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The GOP’s Dangerous Plans: Shutdown or Default

From: Mo Elleithee, DNC Communications Director
To: Interested Parties
Date: September 13, 2013
Subject: The GOP’s Dangerous Plans: Shutdown or Default

Shutting down the government?  Defaulting on our obligations?

Can anyone honestly believe that either is a good thing for our country?

Business leaders and economists sure don't.  They know that either a default or a shutdown would be devastating for the economy:

·         According to the chief economist for the National Association of Credit Unions, failing to honor our obligations means “we basically would default on our debt, interest rates would go through the roof, and we’d fall into another recession, kind of like the one we went through in 2007 and 2008.”

·         New York Times recently reported “economists warn that a default resulting from a failure to raise the government's debt limit could tip the economy back into recession.”

·         A Barclays’ analysis showed a government shutdown would result in a reduced GDP and at least 800,000 federal workers would be furloughed.

The American people don't want it, and it is crystal clear who they'd blame if it happens.  A CNN poll out just this week found that if there were a government shutdown, 51% of Americans would blame Republicans while just 33% would blame the President. Earlier this summer a Pew Poll found that “more Americans believe Republicans in Congress, rather than the Obama administration, would be mainly responsible if the two sides cannot agree on a plan to increase the federal debt limit.”

But despite clear evidence that it's both bad policy and bad politics, Republicans in Washington have made these two plans the centerpiece of their fall legislative agenda.

There’s no question what the result would be.  They've taken us down both these paths before.  In 1995 and 1996 Republicans shut down the government, hurting our economy and damaging our credibility as a nation. In 2011 Republicans brought the country to the brink of default, causing America’s credit to be downgraded for the first time ever.

So why are Republicans so dead set on perusing a legislative agenda that is politically toxic and dangerous for the economy?

For two reasons.

1)  Despite the American people's strong desire for elected leaders to put ideology aside and find common ground, Congressional Republicans are so focused on undermining the President and his legislative agenda that they are willing to risk harming the economy, even if it they hurt the economic wellbeing of ordinary Americans in the process.

2)  Because Republican leaders aren’t leading – they’re trying to placate the Tea Party base that is calling the shots in today’s GOP.

GOP ‘leaders’ are letting the tail wag the dog, plain and simple.

The far right is calling the shots in today’s GOP. Just look at the news from the last 24 hours:

·         Yesterday, House GOP leaders pulled a continuing resolution to fund the government through December 15th because, according to Politico “the GOP is clearly struggling with itself over how best to keep the government operating and placate conservatives who want to cut off all funding for implementing Obama’s signature reforms.”

·         In response, 43 house Republicans backed a plan that funds the government only if ObamaCare is defunded, a plan that just 6% of registered voters support.

·         While Republicans couldn’t pass a plan to fund the government this week, GOP leadership acquiesced to far-right demands and passed legislation to gut ObamaCare for the 41st time.

·         Today, the conservative Washington Times is out with an editorial imploring House Republicans to ‘muster a little courage’ and gut ObamaCare, claiming that “government shutdown under President Clinton 17 years ago…wasn’t so bad as they remember."

Since last November, Republicans have pledged to change their ways, moderate their message and reach out to a broader electorate.

But the proof is in the pudding. Instead of heeding their own advice, Republican leaders are getting ready to go to war with ObamaCare -- again -- just to placate their far-right base, even if that means driving the U.S. and world economies over a cliff.

Forty-one failed votes to defund or repeal Obamacare are apparently not enough for the "new and improved" same old GOP.  They are once again prepared to risk our economy rather than work to find common ground.

And the American people will suffer as a result.

The time has come for Republicans to stop their brinkmanship and work with the President and Congressional Democrats towards a better bargain for all Americans.