Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is sounding an “early warning” about a government shutdown that she contends Republicans are planning. On the contrary, a government shutdown is what the Democrats hope for, as they face a bleak mid-term election in November.
The Florida Democrat claims that Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, is plotting a shutdown over the budget.
“The health of our economy shouldn’t be needlessly put at risk as a tactic to score political points,” she wrote for the Huffington Post. “Here in Florida, Rubio’s last shutdown meant that Head Start programs across the state were suspended; thousands of the Kennedy Space Center’s employees were furloughed; half of the National Guard’s federal employees were furloughed which risked hampering efforts to prepare for natural disasters during hurricane season and so much more.”
She’s right, to the extent that the last government shutdown was a PR disaster for the Republicans because of those furloughs (though nothing really terrible happened).
But there’s no plot, and the GOP has (hopefully) learned its lesson.
But the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has already created a website to confront the nonexistent shutdown. It’s called “Shut Down Broken Promises,” and it’s ready to spring into action.
The problem is, there’s no shutdown, and there’s not going to be. It’s a Democratic ploy to excite that party’s base.
“Democrats have been floating an electoral dream scenario over the last week: House conservatives will revolt against their leaders and force a government shutdown a mere month before a pivotal midterm election,” writes Daniel Newhauser in National Journal. “Seizing on comments from Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Steve King, Democrats have been advancing the possibility that Republicans will push the economy to the brink. … The move would be electoral suicide for Republicans, which is precisely why the notion is so appealing for Democrats — and precisely why it is so unlikely to happen.”
Still, Rep. Wasserman Schultz’s warning deserves some examination.
First, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is actively tamping down rumors.
“Remember me? I am the guy that gets us out of shutdowns,” McConnell said to CNN last week. Shutdowns, he said, are a “failed policy.”
Speaker of the House John Boehner is also on record as opposing any kind of shutdown. A few House and Senate members, though, have indicated they’re not willing to take a shutdown “off the table,” in the words of King. They have said that if President Obama takes executive action on immigration, they might try to hold up the faux-budget “Continuing Resolution” (CR) bill over the issue.
“But even if members do revolt against leaders, GOP aides believe there would be a solid 170 or more House Republicans who would vote along with Democrats to pass a clean CR,” Newhauser notes. “Of course, the chain of events leading to a shutdown only proceeds if Obama does move administratively on immigration. New reports say Obama may not even issue an executive order until after the election, which would render the issue entirely moot.”
A government shutdown isn’t on the horizon; it’s only in the dreams of congressional Democrats.