Today, President Obama will meet with congressional leaders from both parties in an attempt to hammer out a budget deal and prevent the government from shutting down at the end of this week. After initially refusing to commit to attend, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) will show up fashionably late to the White House meeting.
Republican leaders have repeatedly said they don’t want the government to close its doors. “Our goal is to avoid a shutdown,” a spokesman for Boehner said this week. Rep. Hal Rodgers (R-KY) — a powerful House budget negotiator who will attend the meeting — told ABC News yesterday that Republicans in Congress are “serious about trying to prevent a government shutdown.”
Behind closed doors, however, it doesn’t appear they are all that serious:
House Republicans huddled late Monday and, according to a GOP aide, gave the speaker an ovation when he informed them that he was advising the House Administration Committee to begin preparing for a possible shutdown. That process includes alerting lawmakers and senior staff about which employees would not report to work if no agreement is reached.
Republicans have been rallying their Tea Party base with calls for a shutdown for weeks, despite public pronouncements to the contrary. For example, influential Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) has repeatedly said that “nobody wants a government shutdown” — but then spoke at a Tea Party rally last week and cried out: “Shut ‘er down!”