Boehner on Friday said shutting down the federal government would be more costly than keeping it running and his party is against a shutdown.
On the same day that President Obama warned that a government shutdown could jeopardize the economic recovery, Boehner said a shutdown would trigger immediate financial problems.
“If you shut the government down, it’ll end up costing more than you’ll save because you interrupt contracts – there are a lot of problems with the idea of shutting the government down – it is not the goal,” Boehner said Friday outside his office suite in the Capitol.
Negotiations are ongoing between Democratic and Republican leaders to strike a deal on a spending plan for the remaining six months of fiscal 2011, and Boehner insisted Friday that his side has not agreed to a deal.
Sources close to the talks, however, say both parties are working toward a target of cutting $33 billion in this year’s spending. Both Republicans and Democrats caution that no deal has been reached and a final agreement may hinge on the kinds of cuts in the package.
Even while these negotiations are ongoing, though, Boehner and the House GOP leadership are being pulled in the other direction by Tea Party supporters and some of their fellow Congressman:
A small but vocal group of Tea Party activists gathered outside the Capitol on Thursday to urge House Republican leaders to hold the line and push for deeper spending cuts in the federal budget.
Chanting, “Cut it or shut it” and “We want less,” the activists directed their ire at Senate Democrats, arguing that the cuts they have demanded are not “extreme,” but necessary to right the nation’s fiscal ship.
Numbering no more than a couple hundred people, the rally paled in comparison to the masses of Tea Party activists that have jammed the Capitol grounds and the National Mall in the past. Cold and wet conditions might have dampened the turnout. At its outset, it seemed as if there were nearly as many reporters and camera crews as activists.
Speakers at the rally pushed Republicans to demand at least the $61 billion in cuts the House approved in February, even if meant shutting the government down.
“If it does shut down, just remember: It’s the government’s fault. It’s Congress’s fault,” said Jenny Beth Martin, national coordinator of the Tea Party Patriots, the rally organizer.
A parade of conservative members of Congress addressed the rally, including Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Steve King (R-Iowa) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).
The basic sentiment of the Tea Party crowd seems to be that the GOP should accept nothing less than the $61 billion in spending cuts that were passed as part of H.R. 1, even if that means shutting the government down. As much as I’d like to see $61 billion cut from the current budget, if not more, there’s one huge problem that the Tea Party folks are either forgetting, or simply refusing to recognize. The Republican Party only controls, as Boehner put it today, “one half of one third of the Federal Government.” A legislative strategy that refuses to recognize the fact that the Senate and Presidency are controlled by Democrats is simply unrealistic, and it isn’t really governing at all. If the House GOP can get a $33 billion deal out of the Democrats, they ought to take it, and move on to the next (and bigger) battle over the FY 2012 budget.
If the Tea Party wants the GOP to have more control over the budget process, then they’re going to need to elect some Republican Senators, and even then they’re going to have to recognize that the filibuster means that Senate Democrats will have a substantial voice unless the GOP somehow manages to create a 60 seat majority.Until then, if they’re serious about governing, then they need to realize that politics is the art of the compromise, and that they aren’t going to succeed in getting any of their agenda enacted into law unless they convince people that they’re right. So far, they’re not doing a good job.