Is Stan Collender correct? Will the GOP shut down government in December?:
Can The GOP Really Wait Until Next Year To Shut Down The Government?, by Stan Collender: ...Even though the smaller Senate GOP minority and House Republican majority won't officially be in place until January, the leadership will be facing a very difficult decision over federal spending in less than a month when the the current continuing resolution -- which is funding all federal agencies and departments that operate with annual appropriations -- expires.
That's the first point at which the GOP will have to face up to one of its most prominent campaign pledges: To significantly cut federal spending. The vote to extend the CR will be the first opportunity to face that challenge head on because it can be filibustered in the Senate. The Republicans there -- (Actually, all you need is one: Can you say Jim DeMint?) are in a position to prevent the current CR from being extended if the new version doesn't reduce spending to the level they want.
It's certainly possible that the Senate GOP leadership will decide ... that they want to wait until their colleagues in the House are in the majority so that they can work together to cut spending...
But there are four reasons why waiting isn't the best strategy.
First, from a strictly technical budget (and likely least important) perspective, waiting until next January or February will make it much more difficult to come up with the actual budget cuts that will be needed to achieve the lower spending levels the GOP says it wants. At that point there will only be eight or seven months left in fiscal 2011 and that will mean that the spending reductions will ... have to be much larger and the political difficulty in doing so much, much greater than will be the case if the process begins in December .
Second, the tea partiers insisted it would not be politics as usual in Washington if they were elected and this will be their first opportunity to show they meant it. ...
Third, shutting down the government in December might be the best way to seal the deal with the party base that was all but guaranteed this type of confrontation during the campaign and will still be walking around with its chest puffed out in December. By contrast, not taking advantage of the opportunity might well begin to alienate some...
Finally, December might well be the best time to push a Democratic Party that is disillusioned and depressed from the election and a White House that is reeling from the election results. It is not at all clear that congressional Democrats or the Obama administration will have a plan in place during the lame duck session to deal with the extreme political and communications challenge a shutdown will create. By contrast, a threatened shutdown in February would definitely provide the time to come up with a plan to deal with it.
I was going to say that worries over the economy might hold them back -- they could then be blamed for any subsequent problems -- but then I realized they actually think spending reductions will help.