Conservative Media Push For Government Shutdown While Claiming Any Shutdown Would Be Dems' Fault

››› ››› MIKE BURNS

The conservative media has steadily advocated for Republicans to force a government shutdown, with a recent piece in the Washington Examiner saying that a shutdown "doesn't sound that bad." At the same time, however, conservative media figures are pushing the talking point that a shutdown would be the Democrats' fault.

Right-Wing Media Agitate For Government Shutdown...

Kudlow In Wash. Examiner: A Government Shutdown "Doesn't Sound That Bad To Me." In a March 8 op-ed in The Washington Examiner, columnist Lawrence Kudlow wrote that a government shutdown "doesn't sound that bad to me.":

Surely the Tea Party advocates will push the GOP to stay on message and stay the course. That's what November's elections were all about. And if a satisfactory deal cannot be reached, one that keeps the GOP spending-cut pledge and includes a spending-limit rule with real teeth, then why not shut down the government?

Reading through various reports from the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, you get the sense that no great harm will come from a shutdown.

Social Security checks will be mailed. Other benefit payments will be met. Air-traffic controllers will do their jobs. Border protection and military operations will continue.

Uniformed military personnel will be exempted. The Postal Service will do its business uninterrupted. And incoming revenues can be designated for interest payment on the debt.

Doesn't sound that bad to me. It sure isn't the end of the world.

Back in the early '80s, when I served in the Office of Management and Budget under President Reagan, we went through several brief government shutdowns. Yes, the Washington Monument and a bunch of public parks closed.

So what? Nonessential personnel got a holiday. The rest of us had to work.

But nonessential programs were not funded during the shutdown, and their unused budgets were subsequently rescinded. Savings were significant.


Frankly, a government shutdown in Washington is a minuscule price to be paid for the greater good of financial solvency and economic growth. If the Republicans can't get the right deal for full-fledged spending cuts and a clear budget-limitation rule with severe budget-cutting penalties, they should go ahead and shut down the federal government. [The Washington Examiner, 3/8/11]

Hannity: "Shut The Government Down" "Until We Cut A Trillion Dollars From The Budget." From the March 8 edition of Fox News' Hannity:

HANNITY: You know, here's what I'm thinking. Look, this is a $3.7 trillion dollar budget, 1.6 trillion in deficits. Five trillion nearly in Obama debt. And I don't even think 61 billion, which is -- is enough.

STUART VARNEY: Wait a minute, just the other day, yesterday, we learned that in February alone, the deficit was $223 billion.

HANNITY: The month of February.

VARNEY: Twenty-eight days, we racked up $223 billion worth of debt.

HANNITY: Wait a minute. One other point. In all of 2007, 161 billion for the whole year.

VARNEY: But having racked up that kind of debt in one month, oh no, it is hurtful to cut the cowboy poetry festival of northern Nevada. Can you keep a straight face when you talk about that? Can you?

DANA PERINO: Any GOP cuts are mean spirited. Which -- what's interesting to me is that I remember when President Bush suggested any sort of modifications to the LIHEAP program, which helps low income people with their lighting and heating assistance, especially in the winter. And the media would jump all over President Bush. The double standard is astounding, because in President Obama's own budget, he's the one who suggested the cuts. So, I think the Democrats seem all over the map.

HANNITY: He also was willing to take on entitlements and it didn't go anywhere in Congress. Here, look, if this is what they going to deal with 61 billion, which only touches the surface because their dealing with last year's budget, why don't they just shut the government down, all nonessential services. Pay the military, pay Homeland Security, all necessary personnel, everything else until we cut a trillion dollars from the budget in spending, why not?

VARNEY: The answer is politics. Who gets the blame if you shut the government down?

HANNITY: But we're not talking about all the government. We're talking about all essentials, every person on Social Security gets their check.

VARNEY: But would it be a repeat of 1995 --

HANNITY: I don't think so.

VARNEY: when Newt Gingrich got the blame for shutting down the government.

PERINO: I don't think so.

VARNEY: I agree with you, Sean. I think these are different times. I think government workers are in a completely different position, vis a are the average voter.

PERINO: Well, I think the White House thinks.

VARNEY: In a deficit like this, come on.

PERINO: I do think the White House thinks that they are not sure who would get the blame and they are worried enough that it might be them, which is why they came out last week, and President Obama said, "OK, we'll do a $6 billion cut out of the -- just for this year's spending" -- which is nothing. But that misses the point of the news of the day, which is the Democrats then today, undercut their own president and said, "Actually, we're only going to do 4.7 billion dollars." [Fox News, Hannity, 3/8/11]

Cavuto: "I Don't Think It's The End Of The World" If The Government Shuts Down. From the March 5 edition of Fox News' Cavuto on Business:

CAVUTO: Anyway, some members of congress still playing the fear factor to make sure that a government shutdown does not go down in a couple weeks. But what is everyone so afraid of? To Ben Stein, Charles Payne, Dagen McDowell, along with Charlie Gasparino and Stephane Fitch. Dagen, what is everyone afraid of?

DAGEN MCDOWELL: Well, if you guys knew the Democrats you would think the world is going to come to an end if the government shuts down. Nancy Pelosi is saying our economic security is at stake. Barney Frank going as far as to say if our government shuts down, what are we going to tell Al Qaeda? The President of the United States has the discretion to keep the Defense Department up and running, Homeland Security, other vital functions of government. We're talking about taxes don't get collected, national parks don't open, passports don't get processed, and it just raises the question --

CAVUTO: But taxes do get collected. The money is still coming out of our paychecks. But it is much ado about -- I don't want to minimize it, because we're going to be in Washington if it does shut down. But, come on, Charles.

CHARLES PAYNE: You know, the idea is that we have to make -- we keep hearing politicians use the word sacrifice all the time, but what are we going to sacrifice? We can't sacrifice anything in this country. Nothing. We can't close a national park. Listen, I think the only way that this government is going to get any sort of discipline, fiscal discipline, if it's heaped upon them with this kind of stuff.

CAVUTO: You know what's interesting -- you mentioned the whole disruption with passports, that sort of thing. I guess the Al Qaeda reference would be wise there, Mr. Gasparino, because you couldn't get a passport if you were Al Qaeda in this environment. Hence their concern, but --

CHARLIE GASPARINO: I legitimately worry about the children.

CAVUTO: Stop it. Stop it, this is a professional show.

GASPARINO: What will we tell our --

CAVUTO: This isn't like coming on Imus.

GASPARINO: what are we going to tell our children, Neil? Can you answer that question?

CAVUTO: No, I don't. Just know we had a temporary letdown in the show here. But, Ben Stein, the bottom line is I think we're going to be looking at this one way or another in a couple weeks. I know they talk about doing this every two weeks -- a temporary measure to keep the government going. But I think we will see a shutdown. I don't know how long it will be, but I don't think it's the end of the world. It's inadvisable, but I don't think it's the end of the world. What do you think? [Fox News, Cavuto on Business, 3/5/11]

Varney And Crowley Insist American People Would Love A Government Shut Down. From the February 17 edition of Fox Business Networks' Varney & Co.:

VARNEY: I'm sorry, I've got one more point and I must raise it. The conventional wisdom is that if you shut the government down like Newt Gingrich did back in the 90s, you lose politically. I'm saying that's nonsense. I think you could shut the government down right now and voters would love you.

MONICA CROWLEY: I think the American people would like to see the government shut down at least temporarily. And you know my evidence for this? November's election. November's election came around, voters gave Republicans control of the House, bigger numbers in the U.S. Senate. Why? They want gridlock, they want our politicians to stop "helping us." Stop doing things, stop spending. [Fox Business, Varney & Co., 2/17/11]

Limbaugh: "All I Wanted Was A Government Shutdown" For Christmas. From the December 17 edition of Rush Limbaugh's radio show:

LIMBAUGH: Ah, darn it. Does this mean there's not gonna be a government shutdown? That's the only thing I really wanted for Christmas. I got everything else. My Christmas is giving stuff. All I wanted was a government shutdown. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 12/17/10]

Carlson: "The Public Needs To Be Let In On A Little Secret: We Can Survive" A Government Shutdown. On the March 2 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Gretchen Carlson noted some services that would be affected by a government shutdown and stated: "They've done a study to show that the public needs to be let in on a little secret: We can survive when the government shuts down for a short period of time." She continued: "And that, I think, would raise a lot of questions about whether or not there's bloating in the federal government." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/2/11]

