Republican congressional leaders are running around to every reporter in sight to claim that they have no plans to shut down the government. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is all
"Remember me? I am the guy that gets us out of shutdowns," and House Speaker John Boehner's people are similarly
"ruling out a repeat" of last year's shutdown. But why ever would we believe them?
Even if you set aside the fact that Boehner and McConnell will say anything to protect their party's election chances, and set aside McConnell having laid out a strategy clearly designed to force a shutdown and blame it on the president, there's a reason these claims don't carry a lot of weight. McConnell "leads" a caucus that includes Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee. Boehner "leads" a caucus that includes Reps. Steve King, Michele Bachmann, and a substantial vandal caucus. Boehner, for instance, faces this:
Ten of the 12 House Republicans who didn’t support John Boehner’s 2013 selection as speaker are cruising to November victories, despite the business community’s attempts to knock some of them off. Representative Ted Yoho’s primary victory in Florida last night completed the sweep, while the remaining two ran for the Senate and lost.
Yoho will be joined, post-election, by almost a dozen new members who have said on the campaign trail they won’t support Boehner or have refused to commit to him.
You think a House leader as weak as John Boehner has proven himself to be can get these people to do much of anything? Even if he really wants to? In fact, some Republicans are already making not-too-veiled shutdown threats
Funding to keep the government open runs out on Sept. 30. And conservative Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) warned this week that “all bets are off” on passing a stopgap funding bill if Obama unilaterally takes action to make it easier for millions of undocumented immigrants to remain in the U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a prospective 2016 presidential hopeful who stood with Cruz, said he also expects Republicans will try to attach a rider to the temporary spending bill to combat Obama’s executive action.
Never mind House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan really laying our fears to rest
by immediately following his denial that there will be a shutdown by saying "If there is a government shutdown, it'll be because the Democrats brought it about." That's convincing!
Boehner and McConnell aren't innocents—they'll take any hostage they think they can get away with taking—but they're also not the last word in Republican shutdown plans. In today's Republican Party, the last word goes to the most extreme of the extremists.