Some Republicans, like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, look back at the 1995 government shutdown debacle as a cautionary tale of the practical and political costs of shutting down the federal government. Others view it as a how-to guide for the 112th Congress.
Rep.-elect Steve Womack (R-AR) has opted to draw the latter lesson. According to The Hill, Womack said he would be “open” to a government shutdown over the issue of federal spending after he takes office in January. Womack joins six other members of the Shutdown Caucus, which advocates shutting down the federal government unless their demands are met. Those members of Congress calling for a shutdown now include:
– Rep.-elect Steve Womack (R-AR)
– Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA)
– Rep. Steve King (R-IA)
– Rep.-elect Tim Walberg (R-MI)
– Rep.-elect Alan Nunnellee (R-MS)
– Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX)
– Sen.-elect Mike Lee (R-UT)
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Another eleven current or incoming members of Congress have also come out in opposition to raising the debt ceiling when it comes up for a vote early next year. Though these members have not explicitly called for a government shutdown, if Congress were to shoot down an increase in the debt ceiling, one consequence would likely be a shutdown of government operations.
Indeed, at issue during the 1995 shutdown was the Republican-controlled Congress’ refusal to raise the debt ceiling. The effects of this shutdown were felt far and wide, and “cost the American taxpayer over $800 million and rattl[ing] the confidence of international investors in U.S. government bonds,” as a Center for American Progress report entitled “The Big Freeze” found.