Just don’t do it. That’s our message to the Republicans controlling the U.S. Congress who could bring about a government shutdown this week if they can’t finance federal operations past Wednesday.
Who really can blame U.S. House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio for throwing in the towel Friday and announcing he’s leaving at the end of October?
Even if he’s able to craft a compromise among his last acts, it may only delay the crisis for three months. His own Republican caucus is a mess, divided between solidly conservative members and a minority of ultra-extremists who see no problem using government shutdowns as a way to coerce passage of wrong-headed policies.
The insurgents want to shut down government over funding for Planned Parenthood. That’s an extremism our country should not abide. Federal funds for the agency pay for health care services not related to abortion. The last shutdown cost some 120,000 jobs and $24 billion in economic output, according to U.S. Rep. Denny Heck, the Olympia Democrat.
It says a lot when members of Boehner’s own party say their speaker “subverted our Republic,” as Rep. Tom Massie of Kentucky put it. Good luck running things, Mr. Massie.
Perhaps Massie recognizes that Barry Goldwater’s maxim — “extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice” — has in effect been updated by the tea party to say: “Extremism in the defense of lunacy is no vice.”
Boehner has held the Republican reins through his party’s ideological paroxysms since 2010. He found ways to work with Democrats in 2013 to get the government running again after a shutdown was forced by GOP zealots who wanted to kill the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare).
We hope Boehner can keep his eye on the good of the country in his final weeks. This includes finding a way to keep government running past Wednesday, the last day of the federal fiscal year.
In the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, has been working on a way to extend budget authority, while deferring the Planned Parenthood showdown.
We’re rooting for a solution that gets Republican and Democratic votes and spares women’s health care funding.