It looks increasingly as though the Tea Party wing of the Congressional Republican caucus is winning the battle within the caucus on whether or not to avoid budget compromise with Democrats and shut down the government Friday. Republicans cheered the prospect of a shut down behind closed doors this week and some of them have been openly stumping with shut-down rhetoric in their districts. Should it happen, the reality of severely reduced government operations and spending will arrive with a jolt Saturday morning. The Washington Post offers bloggy details.
Blogger Emi Kolawole attempts to describe what will happen by answering reader questions. At least a couple of his answers are sure to play badly in GOP conservative stalwart Doug Lamborn’s defense-industry-dependent and Tea Party friendly Colorado Springs district, for example :
“A shutdown would also affect pay for members of the military, said senior government officials familiar with the planning. If the current funding expires on Friday, in the middle of the military’s two-week pay period, the Defense Department would distribute paychecks [only] for the first week…”
And this one:
“Veterans of previous shutdowns are reminding [government] contractors that they could be locked out of their offices or forced to cut short any government-funded travel. During a shutdown, experts suggest contracting firms should ask employees to complete overdue training programs, take vacations or temporarily reassign them to other projects. Worst case, some firms may need to furlough employees. Boehner on Friday said any shutdown could interrupt contracts and force the government to pay more in eventual overtime costs.”
Given the nearly apocalyptic deficit and anti-government rhetoric that fueled the Tea Party movement over the last two years, the prospect of a government shut down has been looming for a lot longer than the last month. The “shut ‘er down” rhetoric of today was discernible in the “throw-the-socialists-out” rhetoric of the anti-health care reform battle of 2009 and the election campaigns that ended in November 2010. Republican candidates and officeholders who fueled or at least benefited from that rhetoric can’t now turn their back on the narrow positions that rhetoric carved out for them in office. The shut down is coming. It came with the Tea Party to Capitol Hill in January.