Without passage of a spending bill by Sept. 30, the federal government will run out of money and grind to a halt, but leading Republicans, facing the November midterm elections, say they will block any attempt by the party's conservative wing to force a self-defeating amnesty confrontation with the White House.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told CNN
that despite Democrats' hopeful predictions and right-wing threats that another shutdown is looming, it's not going to happen.
Asked whether he would favor a government shutdown, McConnell told CNN, "Of course not. I'm the guy that’s gotten us out of shutdowns that some of our members have pushed us into in the past. That's a failed policy."
Congress will have only 10 working days after their return on Sept. 8 to pass a spending bill to avoid a shutdown. Several Republicans have broadly hinted that they plan to tie a resolution to block Obama's threat of unilateral action to grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants to any attempt to pass a spending bill, similar to last year's October rebellion, which linked the spending bill to cutting funding on Obamacare. That maneuver led to a 16-day shutdown.
Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, warned "all bets are off" in an interview with the Des Moines Register,
adding, "If the president wields his pen and commits that unconstitutional act to legalize millions, I think that becomes something that is nearly political nuclear. I think the public would be mobilized and galvanized, and that changes the dynamic of any continuing resolution and how we might deal with that."
However, a senior GOP aide told The Hill,
"We’re not going to shoot ourselves in the foot and jeopardize our chances of winning the Senate and gaining more seats in the House."
Polls showed that last year's shutdown hurt Republicans. Democrats would love to see Republicans embroiled in yet another shutdown debacle over immigration, but support for a conservative shutdown rebellion has waned.
Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., told The Hill that shutdown and impeachment talk is coming from Obama "because his numbers are in the toilet. I don’t believe either of those things are in the cards. He hopes and prays one of those things happen because they are the only thing that will revive his numbers and his party’s numbers."
Alex Conant, spokesman for Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., told the Washington Examiner,
"We're not going to shut down the government. Ultimately, Republicans will need to win control of the Senate to reverse an executive action. We would be interested in having a vote on it in the context of the budget debate, but we are not going to shut down the government."
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