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The president and his political allies have decided that there will be a government shutdown on or about October 1 unless they are allowed to increase government spending. They will also force a shutdown if Republicans attempt to protect Americans from the coming Obamacare disaster. Either way, they and their media allies will attempt convince the public that it's all Republicans' fault.
It worked last time. Many Republican leaders are convinced in their rubbery bones that the 1995 government shutdown was some kind of political 9/11, crushing the conservative movement for decades.
The history is not so clear. After the episode, President Clinton moved to the right, not the left, and Republicans ran the moderate Bob Dole. Even without the coattails of a strong conservative at the top of the ticket, the makeup of the House and Senate didn't change much. It's hard to argue the episode had any effect at all politically.
Since the liberal Senate continues to ignore the need for a balanced budget, Congress has not passed a budget since 2009. As a result, Congress passes every year a Continuing Resolution (CR) to continue funding the federal government at the prior year's spending level -- plus a regular increase.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) promised to do “everything within my ability” to stop a CR that doesn't increase spending. From The Hill:
Moreover, The Washington Post reported Friday that senior White House officials were weighing a strategy by which President Obama would threaten a veto of any bill that did not roll back the sequester. Administration officials have also signaled that the president would definitively veto any legislation that provided deeper cuts than those already in place with the sequester.
Speaking on the Senate floor, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell explained,
Last year, the slightest hint of fiddling with spending caps led to a furious response from senior Washington Democrats. It even led to a veto threat from the White House. But now, Washington Democrats are tired of bipartisanship. The commitments they made have become an inconvenience to their special-interest agenda. So now, they’re threatening to shut down the government if they’re not allowed to break their word.
The President and his allies will vote down or veto any demand Republicans make in the CR fight. Democrats want a government shutdown, because they think they can put the blame on Republicans. Unless Republicans are willing to stand firm, they will always be at a disadvantange.