Former Bush official Peter Wehner offers reasons why Republicans should not let the government shut down:
On the matter of a possible government shutdown, this needs to be said: The impasse is the product of a striking failure of governance by President Obama and his party.
Republicans are winning the fiscal debate. A government shutdown could cause a backlash.The reason we’re debating the 2011 budget several months into the fiscal year is because for the first time in almost four decades, Congress failed last year to propose a budget. Despite Democratic control of both houses and the executive branch, Congress failed to meet one of its most basic obligations. That said, those Republicans who are eager for a showdown and a shutdown of the federal government are making a serious strategic mistake.
First, the cuts and concessions Republicans have already secured will return domestic discretionary spending to pre-Obama levels. This is a fairly remarkable achievement, and conservatives would be silly to ignore it.
Second, President Obama, in matching spending cuts that Republicans asked for earlier this year, has positioned himself fairly well in terms of blaming the Republicans for a shutdown, if it happens.
Third, the difference between the two sides is less than $10 billion in a $3.5 trillion budget. This isn’t a difference over which it is worth shutting down the federal government.
Fourth, Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, submitted a budget for fiscal year 2012 earlier this week that saves more than $4 trillion over the next decade. It’s a political and intellectual document of enormous significance, easily the most comprehensive and impressive governing blueprint in generations. The Ryan plan is where Republicans should focus their energy and attention.