Earlier this week, an “exasperated” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) told Fox News that it’s Democrats — not Republicans — who are bringing up the specter of a government shutdown. An “exasperated” Cantor said that, “Every time we talk about a spending cut, (Sen.) Chuck Schumer, (Senate Majority Whip) Dick Durbin and (Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid yell ‘shutdown. We ought to get that off the table.”
Apparently, the GOP Caucus didn’t get the message.
Already, eight Republicans have publicly called for a government shutdown if their various demands aren’t met. The list includes both GOP veterans — Reps. Ron Paul (R-TX), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), and Steve King (R-IA) — as well as Tea Party-oriented freshmen — Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Reps. Alan Nunnelee (R-MS), Tim Walberg (R-MI), Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA), and Steve Womack (R-AR). In addition, as ThinkProgress reported yesterday, House Republican Policy Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-GA) declared that a government shutdown “ought to be on the table.”
Now, another congressman can be added to the Shutdown Caucus: Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL). ThinkProgress spoke with Walsh at last weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference. He told us that if health care reform is not undone, Republicans “will do what we have to do, to shut down the government if we have to.” Walsh argued that, although GOP infighting over a shutdown still exists, we’re “going to see the Republican Party moving in that direction” of shutting down the government:
KEYES: In terms of potentially defunding [health care reform] though, a lot of appropriators – Steve King – have said we’re going to try putting cuts in every single appropriations bill. If that doesn’t work, if it gets gummed up in the Senate, if the president continues to veto it, there’s talk about trying to just say, “all right. We’re going to stand true on this. We’re going to stand tall and be willing to shut down the government if you keep trying to fund this.”
WALSH: This is an unusual freshman class. Many of them feel like I do. We will do what we have to do, to shut down the government if we have to, to choke Obamacare if we have to. Look, we all came here for real serious reasons. We didn’t come here to get along. I think you’re going to see the Republican Party moving in that direction.