A shutdown is looming over the federal government if a spending bill is not passed by September 30. At that point, the federal government runs out of money and must halt operations. With midterm elections, a hot-button immigration amnesty issue in the argument, and other contention between Democrats, Republicans, and the White House, a looming shutdown may be more likely than not.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told CNN, however, that despite hopeful predictions from Democrats and some right-wing threats of shutdown, he doesn’t think it’s going to happen. A “shutdown looming” cry, however, is gaining steam thanks to several factors coming into play.
- First, the Congress will have only ten working days to pass a spending by when it reconvenes on September 8.
- Second, more than a few Republicans have said they will likely tie a resolution to that spending bill that blocks Obama’s threat of an amnesty grant to illegal immigrants. This would be similar to what was done last year during the “October Rebellion” that cut some funding to the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”).
- Third, many Americans saw little or no interruption or cause for concern during the 16-day shutdown in 2013. Even many federal employees, who didn’t receive paychecks during the shutdown, ended up with double-pay and back pay when operations resumed, coming out financially ahead; so a looming shutdown would not be nearly as hyped this time around as it was the last.
These points show that a shutdown looming is not as likely to be a problem for the upcoming elections as some politicians might want to believe. The midterm elections coming in November may actually see fuel added to the voting fire when politicians involved claim the inaction of opponents or the holding of ground by themselves as key talking points to solidify their image to voters. With Americans less likely to see a looming shutdown as a negative, McConnell may not be as sure as he pretends to be.
This comes despite polls last year that showed that the government shutdown hurt Republicans in public opinion. A top GOP aid is quoted in The Hill as saying, “We’re not going to shoot ourselves in the foot and jeopardize our chances of winning the Senate and gaining more seats in the House.”
Yet that GOP insider is countered by statements such as that made by Representative Steve King of Iowa, a Republican in the House who says that “If President Obama insists on amnesty and tries to block their provision. Another Republican House member, Matt Salmon of Arizona, agrees with King.”
The division among the GOP seems to be between the House and Senate, as most GOP senators seem to be downplaying the looming shutdown. With King, Rep. Blake Farenthold, Salmon and others all calling for a shutdown to be looming over amnesty provisions, the shutdown threat (such as it is) is more realistic than some may think.