On NBC’s “Meet the Press” this morning, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) — chair of the House Tea Party Caucus and potential 2012 presidential candidate — said that she opposes a government shutdown. Gridlock during upcoming votes on federal budgets and the debt ceiling could lead to a shutdown, and host David Gregory asked Bachmann if she agreed with White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley, who said earlier in the program he was “hopeful” a shutdown could be avoided. “Well, I’m hopeful,” Bachmann said. “I don’t think anyone wants to see the government shutdown.” Watch it:
This stance is consistent with Bachmann’s earlier public record on a government shutdown, which she has warned would be undesirable. “To me a shutdown is an admission of failure that we have not been able to come together and get our work done,” Bachmann told The Hill last month.
However, one obvious fact — that Gregory failed to mention — undercuts Bachmann’s anti-shutdown message. Only days ago, she opposed continued funding of the government because the funding bill did not completely remove federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
On Tuesday, the House passed, without Bachmann’s vote, a continuing resolution that funded the government for 18 more days. The Senate passed the resolution Wednesday morning, and Obama signed it later that afternoon, less than 48 hours before government funding would have expired.
Hours after the vote, Bachmann told anti-abortion activists she opposed the resolution because it supposedly allowed federal funding of abortion by not stripping Planned Parenthood appropriations, and because it didn’t completely defund health care reform. “For me personally, there were a few of us who voted ‘no’ on the continuing resolution… because it did not defund implementing ‘Obamacare’ because, as you know, ‘Obamacare’ will allow for taxpayer-funded abortions for the first time in history of the nation,” she said. “We shouldn’t have one red cent go for Planned Parenthood,” she added. (For the record, health care reform does not fund any abortion services because the Hyde Amendment already prohibits it; the same is true with Planned Parenthood funding).
If the House resolution that Bachmann opposed did fail, it’s virtually certain the government would have shut down. Bachmann may be backing away from direct calls for a government shutdown simply because it would be politically harmful: a poll this week showed a large plurality of Americans would blame Republicans for a shutdown. But her actions — motivated by fealty to far-right activists — speak louder than her words.