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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs