News / USA

US Republicans Voice Little Appetite for New Shutdown Fight

FILE - A view of the U.S. Capitol building is shown at dusk in Washington, October 2013.
FILE - A view of the U.S. Capitol building is shown at dusk in Washington, October 2013.
Reuters
— U.S. Republican conservatives who took a hard line in the fight over October's government shutdown are voicing little appetite for another standoff over an approaching Jan. 15 funding deadline for federal agencies.
 
Two things are different this time around, say conservatives in the House of Representatives.
 
The 16-day October shutdown was waged over Republican demands to stop the launch of Obamacare health insurance exchanges. Republicans are now gleefully watching the healthcare law's struggles and many believe it will collapse without much further prodding.
 
They are also expressing confidence they will not have to face a difficult choice from current budget talks, and believe that lead Republican negotiator Paul Ryan will not cut a deal that raises tax revenue. They are prepared to leave “sequester” automatic spending cuts in place if the budget panel fails.
 
“Frankly, no one wants to see a second shutdown and I think there's no reason we ought to have one,” said Representative Luke Messer of Indiana, who pressed hard to defund and delay Obamacare in the run-up to the October shutdown.
 
“The shutdown is just a blip on the radar now. No one is talking about that anymore. What they're talking about is the major failures of the Affordable Care Act,” Messer added.
 
Representative Todd Rokita, another Indiana Republican, said he did not see House conservatives threatening another shutdown in January because they made their point last time.
 
“What we were able to show to our supporters during the last round was that we were willing to fight,” Rokita said. “Obamacare has now begun to be implemented, so it's falling under its own weight.”
 
Representative Tim Huelskamp of Kansas, one of the most conservative House members, said that after voting to defund and delay Obamacare, he was “happy to let the president stew in his own soup” as the healthcare law struggles.
 
Faith in Ryan
 
Finding agreement to fund the government before the Jan. 15 deadline is largely in the hands of a 29-member budget negotiating committee.
 
The panel, commissioned under the deal to end the October shutdown and extend federal borrowing authority, aims to ease automatic spending cuts that will take a $91 billion bite out of funding next year for government agencies and discretionary programs and $18 billion from federal benefits programs.
 
Negotiators have made little progress in two public meetings, as Democrats demand more tax revenue and Republicans demand cuts to benefits programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. The real talks are happening behind closed doors between Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, and top Democratic negotiator Patty Murray, who chairs the Senate Budget Committee.
 
Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee urged Ryan and Murray on Monday to craft a two-year budget deal that would allow Congress to pass normal spending bills and avoid the threat of another shutdown.
 
Ryan said last week the two sides were “trying to find common ground, but we're not there yet.”
 
But the Wisconsin Republican, the party's 2012 vice presidential candidate, has refused to consider raising tax revenues to offset the sequester cuts. House Republican conservatives say they believe Ryan will not give in on taxes.
 
“I think that conservatives and basically the conference as a whole has given a lot of leeway to Paul to sit down and work with Patty to find solutions,” said Representative Sean Duffy, another Wisconsin Republican. “Paul knows where the lines are, where he can push it and where he can't.”
 
If Democrats are unwilling to offer cuts to benefits programs that make up some two-thirds of federal spending, Republicans are vowing to keep the sequester cuts in place.
 
They believe they have a stronger position, because the cuts are enshrined in law, just as the launch of Obamacare health insurance was for Oct. 1, which gave Democrats an advantage during the shutdown fight.
 
February debt ceiling deadline
 
Even if the two sides can find a way forward on the Jan. 15 funding deadline, another debt ceiling deadline looms on Feb. 7, although a default threat would not likely occur until March or April because of the U.S. Treasury's cash-management measures.
 
Some conservatives are already eyeing potential demands for that deadline. Although there is little consensus so far, some said they should focus on shrinking deficits and reforming benefits programs.
 
Republicans were not able to effectively use the debt limit to make demands in October because the shutdown stretched into that deadline, conflating the two issues. Without a shutdown threat clouding the issue, demands to rein in spending on benefits may be more effective, Rokita said.
 
“There will be some clarity in message that we're able to have this conversation with the American people about living within our means again,” he added.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid