Democrats plan to inflict maximum 'GOP political pain' as shutdown deadline approaches: report
Democrats on Capitol Hill are "girding" for what could be the first government shutdown in a decade with one of their own in the White House as Republicans in the United States House of Representatives quarrel over funding, Politico's Sarah Ferris, Nicholas Wu, and Daniella Diaz report.
The clash over appropriations between conservatives and lawmakers in the House Freedom Caucus still loyal to former President Donald Trump's Make America Great Again credo comes during the final month of the 2023 fiscal year, which ends on September 30th.
"Democrats are already strategizing over how to make Republicans pay for what some have already started calling a 'MAGA shutdown'" if House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-California) fails to whip enough votes to keep Washington open. "Their challenge," the Politico correspondents write, is "maximizing the GOP political pain while avoiding blame themselves" heading into a presidential election year.
Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois) said last Friday that "this is really going to be driven by the House" because "they're the ones that are going to bring [a shutdown] upon the country," Ferris, Wu, and Diaz explain. "
Politico notes that "top House Democrats are still hoping to avoid a shutdown, and the party's rank-and-file stands ready to approve a bipartisan deal — preferably a clean stopgap with some amount of Ukraine and disaster aid attached, likely sent over from the Senate. But the key funding decisions lie with Speaker Kevin McCarthy and his capricious Republican conference, and putting a deal along those lines up for a vote could prove disastrous to McCarthy's standing as leader."
The Democratic strategy, Politico continues, is to "squeeze Republicans from districts won by President Joe Biden and force McCarthy to the negotiating table." But faith in the outcome is cautious, according to Congressman Gerry Connolly of Virginia, who told Politico, "I don't think there's a lot of hope that Kevin McCarthy for once will actually stand up to the far right."
Still, Politico points out that Democrats are wary of Biden striking a deal with Republicans that "could result in further cuts to the spending levels agreed to earlier this year (or worse, a GOP win on border funding). And there are some Democrats — particularly from the DC suburbs — who are generally skittish about any shutdown. But even that Maryland and Virginia bloc, who represent thousands of federal employees who will be affected by even a brief federal funding lapse, aren't in any mood to give anything up on Republicans' funding demands."
Even so, Connolly stated that "the Freedom Caucus has once again approached the funding of government as a hostage-taking opportunity. We're not going to agree to that kind of hostage-taking."
Connolly's colleague, Representative Don Beyer (D-Virginia), maintained that the perception of chaos diminishes the United States' credibility on the international stage.
"We’re supposed to be the leader of the world, the shining city on the hill and all that great stuff," Beyer said. "And what does it tell the world when we can't even keep our own government open?"
Meanwhile, according to House Freedom Caucus member Congressman Bob Good (R-Virginia), "If this Republican majority does its job in passing these [spending] bills, the Senate and White House should not choose to shut down the government. But the House should not fear that and should not preemptively cave to that fear."
View Ferris, Wu's, and Diaz's analysis at this link.
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