Doocy: Shutdown Could Make Americans Realize "They Don't Really Need That Gigantic Mechanism." Later on the March 2 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy said to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) that "some Democrats worry that if there was a shutdown that barely affected the everyday lives of a lot of people, that would reinforce your argument on the conservative side that a lot of government is wasteful, and they don't really need that gigantic a mechanism." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/2/11]

Washington Times: Government Shutdown "Wouldn't Be A Bad Thing." In a February 25 editorial, The Washington Times stated that "a shutdown of the non-essential functions of the federal government ... wouldn't be a bad thing." The Times further wrote that "[s]pending our way out of a recession has been a failure, and the public is ready for change - even if that means living for a few weeks without government functions that, by definition, we can live without." [The Washington Times, 2/25/11]

Limbaugh Calls For A Government Shutdown Over Spending Bill. On the December 15, 2010, edition of his radio show, Rush Limbaugh said:

LIMBAUGH: Ten percent of the spending bill is earmarks. You just -- as I've said -- you just don't write a 2,000 page bill in a week's time. This has been long in development. Talk about strategic thinking. Now if -- here's the -- here's the key, folks. If the Senate does not adopt it by Saturday night -- this is why the getaway day was Friday. [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid [D-NV] dumps this yesterday. If the Senate doesn't adopt this by Saturday night, the government supposedly shuts down due to lack of funding. So people have been asking me in email, how can we stop it? How can we stop it? We call their bluff. We shut it down. We won the election. We shut it down.

Folks, I don't care. But Rush, but Rush, with the media the Democrats won't get blamed for it. I don't care. We won't be held accountable until November of 2012. Don't -- folks, remember what I just said. They know that they're not going to be held accountable for anything until November 2012, and we won't be either. Well, if there is a shutdown, it's going to be short-lived, and the government will get running again. What would you rather do, accept all this? It's blackmail. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 12/15/10]

Fox's MacCallum and Bolling Agree That A Government Shutdown Wouldn't Be "The End Of The World." On the December 16, 2010, edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom, host Martha MacCallum suggested it wouldn't be "the end of the world" if "the government stops operating for a little while." Fox Business anchor Eric Bolling added that Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) had said, "So what if it shuts down for a little while? Let it -- let it wait till January 4 and find out if we really need botanical researcher -- ethnobotanicals." From America's Newsroom:

MACCALLUM: And most of these boil down to favors from --


MACCALLUM: -- special interests and people who end up -- guess what -- making campaign donations down the line


MACCALLUM: So that everybody's trying to keep somebody happy out there. You know, so what if the government stops operating for a little while.


MACCALLUM: Is that the end of the world?

BOLLING: Bingo. Right idea. In fact, I have Michelle Bachmann on the show tonight, and I think she's in favor of saying, you know what? I'm not gonna sign this stuff. Look -- I spoke to her earlier in the week and she said this is terrible. This is God awful. So what if it shuts down for a little while? Let it -- let it wait till January 4 and find out if we really need botanical researcher -- ethnobotanicals. [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 12/16/10]

Gingrich Defends Government Shutdown In Advising GOP To Absolutely Stop Passage Of Spending Bill. Fox News contributor and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich defended a government shutdown on the December 16, 2010, edition of Fox News' Happening Now:

JENNA SCOTT (host): So, Speaker Gingrich, you were willing to shut down the government back in 1995. Considering the scenario we're in right now, would you be willing to do it here?

GINGRICH: Well, let's start with the premise you can't have the president or the liberal Democrats blackmailing the Republicans. It's fairly easy to write a clean continuing resolution to keep the government open till the end of February. Every Republican, I think, would be willing to vote for a clean resolution, but I think Republicans should absolutely stop an abomination that has 8,000 earmarks. The whole election centered around politicians with pork taking your money to decide what to do with your money. And the fact is the liberals lost that. In the House they lost it by the largest margin since 1948. So there's no reason for a lame duck congress. 12 of the senators have either retired or been defeated, yet they're still voting. In the House the Democrats have lost control, yet Nancy Pelosi is still in charge.


SCOTT: But let's talk a little bit about the risk that goes along with a temporary shutdown of the government. Taking a look back and seeing what happened in 1995, would you say it was worth it? It was worth the risk not only --

GINGRICH: Absolutely.

SCOTT: -- to the country? Absolutely? And why is that?

