The last time the entire government shut down, for five days midway through the Clinton administration, about 800,000 federal employees were . A second shutdown a few weeks later lasted 21 days but affected only part of the government. Workers eventually were reimbursed, but the government has made no guarantee that would happen again.
Now, as then, the shutdown looms because a political standoff has blocked passage of the annual bills that provide money for most government agencies.
The opening round of the fight comes Friday with a vote in the House. The budget year ends Sept. 30.
The snarl this time is worse than in the Clinton era in at least two ways: It involves not just one deadline, but a series of deadlines over the next several weeks,Vince Wilfork Nike Jersey, any one of which could see normal government activities come to a halt. If manages to slip past the end of the budget year, the next crisis will come when lawmakers face a vote in mid-October on raising the limit on the nation’s debt.
Moreover, the fight has morphed from a straightforward battle between and Democrats into a three-way brawl in which the GOP congressional leadership must contend not only with the , but with conservative insurgents in their own ranks.
House Speaker (R-Ohio) presides over an uneasy coalition of Republican regulars and tea-party-backed conservatives. The conservatives, rallying to the demand to “defund ,” have insisted that the GOP refuse to keep the government financed unless the White House and the Democratic majority in the agree to block President ‘s healthcare law. The administration plans to roll out new online health insurance marketplaces a key part of the new law on Oct. 1.
Obama repeatedly has said he will not renegotiate the health law. Last year’s presidential election and the Supreme Court ruling that upheld the Affordable Care Act resolved its fate, he says.
His Democratic allies have stood with him. “I want to be absolutely crystal clear: Any bill that defunds Obamacare is dead dead,” Senate Majority Leader (D-Nev.) said Thursday. “It’s a waste of time.”
Boehner and his leadership team, as well as many Senate Republicans, have wanted to avoid the fight, fearing that if government work stops, angry voters will blame Republicans, as happened in the back-to-back shutdowns in 1995-96.
“Most of the people who are doing this are new and did not have the experience that we had when the American people,, who don’t like government but don’t want it to be shut down, reacted in a very negative fashion,” Sen. (R-Ariz.) said in a CNN interview Thursday.
White House officials appear to share that view, and Obama in recent days has sometimes seemed to be almost goading Republicans into a confrontation. Officials also say the splits within the GOP have complicated the process.
“Right now, there is a ‘conversation’ within the Republican Party, and I use that as a polite word,” ,Nike Baltimore Ravens Jersey, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, said in an interview Thursday.
The conservatives, by contrast, argue that the public dislikes the healthcare law and will blame the president for refusing to sacrifice it. Others believe Obama was weakened by his handling of the chemical weapons crisis in Syria, and will back down in a fight.
“I wasn’t here in 1995. But that was the last century,” Rep. (R-Kan.) said Thursday.
“What’s changed since then,Nike Pittsburgh Steelers Jersey,” he continued, “is we have the most unpopular bill in modern history sitting right before us. An overwhelming majority of Republicans oppose it, and most independents.”
The gap between the Republican factions looms wide, both in Congress and back home. Asked about the healthcare law in a recent Pew Research Center almost two out of three Republicans who identify with the tea party said that they wanted lawmakers to “do what they can to make the law fail.”
Among Republicans who do not identify with the tea party, only one-third took that position, with 44% saying they wanted lawmakers to “do what they can to make the law work as well as possible.” Among the public as a whole, nearly 7 in 10 either supported the law (42%) or disliked it but wanted lawmakers to make it work (27%), the poll showed.