The prospect of a September government shutdown loomed over the Capitol on Wednesday as the two parties fought over rising energy prices.It’s a fight some members of either party are willing to have, but others worry about who will get blamed for a repeat of the 1995 shutdown that President Clinton pinned on a Republican Congress. ...
Senate Republicans debated strategy at a party lunch Wednesday, discussing whether they should block a continuing resolution (CR) that must pass in September if the government is to continue functioning, according to lawmakers who attended.
The moratorium on drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) has been renewed annually for decades in spending bills by Republican and Democratic presidents and Congresses.Since Democratic leaders this year are not planning to pass most of the individual spending bills, Congress will have to pass a CR to keep government functioning past Sept. 30.
Usually, such resolutions pass easily. But this year, soaring gas prices have changed the political calculus and Republicans have decided the issue might rescue them at the polls. Republican leaders say Congress should not leave for the August recess without taking a vote on drilling.Republicans would likely have to make the first move by filibustering a bill, or by President Bush vetoing a spending bill. ...
A shutdown fight holds allure for Republicans, who have seen Congress’s favorability ratings slide to record lows with little political consequence for the Democrats in control. Though Republicans tried to tag Democrats with the “Pelosi premium,” polling has shown that Bush is taking far more blame for gas prices than are Democrats.“It depends on whether the White House wants this fight,” said a Republican aide. “A lot has to be gamed out on both sides.”