GINGRICH: Absolutely. For two reasons. First of all, as Republicans, no majority in the House had been reelected since 1928. When we stood firm against liberals, and we said we were prepared to really fight, all of our base said, you know, these folks are different. They're not normal politicians. They just don't go to Washington to sell out. And we became the first reelected Republican majority since 1928. I've always been puzzled why the Washington establishment, which is liberal, has always said it was a mistake.

But there's a second reason. The shutdown convinced President Clinton that we were serious about balancing the budget. As a result, we controlled spending at 2.9 percent a year -- the lowest rate since Calvin Coolidge in the 1920s. We got to a balanced budget by cutting taxes to increase economic growth. And the result was we balanced the budget for four straight years and paid off [break in audio] five billion dollars in debt. Now, they had -- they had to believe that the Republicans were genuinely serious in order for them to have that kind of negotiation when you had a liberal Democrat in the White House.

The result was a bipartisan effort that reformed welfare, cut taxes and balanced the budget with a full employment economy. That ought to be the goals that we set for the next Congress, and have the courage to stand toe to toe and say to the president, you're not going to be able to intimidate us and blackmail on basic principle. We're going to do what's right and rely on the American people to see what's happening. [Fox News, Happening Now, 12/16/10]

Limbaugh: "The Tax Deal Doesn't Pass" Or "We Shut It Down. Whichever." On the December 16, 2010, edition of his radio show, Limbaugh stated:

LIMBAUGH: If I'm a Republican leader in the House, and I hear the president say his presidency will fall on this tax bill not passing, then I make sure it doesn't pass. I make -- because he knows he's gonna get the blame for it. If the tax rates go up we can put it all on him. He's as much as saying we can. So let it fail. We can fix this in the first two weeks of next year. It's simple. The president says his presidency rises and falls on this, fine. This time it falls. The tax deal doesn't pass and -- or we shut it down. Whichever. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 12/16/10]

Asman: "We Have To Shrink The Government, And If That Means Shutting Down The Government Then So Be It." On the December 16, 2010, edition of Fox Business' America's Nightly Scoreboard, host David Asman railed against a proposed omnibus spending bill, claiming that it "shows a complete disregard for any kind of fiscal responsibility." He then added: "We have to shrink the government, and if that means shutting down the government then so be it." From America's Nightly Scoreboard:

ASMAN: Would shutting the place down really be such a bad idea? Well, they certainly need some kind of wake-up call for all the craziness going on there, because the Beltway bandits are rolling us once again. Nancy Pelosi and her outgoing Congress are sticking it to every single taxpayer out there in this final spending bill. The omnibus spending bill being read right now in the Senate, or just about to be, shows a complete disregard for any kind of fiscal responsibility. That and the pork-filled tax bill are insults to every American who's been cutting back to get by in these tough times. And every American who cares about our future. Now, today happens to be the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. It is a perfect time to focus back on principles. Founding principles. The principles that led to the last election. Principles that led to our revolution to begin with. We have to shrink the government, and if that means shutting down the government then so be it. They can't continue to slap us in the face and get away with it. [Fox Business, America's Nightly Scoreboard, 12/16/10]

O'Reilly On Possible Government Shutdown: "Good. These Pinheads Need Some Time Off." On the December 16, 2010, edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly stated:

O'REILLY: If the feds don't pass a new spending bill, the government might shut down in a few days, and I say good. These pinheads need some time off. The Wall Street Journal says this is the worst Congress in modern history, and the folks seem to agree. New Gallup poll says 13 percent of Americans believe the current Congress is doing a good job, 13 percent. And now our pal Harry Reid, along with Appropriations Chairman Senator Daniel Inouye [D-HI], have dumped a trillion dollar plus spending bill on the Senate floor a few days before Christmas. Of course, the bill is loaded with pork. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 12/16/10]

Erickson: "I'm Almost Giddy Thinking About A Government Shutdown Next Year. I Cannot Wait!" Via Twitter, Erick Erickson proclaimed:


[Twitter, 8/30/10]

Morris: "There's Going To Be A Government Shutdown Just Like In '95 And '96, But We're Going To Win It This Time." On August 27, 2010, Fox News correspondent Dick Morris gave a speech at the Americans for Prosperity Foundation's Defending the Dream Conference, saying: "There's going to be a government shutdown just like in '95 and '96, but we're going to win it this time." From Morris' speech:

