Now that the sequestration threat has become reality, yet another crisis faces Congress and President Barack Obama — a government shutdown.
If a measure to fund the federal government isn’t passed by March 27, a shutdown is likely. The most memorable government shutdown occurred in 1995 and 1996, when President Bill Clinton and Congress clashed over funding for Medicare, public health, education, and the environment.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Oh., has said he is hoping to avoid a repeat of that shutdown. In an appearance on NBC’s Meet The Press yesterday, he had the following to say:
“The president this morning agreed that we should not have any talk of a government shutdown. So I’m hopeful that the House and Senate will be able to work through this.”
Boehner also announced Friday that the House was taking up a bill that would fund the government through the end of this fiscal year — Sept. 30. While the details of the bill have yet to be released, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., predicted it would pass through the Senate. “I believe we’re going to be able to work out passing the continuing resolution later in March on a bipartisan basis through both the House and the Senate,” he said on CNN’sState of the Union.
In response, the White House announced that it was looking for a continuing resolution to fund the government that didn’t come with items unrelated to the March 27 deadline. They also got in a dig on Congress for allowing the sequester to come to fruition.
We’ll see if this crisis can be avoided where sequestration was not, but given the end result of the 1996 government shutdown — Clinton won re-election and Republicans lost eight seats in the House in part because of the public blaming the GOP for it — it appears Republicans are more likely to want to avoid history repeating itself.
– Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPolitics Editor
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
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