Will Congress Try for Another Government Shutdown?

The end of the year is looming in Washington, D.C., and Congress is dotting its I’s and crossing its T’s on another omnibus budget bill. Now, the inevitable question is looming: will the GOP once more threaten a government shut down as part of their negotiating tactics?

Reading the headlines, it would appear that all parties have agreed to work together to make these last few weeks of the 2015 session a smooth one. “[A]s if on cue — and seemingly out of nowhere — Capitol Hill is snapping into action. Bipartisan compromises are set to hit the floor,” reports Politico. “Hopes are flickering that a bottleneck of stalled nominations will finally open. And crises are likely to be averted, at least if Republican leaders in both chambers have their way. Top lawmakers and aides are bullish about avoiding calamity: A government shutdown looks unlikely, they say, and the debt ceiling is already off the docket thanks to John Boehner.”

That’s good news on the surface, but underneath is the question of whether “pet measures” will be added onto the massive budget omnibus that needs to be signed before Congress can go home for the holidays. Some of those “pets” that the right have been pushing are issues like partially repealing Obamacare and defunding Planned Parenthood. Both had been mentioned as part of the continuing resolution on the omnibus, meaning they would only need straight majority votes to pass, and would force President Obama to uphold his pledge to veto both issues by vetoing the entire package.

Are these issues still on the burner? It depends who you ask. Max Blaume of The Stranger worries it is the annual holiday tradition of gridlock. “What better way to celebrate the holidays than by holding the government hostage, demanding money for your pet programs, and then shutting federal services down if you don’t get your way? It’s a brand new Republican Christmas tradition! What a magical time of year,” he writes. Baume adds, “For reasons that will never be clear to me, the idiots in Congress have been entrusted with $1.1 trillion budget, and of course they’re coming up with all kinds of terrible ideas for spending it. For starters, they want to insert a prohibition on resettling Syrian refugees in the US. Because, yeah, sure, what could be more in keeping with the spirit of the holidays than turning away people in need? Also on the agenda: defunding Planned Parenthood, and tax breaks for NASCAR and Bacardi. No, I am not even joking.”

The Syrian refugee crisis is definitely likely to have some impact on end of year bills, if not the omnibus itself. Republicans also appear willing to use reconciliation to move forward with their agenda of attacking Obamacare and Planned Parenthood, too. “Senate Republicans are planning to forge ahead on a bid to repeal chunks of ObamaCare and partially defund Planned Parenthood by using a rare fast-track tactic, Fox News has learned,” reports Foxnews.com.  “The effort comes despite some internal turmoil in the Republican ranks. Senate Republican leaders huddled with rank-and-file members Monday night to walk them through the planned package. The goal is to use a special process – known as budget ‘reconciliation’ — that would make it easier to pass the measures out of the Senate, following numerous failed attempts. ‘Reconciliation’ would not only limit amendments and debate, but would ensure that only a simple, 51-vote majority is needed for passage.”

Using budget bills as a mechanism for weakening the Affordable Care Act or taking money from Planned Parenthood is on its own already a bold and dangerous move for the GOP, considering the popularity of both issues with the voting public. Now, it seems even more foolhardy in the aftermath of the deadly shooting at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic, which authorities believe may have been partially chosen because of a series of rightwing public relations attacks on the organization.

If the GOP decides to even partially shut down the government in order to strong-arm in favor of destroying two nationally popular programs, there may be fallout come next election day, but it remains to be seen if that threat might be enough to hold the more conservative wing of the Republican party at bay.

Photo credit: Thinkstock.


Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill3 years ago

The only ones who talk about shutting the government down are Democrats, especially Obama.

Thomas M.
Thomas M3 years ago

Absolutely, they haven't slept for months thinking about it. Anything to make the American people miserable is what they really stand for and will act upon. The republican party has adopted a new slogan from Trump about the electorate, "We are nothing but a bunch of losers."

Marie W.
Marie W3 years ago

GOP will.

John chapman
John chapman3 years ago

Why not?

With the party of the Tea Baggers, Bible Thumpers, Bigots, & Gun nuts, in charge of Congress.

When such a large part of your party base, is made up of various crazies.

Expect them to try some crazy things.

Their voters think taking your ball, & going home, is an admirable tactic.

If the Republicans have any sane people left, they need to start a third party, & distance themselves from a party that would take Trump seriously.

Erika Acosta
Erika Acosta3 years ago


Pablo B.
.3 years ago


Birgit W.
Birgit W3 years ago

Noted, thanks.

Janet B.
Janet B3 years ago


Barbara Blank
Barbara B3 years ago

Please folks, remember these politicians and give them a permanent vacation come election time!!