So, it's going to be same time next year, guys and women. Same time next year. We're going to be back here and we're going to be pressuring the people who we helped elect to oppose big spending and we will be telling them you do not tread on us. Now, there's going to be a government shutdown just like in '95 and '96, but we're going to win it this time, and I'll be fighting on your side. Thank you. [C-SPAN, 8/27/10, via Media Matters]

...But Simultaneously Say Any Shutdown Would Be Democrats' Fault

Varney: Democrats Are "Going To Shut The Government Down By Not Accepting Legitimate Republican Demands For Cutting Spending." From the February 21 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:

VARNEY (guest-host): Here now is Democratic strategist Christopher Hahn. Chris, I honestly don't get this. The Republicans were elected, everybody knew they were going to cut spending. They've come up with a modest $61 billion worth of spending cuts. The Senate Democrats don't accept that. They're the ones surely who are going to shut the government down by not accepting legitimate Republican demands for cutting spending.

CHRIS HAHN: Well, you know Stuart, just because I've put you in a stove pipe hat doesn't mean people are going to believe you're Abraham Lincoln. Just because the Republicans are saying that the Democrats are shutting down the government doesn't mean the American people are not going to blame them. We all know who shut down the government the last time. We all know that the posturing the Republicans are doing now.

VARNEY: No, no, no, this is not about 1995, Chris. Come on, come on. Wait a minute. Look. The Republicans were elected in November. They took the House of Representatives and they said we're going to cut government spending. That's exactly what they've done. $61 billion.

HAHN: Right.

Now the Democrats in the Senate said, "No, we can't accept this, we're not going to have it. We're going to veto this." The President says he will veto it if it gets to his desk. That is the Democrats stopping it. That's the Democrats shutting down government.


VARNEY: Let me contest this. Let's suppose --

HAHN: Go ahead.

VARNEY: that the Republicans are blamed for shutting down the government. Let's suppose they do. You think that it's going to be just like 1995. Newt Gingrich will get the blame, people will hate the Republicans, they'll lose politically. I suggest that that's a false political calculation. This time around we've got a whopping great deficit that is a major concern to the electorate --

HAHN: They don't even go after it.

VARNEY: Republicans are trying to cut it, and if you shut the government down --

HAHN: They're not.

VARNEY: they will not pay price. They may well get the credit. I think you've got a wrong and false political calculation. [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 2/21/11]

Hannity Suggests Democrats Are Going To Shut Down Government By Not "Go[ing] Along With $100 Billion" In Spending Cuts. From the February 25 edition of Fox News' Hannity:

REINCE PRIEBUS (RNC chairman): So, to your question, certainly, I think the Republicans have followed through. I think we need to govern as we campaign. We need to do that, and I think Speaker Boehner and Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan are doing just that. I think 100 billion on the CR over seven months is exactly what we promised. We are following through on defunding Obama-care. We're following through, and directly to your question now, I think that Speaker Boehner and Paul Ryan have made it very clear that everything is on the table. And I think, they made it very clear that they intend to offer a budget that tackles the issues that the American people are ready to debate. And all of these things have to be on the table. Because look, we've come a long way since the Boston Tea Party. Forty cents on every dollar made to run the government. That is not the America we want to pass on, Sean.

HANNITY: Right. But we see the way the Democrats are going politically, is they're trying to claim that well, Republicans want to shutdown the government. Shouldn't you reverse that in terms of your argument to the American people? Wait a minute, at this time where we have record budget deficits and record debt, why won't you Democrats go along with $100 billion and then you get your continuing resolution as we begin the process of reining in some spending here. It seems that this debate is going in one direction, and that is Republicans want to shutdown government. And that monstrous being repeated in the media quite a bit.

