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.



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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held 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. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Andyman says:

    As obnoxious as the Tea Party freak show is, I think their representatives sort of have a point: they weren’t elected to compromise. The TP is a resentment and faux-indignation “movement” and a vote for a TP candidate in a GOP primary is basically a temper tantrum about something or other. So you can’t expect TP reps to actually participate in government. It doesn’t serve their constituency and would be, in a palpable sense, dishonest.

  2. hey norm says:

    “…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)…”
    Now there is an all-star whackadoodle line-up.
    Someone ask Bachmann if she’s willing to give up her farm subsidies.

  3. Dustin says:

    Compromise is a sin, a weakness, to this portion of the Republican party. It’s a strategy that is good for their base, and really nobody else. I think they’ll need to realize that base isn’t as big as they think it is.

  4. Rock says:

    Shut that baby down! Lock the doors and send them home! Sounds good. Go for it.

  5. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    John Boehner Doesn’t Want A Shutdown Next Week, But The Tea Party Does

    Yeah, and so does Howard Dean. I guess this means he joined the Tea Party???

  6. Tlaloc says:

    Yeah, and so does Howard Dean. I guess this means he joined the Tea Party???

    I think it means Dean, unlike most teabaggers, has a sense of both history and political maneuvering. In other words when the teabaggers demand suicide Dean’s willing to hand them the rope.

  7. Wayne says:

    As always kick the can down the road. When the debt ceiling needs to be raise once again, once again the can will be kick down the road out of spirit of “compromise”\”keep spending like mad”. 2012 budget will come and once again the can will be kick down the road.

    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

  8. TG Chicago says:

    I enjoyed these Tea Party supporters’ views on the concept of compromise.

    Mr. DON BALLANTYNE: Compromise may fit sometimes, but when you’re talking freedom, it doesn’t fit.

    Ms. DEBORAH MUNOZ: I don’t know what people mean by compromise. Is that a euphemism for caving in and saying, OK, you know, we’ll give you this, we’ll give you that, but you can keep spending? No, it’s like we need to stop this.

    “I don’t know what people mean by compromise” should be the Tea Party’s official motto.

  9. ponce says:

    Poor Boner, I almost feel sorry for him.

    The Tea Part yis like rain on his wedding day.

  10. Wiley Stoner says:

    That headline is just an echo of what Chucky Schumer has to say. I guess he did not notice what the Tea Party did during the last election. For you who forgot, They took the house by historically large numbers. Andyman, SMD. You guys are the freak show. When you are spending more than any, or rather all the previous Presidents in history, there is your freak. If you had balls you would try to steal my money by yourself. Failing that, a girlyboy like you must have someone else do it. It is the Democrats who want to shut down the government. They want to blame the Tea Party for their inability to pass a budget last year. Those elected to congress promised to cut the budget by 100 billion dollars out of 3.6 Trillion. You call that radical. An example using $1000 as the starting amount. Of that $1000, $400 of it is borrowed and 1 cent is want the GOP wants to cut and you call that radical. Wait till 2012 to see what the Tea Party does. If you use the term teabagger, you are one.

  11. wr says:

    TGC — Too many syllables. All you need is “I don’t know what people mean” and that pretty well sums them up…

  12. Tlaloc says:

    If you use the term teabagger, you are one.

    I am “The One?” Does Keanu Reeves know?

  13. sam says:

    When you’ve got the brain trust of Wiley, Rock, and Patrick slavering a shutdown, who are we lesser folk to gainsay them?

  14. Wayne says:

    Yes the word “compromise” has been the buzz word of the pass that really means to give the Democrats almost all they want. Democrats ask for twice the outrages spending that they want then say lets meet halfway which results in outrages spending. Inside politics “compromise” has a very different meaning than what it says in the dictionary.

  15. J Jones says:

    YGBKM folks! nothing is free including the handouts many get, and the someone is we… who are paying more than our fair share of taxes. A10% flat tax for everyone, regardless of what you make or get in handouts America…no exceptions. This would create a large revenue for the Government to course correct our national debt, coupled with the intestibnal fortitude needed by our countries leadership to make cuts in bad spending and handouts. The pig is bleeding (our Federal budget) either stop the bleeding (cut programs and handouts…and make it hurt a bit for everyone) or the pig dies (Americas economy)