The presumptive House Majority Leader, Representative Eric Cantor (R-VA), was on Fox News Sunday this morning discussing the GOP Agenda. They want to cut non-Defense discretionary spending down to 2008 levels which would represent a 22% cut in those programs.
About 10 1/2 minutes into the interview, the specter of the government shutdown that occurred in 1995 after the Republicans took back the majority in Congress in 1994 since the new Republican House could face the same type of impasse with President Barack Obama that the Republican controlled Congress faced with President Bill Clinton then.
CHRIS WALLACE: Are you willing to say right now we’re not going to let the country go into default, and we won’t allow a government shutdown?
CANTOR: Chris, look at this now. The chief executive, the president, is as responsible as any in terms of running this government. The president has a responsibility, as much or more so than Congress, to make sure that we are continuing to function in a way that the people want.
The left is already jumping all over this interview.
It’s difficult to exaggerate just how harmful a shutdown or default would be for the United States and its economy. A “shutdown” occurs when Congress fails to appropriate money to fund the federal agencies. As a result, nearly every federal employee is sent home, including the officials who cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid checks. In other words, by threatening a shutdown, Cantor is holding the incomes of millions of American seniors hostage unless Obama complies with his petty demands.
First, Cantor didn’t threaten a shutdown. He was answering a question. Secondly I wonder if the author of this drivel remembered that our Federal government is currently operating without a budget and there isn’t any party gridlock. Third, the President not Congress, decides the scope of any shutdown. Cantor can’t shut the government down, only the Chief Executive can do that. Fourth, Cantor’s “petty demands” are precisely the reason why Republicans were swept to power in the House and made huge gains in the Senate. People want fiscal sanity back and if Republicans don’t deliver then they’ll likely be sent packing. People want spending cuts and the growth of government scaled back, not just arrested.
Whether the President decides to work with the new reality he has or sticks to his guns on spending is entirely up to him. I don’t think he’ll catch a break like President Clinton did in 1995 when the threat of a shutdown became a game of chicken between him and Speaker Newt Gingrich. Instead President Obama will be fighting against the American people, but then again he’s been doing that for the past two years already so why should we expect any different now.
Update: Welcome Instapundit and Legal Insurrection readers!
Update 2: Linked at The Other McCain
Update 3: Linked at The Atlantic Wire and made the headlines at The NewsReal Blog.