PRIEBUS: And the Democrats keep repeating that. No Republicans are talking about wanting to shut down the government. But the Republicans are talking about having to get serious about spending cuts, having to cut spending in the CR, having to get serious on the permanent budget. We've got a president that introduced $1.65 trillion budget deficit and $1.6 trillion upper. I think what is happening here though, Sean. And I think, you know, the cheese heads again, pardon me, are leading the way again in Wisconsin. They are showing this country, through what is happening with these government employee unions, that if we don't get serious about our budgets and if we are not willing to fight for America, whether be in Wisconsin, Indiana or New Jersey, we are going to lose this country. [Fox News, Hannity, 2/25/11, via Nexis]

Human Events' Miller: "Government Shutdown Is In Democrats' Hands." In a February 23 Human Events post titled, "Government Shutdown is in Democrats' Hands," Emily Miller wrote:

President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D.-Nev.) are spinning and dodging to avoid being blamed for a government shutdown in the battle over spending cuts with the House Republicans.

The House GOP passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) on Saturday that funds the government for the remaining seven months of this fiscal year at $60 billion less than current levels. The Democrat-controlled Senate needs to pass a CR and have it signed by Obama by March 4 in order to avoid a full government shutdown.

However, Reid will not allow the House CR to come to a vote in the Senate because he sees the House Republicans' record-level government spending cuts as "draconian." The House and Senate Democrats want a 30-day CR to buy them time to negotiate a deal with fewer spending cuts.


Because the Senate is in recess this week, Reid only has four days next week to pass some kind to CR to avert shutting down the government.


Also, a government shutdown could occur if Obama refuses to sign a CR passed by Congress.


Despite the fact that the Democrats have the full responsibility now to keep the government funded, both Obama and Reid claim that they do not want a government shutdown.

"We do not want a shutdown of the government," said the White House spokesman.

"We do not want a shutdown of the government and [hope] that we can come to an agreement that avoids that," Reid said.


The budget ball is now in the court of the Democratic Senate and White House. They have three options in the next week: pass and sign the House CR that cuts spending by $60 billion, pass a short-term CR that cuts spending, or shut down the federal government. [Human Events, 2/23/11]

Morris Advises Republicans To Propose "Shutting Down Three Unnecessary Programs" And "If The Democrats Still Cling To Those Programs They Want To Shut Down The Government." From the March 7 edition of Fox News' Hannity:

HANNITY: Now, here's the difference, Republicans want $60 billion in cuts which by the way is 1.6 percent of overall spending, 4.7 percent of discretionary spending. Now, on top of it, there's a $3.7 trillion budget, this is really just a drop in the bucket. You know, after the Obama administration increased nondiscretionary spending, they literally talking about they raised to 25 percent, if you add the stimulus, they raised at 85 percent. You are talking about a miniscule amount. And all Democrats could offer this weekend at a maximum, is that all they think they can find is $10 billion. So, isn't this the showdown for 2012, it's those that want big government, those that want to balance the budget, it's going to be a head to head battle?

MORRIS: It is. And the Republicans have to either shutdown or shut up. Because at some point, the Democrats are going to stop agreeing to cuts and then the Republicans will still have a long way to go toward their 61 billion of prorated deductions. And in "Revolt," I have a very specific proposal and I hope that people understand that we didn't get to discuss this last week. In the negotiations, the Republicans are saying I'm going to cut all kinds of programs, hundreds and hundreds of cuts. And the result is, you really can't describe what they are because they are so many of them. What I propose is if the shutdown comes, the Republicans say, there are three specific programs we're going to eliminate, and that's where all of our cuts will come from.

One, a moratorium on highway construction, new highway construction. Not repair and maintenance but new construction. That saves 30 billion. Two, we can stop the Obama program where he pays the debt service on state and local construction bonds. That's 11 billion. And three, we're going to stop his infrastructure building program, that's five, which is pork barrel, that's five billion. And then, you throw in eliminating the subsidy to PBS, the endowment for the humanities and cutting Congress back to its '08 levels in spending and you are there. And I believe that way the Republicans go to the country and say we're not shutting down the government. We are shutting down three unnecessary programs, zero funding them. And if the Democrats still cling to those programs that they want to shutdown the government.

HANNITY: Let them do it.

MORRIS: Well, then the onus is on them.

HANNITY: I think that's a good idea. Then they can't be the political backslash. [Fox News, Hannity, 3/7/11, via Nexis]

RedState: Reid "May Cause A Government Shutdown" By "Employing A Procedural Strategy To Deal With" House's Continuing Resolution. From a March 5 post by RedState contributor Brian Darling titled, "Reid's Obstructionism May Cause Government Shutdown":

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) may cause a government shutdown.

