Is A Government Shutdown Inevitable?

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JONATHAN CHAIT FEBRUARY 15, 2011

Is A Government Shutdown Inevitable?

Tea Party Republicans sound awfully eager:

Linda Bilmes, a professor at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, led a budget seminar for nearly 40 House freshmen before the start of the new Congress. 

She believes freshman conservatives are itching to make a dramatic statement by shutting down the government. 

“It was clear there was a group of new members who in my mind were more concerned with making statements than working with their own leadership to solve the nation’s problems,” said Bilmes. “Nothing I’ve seen in the last week changes my mind.

“There are certainly some elements within the Tea Party group that are looking to make a dramatic statement.”  The House is moving forward with its 2011 spending plan this week, though GOP congressional leaders are considering postponing a showdown with Democrats for at least several weeks, according to aides.

There are two options for the House: either strike a deal with Obama, or shut down the government. And I don't see how the House leadership could strike a deal with Obama without first proving it's gone to the mat, which means shutting down the government. the fact that numerous conservative members actually want to see a shutdown makes it even more likely.

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posted in: jonathan chait, obama, congress, harvard, john f. kennedy school of government, republican party, linda bilmes

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