Earlier this month, right-wing congressman Steve King (R-IA) publicly demanded a “blood oath” from House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) to repeal the Affordable Care Act if the GOP takes back the House, even if it means shutting down the government. In the event a government shutdown were to occur, King said he wants to ensure “there wouldn’t be a repeat of 1995 where the House caved.”
Such radical measures were also espoused by Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA), who told a group of supporters this month that shutting down the government is worth the “pain,” even if it means cutting off veterans’ disabilities payments. “If government shuts down, we want you with us,” Westmoreland said at the Faith and Freedom Coalition convention.
While the right-wing fringe has been at the forefront of advocating a government shutdown, the party leadership seems to be going along for the ride. RNC Chairman Michael Steele, who is on a nationwide bus tour (riding aboard the RNC’s “Fire Nancy Pelosi!” express), tacitly endorsed a shutdown during an interview with the Nebraska Watchdog blog:
NEBRASKA WATCHDOG: What about the possibility of a government shutdown if Republicans get control of Congress?
STEELE: Well, anything can happen. Again, I don’t know what the dynamics are at that point. We’ll see who the leadership is, how big the margins are, what the numbers in the new Congress look like.
Newt Gingrich, the architect of the last shutdown of the government, has laid out a strategy for the GOP to make it happen once again, beginning with a promise not to fund anything. When asked by ThinkProgress in April about the possibility of a shutdown, Gingrich said that, while he’s “not for shutting the government down,” he is for “drawing a line in the sand.” And if Republicans do force a shutdown, it will be Obama’s fault, Gingrich argued.
Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-KS), who lost a primary battle to become the GOP Senate nominee in Kansas, “said a shutdown wouldn’t necessarily be bad, considering the enthusiasm among Tea Party and Republican activists for limiting the size of government.”