Senator Reid is employing a procedural strategy to deal with the House-passed long-term Continuing Resolution (CR), H.R. 1, that may make it more likely that the federal government will shut down when the government runs out of money on March 18. Remember this when we get closer to March 18 and both parties blame each other for failing to pass an appropriations bill to fund the government through September 30 of this year (the end of Fiscal Year 2011).

The House passed a long-term CR on February 19 by a 235-189 vote. The long-term CR funds the federal government for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2011 and contains $61 billion in cuts from FY 2010 levels of spending.


Reid's plan is to force two controlled political votes on the long-term CR. The Senate is expected to have one vote on the Democrat plan followed by one on the Republican plan. It seems that Reid has no intention of allowing a free-flowing debate and amendments in the Senate. According to Bloomberg:

The Senate's top Democrat said he wants votes next week on House Republicans' $61 billion budget-cutting plan and a Democratic alternative as lawmakers battle over spending levels for the rest of this fiscal year. Both proposals are likely to fail, signaling to lawmakers--including House Republican freshmen who are demanding big cuts in spending--that neither plan can get through the Senate.

Senator Reid knows his controlled strategy will not produce an agreement on the long-term CR. He is merely playing a political game to garner a better negotiating position approaching March 18.


The bottom line is that Reid's actions may cause a government shutdown. Speaker John Boehner allowed the House to work its will, and the House produced a bill after days of negotiations, amendments and votes. As retired Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA) said so well in his retirement speech, Senator Reid's use of the "filling the tree" to block votes is "tyrannical." Reid promised not to do it, yet he seems to be prepared to employ that tyrannical strategy to block passage of the long-term CR. [RedState, 3/5/11]

Fox Hosts Rep. Roskam (R-IL) To Claim Democrats "Are Actively Engineering A Government Shutdown" "If They Walk Away From" Continuing Resolution. From the March 2 edition of Fox News' Happening Now:

JENNA LEE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Well, a short-term continuing resolution bill expected to pass in the House for us today. That's expected. This temporary agreement extends government funding for the next two weeks so Congress can work on compromising on a yearlong funding bill that they've been working on and we've been talking certainly a lot about.

Our next guest says if Senate Democrats walk away from this offer they're actively engineering a government shutdown.

Joining me now is a member of the Republican leadership, Congressman Peter Roskam. So Congressman, why do you say that?

REP. PETER ROSKAM, R-ILLINOIS, CHIEF DEPUTY WHIP: Well, I think it's true. I think the House Republicans had acted forthrightly and clearly following up on what the American public said last November. And that was that we needed to save in order to create jobs in this country.

And there was a continuing resolution that was passed that cut $61 billion off of last year's number and now we're poised to act this afternoon, do the same thing on a short term basis, and now the Senate has two opportunities to deal with that.

So far, they've given it lip service but my suggestion is if they walk away from both of those resolutions and say neither one of them is good enough then I believe they are actively engineering a government shutdown and the public doesn't want that.

The public wants to see the government operate but it also wants to see Congress save money.

LEE: Why not stand by the $61 billion initial plan, the one that would keep the government up and running for a year? Why even offer this temporary fix?

ROSKAM: Well, I think what we've said is if -- if the Senate says they need more time and they've got to go through a deliberation process, that's fine, then we'll move forward but we're going to stick to the same number that is a $4 billion number over a two-week period.

I think what the public is saying, look, get the trajectory in the right direction. We can't -- we can't accept a freeze. That is what President Obama talked about in his State of the Union message. We certainly can't go on the basis of putting more money out there.

Congress has to say, then our argument and our suggestion is move it in a - - in a very clear way so that the Senate has an option to move it and to move it quickly. [Fox News, Happening Now, 3/2/11, via Nexis]

Hannity: "We're Facing Another Government Shutdown," Which "I Think The Democrats Wanted." On the February 28 edition of his Fox News show, Hannity stated:

HANNITY: The Democrats never passed a budget last year, even though they had control of both houses and they had the democrat in the White House. So, when we are talking about the debt ceiling, that's for this current fiscal year to run the government through October at some point, so this is all going to be a two week extension, and then we're back to square one. We're facing another government shutdown, I think the Democrats wanted. Now, after that, in April, you are going to propose your first budget, since you have been in Congress, correct? [Fox News, Hannity, 2/28/11, via Nexis]

Fox Hosts RNC Chairman To Claim Democrats Are "Doing All The Talk About Government Shutdowns." From the February 25 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:

GRETCHEN CARLSON (co-host): All right, so we're seeing this in Wisconsin and Indiana, and it's moving from state to state. It's going to be Ohio next.

