One of the primary points of contention in the stalemated government funding fight is the GOP’s unwavering insistence on including riders on unrelated social and environmental issues in the legislation, including a ban on federal funding for Planned Parenthood, a prohibition on Washington DC using its own non-federal funds for abortion, and provisions limiting the power of the Environmental Protection Agency. These types of riders are precisely what forced a government shutdown in 1995.
If a shutdown comes to fruition now, ramifications will be felt throughout society. The effects include a 0.2 percent drop in economic growth each week the shutdown continued, furloughing 800,000 workers, and forcing troops to fight without pay. Still, numerous Republicans, such as Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), have argued that a government shutdown wouldn’t “hurt one bit.”
During yesterday’s Tea Party rally at the Capitol, ThinkProgress spoke with one Texas congressman who wants to widen the scope of the shutdown in order to exemplify the conservative argument that society could do without certain federal agencies. Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-TX) argued in favor of shuttering both the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency during a government shutdown because “both of those things could be closed and life would go on”:
KEYES: Given that so many folks have said that “we want less federal government in our lives, we want smaller footprint.” Do you think that we should take this a step further and maybe shut down, for instance, the EPA or the FDA during this impasse as a way to show that life goes on?
MARCHANT: I think that both of those things could be closed and life would go on.
Marchant is not alone in his desire to see the EPA closed. GOPers from presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich to Reps. Joe Walsh (R-IL), Pete Olson (R-TX), and Rich Nugent (R-FL), have all called for abolishing the EPA. It is not yet clear whether the GOP will follow Marchant on the road to The Jungle by shuttering the FDA.