The White House and GOP leaders are likely going to strike a deal on the 2011 budget, and some lucky Republican legislators will get to vote no.
Barring a political earthquake, those lucky Republicans will include two of the caucus’ most prominent members, Rep. Mike Pence and Rep. Michele Bachmann. Both want to cut deeper than the $33 billion accepted by Democrats, but neither is embracing the role of deal-breaker now offered to them by critical Democratic leaders, including Senate Majority Leaders Harry Reid.
On Wednesday, both legislators won repeated applause from at least 2,000 happy, chanting Tea Party demonstrators brought to Congress by Americans For Prosperity. Both called for deeper cuts and balanced budgets, both praised the demonstrators, but neither said they’d torpedo a compromise approved by House Speaker John Boehner.
When Bachman took the microphone, she made no threats against a Boehner-approved deal, even though she’s said repeatedly that she will not vote for any deal that doesn’t defund Obamacare. Republicans should “get serious about cutting spending… [because] the Democrats have us on a course towards bankruptcy,” she announced to cheers from the crowd. “We are reasonable, fair-minded people, saying [to the White House] ‘Get Your Act Together’… we know the how to stretch a dollar, we clip coupons, we go to dollar stores,” she declared.
In anticipation of a shutdown, she blamed Democrats, and then announced that “there is no such thing as a government shutdown… it is a government slowdown.” Social Security checks will be mailed, soldiers will be paid, and many government workers will remain on the job, she said. “Hold your member of Congress’ feet to the fire, because the American people are with you, and we will prevail,” she announced.