WASHINGTON – In an attempt to convince President Barack Obama to consider spending cuts, House Republicans may shut down the federal government, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers said.
The House Republican Conference chairwoman told Politico a shutdown is possible “to make sure President Obama understands that we’re serious.”
House Republicans have brought Obama to the brink before in calling for firm belt-tightening measures that include cuts to entitlement programs. McMorris Rodgers’ comments indicate a readiness to do so again.
But in a news conference Monday morning, the final of his first term, Obama said a government shutdown would be a “mistake” and “profoundly damaging to our economy,” while acknowledging the GOP has the votes in the House to do so.
“I think it’s short-sighted,” the president said. “But they’re elected representatives, and folks put them into those positions, and they’re going to have to make a decision on that.”
Should Congress take no action on the debt ceiling, the Congressional Budget Office estimates the federal government will exhaust its credit in mid-February or early March. The House could then choose not to authorize additional funding, forcing government activities to grind to a halt.
Though lawmakers threatened shutdown several times in 2011, Congress eventually agreed to a $1 trillion spending deal that kept the federal government’s doors open through all of 2012. The federal government last experienced a shutdown in November 1995 that spilled over into the new year.