But let's talk about the country as a whole because we don't have a budget yet for this year that we're currently living. And it looks now like the Senate Democrats are going to blink first and pursue their own cuts as that government shutdown looms next week. What do you think about that? Are they blinking first?

PRIEBUS: Well, I certainly think that they're doing all the talk about government shutdowns and the Republicans are governing as they campaigned. We're the ones that said that we would cut $100 billion off the CR which we've delivered on. We'll see what the senators do.

I know that the Republicans are not talking about a public shutdown but we are talking about getting real about crushing deficits and out of control spending. And I think the American people are going to demand it, that we get serious about this issue and put everything on the table.

KILMEADE: Well, we'll find out. As you know, it's in a couple of days. Will there be an extension, will there be a showdown. Will the Senate step up? [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 2/25/11, via Nexis]

Kilmeade: "It Seems Democrats Are Saying, 'I Dare You To Shut Down Government, Republicans.'" From the February 21 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:

BRIAN KILMEADE (co-host): Our Washington correspondents are here to debate what happened at 4:30 in the morning on Saturday in the aftermath.

Democratic strategist pollster Mark Mellman here and the director of government relations for the Heritage Foundation, Brian Darling.

All right. Brian, let's start with you. Did Republicans go too far making $61 billion worth of cuts, make it untenable and unpassable?

BRIAN DARLING, GOVT. RELATIONS DIR., HERITAGE FOUNDATION: No, they didn't go far enough in my opinion. On the table were $100 billion in cuts. The Republicans Study Committee offered an amendment to add over $30 billion in cuts which was rejected on the House floor.

So this is a reasonable position for the House to take. The Senate has chosen to go on vacation this week. So they're going to come in the session next week with just a few days to get their business done.

KILMEADE: It seems Democrats are saying I dare you to shut down government, Republicans.

MARK MELLMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST AND POLLSTER: Well, the truth is Republicans have been saying they want to shut down the government as their strategy. The issue here is what's being cut. Republicans are saying we want to cut 60,000 teachers, increase class size. Americans don't want to do that.

Republicans are saying they want to take 3,000 Border Patrol agents off the border, people that protect our country from the ravages of violence that's going on elsewhere in the world. Again, Americans don't want to do that.

They're talking about cutting cancer research. Americans don't want to do that. Cuts are important. We need to cut this budget. Republicans are cutting the wrong things. And that's what this debate is fundamentally about. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 2/21/11, via Nexis]

Fox Hosts Sen. Kyl (R-AZ) To Claim Democrats Are "The Ones That Risk Government Shutdown." From the February 18 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:

MACCALLUM: You know, what's going to happen? Are we going to see a government shutdown?

KYL: No.

MACCALLUM: There's only a few days to work this out.

KYL: The only people talking about government shutdown are the two Democratic leaders, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Republicans aren't talking about it. There's not going to be a shutdown.

You can't shut down the government over this funding for the remaining six months of the fiscal year here. Republicans are finally doing what the voters asked, and that is reduce wasteful Washington spending, and Democrats just can't stand the thought of spending less taxpayer dollars. And so they make all kinds of stories about shutting the government down.

That's not going to happen.


MACCALLUM: Somebody is going to have to give in order for them to pass something in the House and then send something over to you folks in the Senate.

You know what kind -- what would you like to sign? Are you good with a $60 billion cut? There was talk of a $100 billion cut from Republicans, now it looks like they're willing to negotiate around $60 billion for this current bill.

KYL: Sure. It's $100 billion on an annualized basis and that translates to about $60 billion over the last 6 1/2 months of the fiscal year.

Democrats never got around to passing a budget or appropriating money for the government last year, they're the ones that risk government shutdown. What we're trying to do now is at least pay for the second half of the year.

And yes, when it comes to the Senate, Democrats have the majority in the Senate. They're not likely to accept that level of reductions, so we will have to have some debate and amendments over here and eventually have some kind of a compromise.

That's the way our government is supposed to work. [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 2/18/11, via Nexis]

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