Interesting excerpt from a recent interview with House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) at redcounty.com, discussing the right’s divide on spending-cut strategy and the possibility and consequences of a government shutdown:
Q: Why not aim higher on spending cuts? Why not open with a more aggressive bid to begin negotiations?
Boehner: That’s basically what we are doing here on the short-term CR — trying to get as much spending cut as we can for the balance of this fiscal year, which, let’s be honest, only runs through September 30. And so trying to cut as much as we can over six months is going to be difficult…We’re about to embark on our new budget process, where we will hold spending down on the discretionary side and we will deal with the big entitlement question…We’re not going to shrink from the big challenges that face us.
Q: Regarding the 54 Republicans who voted against the short-term CR — conservatives and Tea Party freshmen — what role will they play? “Foot soldiers” or “watch dogs?”
Boehner: We’ve got some who want to cut more spending, and some who want to cut it faster. It’s not that they disagreed with anything that was in the bill, it’s just that they wanted to get this short-term spending bill over now. I can’t force the Senate to act. I can’t force the president to act. But our goal is to cut spending and keep the government open. To shut the government down will only make our job of cutting spending more difficult.
Q: Why would shutting down the government make your job more difficult?
Boehner: I had a front-row seat back in 1995 and ’96 when this occurred. And what happens is, the government shuts down, the bright lights of the media end up on the White House, end up on the Congress, and it makes it difficult for either party to move. At the end of the day, you’re going to end up getting less. Remember, the goal here is to cut spending, not to shut down the government.