Politics

House Republicans gird for shutdown

Jonathan Strong Contributor
Font Size:

In the latest sign of the seriousness of the shutdown threat, a 5:00 p.m. meeting with Republican chiefs of staff includes as its guests the House Sargent at Arms and the staff director for the House Administration Committee, two key officials charged with preparing for the logistics of government funding running out at midnight Friday night.

In the Obama administration, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson sent employees at her agency a memo regarding the logistics of shutdown after a union representing federal employees complained in a lawsuit they did not have details about what would happen.

Meanwhile, Republicans are conducting a whip check on the one week continuing resolution introduced Monday to gauge support in their caucus for the bill, even as President Obama and top Senate Democrats have already dismissed that option out of hand.

With the clock ticking down, the two camps are still at odds. Obama spoke with Boehner by phone for only three minutes Wednesday morning before flying to Philadelphia for a campaign-like event.

Sources close to the process confirm Republicans have raised $40 billion in cuts, but no details have emerged about the even more contentious issue of the long list of policy riders in the House-passed bill.

While the right flank of the Republicans is pushing for a hard line, even if it means shutdown, top leaders including Boehner are worried the party loses politically if a shutdown takes place.

GOP pollster Frank Luntz briefed Republican lawmakers March 29 about what polls show about how the public would react to a government shutdown. The message was that Republicans will lose. The polls included looking at the isolated demographics of veterans, suburban moms, white males and seniors.

Others are not so sure. Grover Norquist, the head of Americans for Tax Reform and a key GOP strategist, said the political results are still to be determined by whomever appears to be working for a solution up until the end, as well as what happens during and after the shutdown.