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Government shutdown unlikely
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A few weeks ago, Washington was buzzing with predictions that Republicans will impeach President Obama. More recently, Washington has been buzzing with predictions that Republicans will shut down the government.
Both have come mostly from Democrats facing long odds in November's midterms, hoping the GOP might do something suicidal before voters go to the polls. The only problem is, well-connected Republicans insist it's not going to happen.
House Speaker John Boehner appeared to settle the impeachment question last month when he called all the talk a "Democratic scam" and added, "We have no plans to impeach the president. We have no future plans."
So the subject changed to a shutdown. It's a more substantial accusation; after all, House Republicans have never impeached Barack Obama, but they have shut down the government.
The government runs out of money at the end of September, so Congress will have to pass a continuing resolution by then to keep it running. The rumors are if Obama takes some sort of far-reaching action on immigration, as is widely expected, infuriated Republicans will retaliate by threatening to close the government unless Obama backs down. Obama, protected by a Democratic Senate, will of course not back down, and a shutdown will ensue.
At least that's the scenario. I asked one plugged-in, senior GOP adviser whether there was any chance -- any chance at all -- that would happen. His one-word response: "No."
An equally senior GOP aide added: "We are not going to shoot ourselves in the foot and jeopardize our chances of winning the Senate and gaining seats in the House."
Perhaps the closest thing to a smoking gun Democrats have now is a statement made by GOP Sen. Marco Rubio that has been interpreted as a shutdown threat. In an interview with Breitbart News, Rubio said if Obama acts on immigration, then "There will have to be some sort of a budget vote or a continuing resolution vote, so I assume there will be some sort of a vote on this. I'm interested to see what kinds of ideas my colleagues have about using funding mechanisms to address this issue."
That led to a story in the Huffington Post headlined, "Marco Rubio Hints At A Government Shutdown Fight Over Immigration."
Rubio's office says there's nothing to it. "We're not going to shut down the government," spokesman Alex Conant told me. "Ultimately, Republicans will need to win control of the Senate to reverse an executive action. We would be interested in having a vote on it in the context of the budget debate, but we are not going to shut down the government."
So it appears after all the talking is over, the government will keep running -- even if that leaves Democrats bitterly disappointed.
Byron York is chief political correspondent for The Washington Examiner.