Congress is locked in an emotional stalemate over a Continuing Resolution that would fund the government past March 4. Rabble-rousing Republican members of the House are attempting to advance the Tea Party agenda with a continuing resolution with draconian cuts, especially in areas that have long been anathema to conservatives. Over $60 million in cuts are in the Republican continuing resolution proposal, including steep reductions to the National Endowment for the Arts, the SEC and FCC budgets, women’s health block grants, and reductions in federal education spending. Senate Democrats have already said they are “deeply disappointed” with the proposal and will reject it, as will the White House.
If an agreement is not reached, the government will effectively shut down on March 5, something that an aide to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called “likely” today. This showdown threatens not only many valuable areas of federal spending, but possibly the entire operation of the federal government.
But Rep. Steve King (R-IA) not only welcomes this process as a “big political vehicle” — he wants more “opportunities” like this. In an interview with CNS News, King suggested the possibility of a “series” of short-term Continuing Resolutions, even if they only last a matter of days, and that repeated showdowns would be useful for Republicans looking to make even more dramatic cuts, in particular, the total elimination of health care reform funding:
KING: But if we have to do a short-term CR because this one doesn’t pass, the one we are on now. We could end up doing a series of short-term CRs. This could be a big political vehicle out here, this CR we are debating right now. We could be doing a series of short-term ones, two weeks long, 30 days long. Each one of those would be potential opportunities . So I will be trying to work on every single one of them. [...]
CNS: So, in other words, congressman, if this CR passes the House tonight or tomorrow, even without your prohibition on funding for Obamacare, the Senate might reject this language, and the president might reject it, so the issue comes back to the House and you might end up with a shorter term funding bill that gives you additional chances this year–is that what you are saying–to defund Obamacare.
KING: Yes. Yes, absolutely.
King also mentioned votes to raise the federal debt ceiling and setting a budget for the next fiscal year as opportunities to slash funding for health care reform, making it clear that many Republicans are more interested in hostage-taking and slashing government than in actually governing.