This week on Capitol Hill, a proposal to aid Syrian rebels got all the drama, while the larger government funding bill it was attached to barely got mention. But that spending package is quite similar to the one that led to the government shutdown in October — most notably, it still funds the Affordable Care Act. Yet this year, talk of a government shutdown was virtually nonexistent.
The main reason? It’s an election year, and that changed the calculation for House leaders.
Late last September, House Speaker John Boehner was in a miserable place. Some House Republicans were clamoring to defund the health-care law, even if it meant shutting down the government. There was talk that Boehner’s days as speaker were numbered.
But this September, just one day before the House was set to vote on a comparable government spending bill, the mood was totally different. His office was cheerfully sending out a video of “A Day In the Life of Speaker Boehner,” featuring scenes of Boehner nonchalantly popping into Starbucks and eating breakfast at a diner called Pete’s.
Republicans just as nonchalantly agreed this week to keep the government open through mid-December.
“Especially now, when we do have a chance of winning the Senate, I think it’s election year politics that the government’s not going to shut down,” said House Republican Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia. Fellow Republican
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