“The Ones With the Gavel”: Republicans Set to Take the Blame if the Government Shuts Down

Republicans know that a government shutdown could come, and they know they’re going to get blamed. Even so, they seem helpless to stop the blood bath headed their way. Here is what’s happening.

Gridlock in the House

As the deadline for setting a new budget for 2024 looms, the United States House of Representatives is gridlocked. Everyone acknowledges it, and both sides know what that means.

“I think the governing majority, which is presiding at the time the government shuts down, probably is going to bear a lot of the blame,” says Steve Womack, a Republican representative from Arkansas.

And, as Womack admits, it’s his own party who are “the ones with the gavel” this time around.

High Stakes

The stakes are high for politicians on both sides of the aisle and for Americans in general. If no budget agreement is reached, the government will have little choice but to shut down.

That’s disruptive to people all across the country and up and down the socioeconomic spectrum.

National Security Issues

Pennsylvania Brian Fitzpatrick is a former FBI agent who has suffered through a shutdown from the other side of the table. 

According to Fitzpatrick, a shuttered government is a blow to national security, not to mention the personal impact it has on workers who suddenly have their livelihood interrupted.

“Your cases will get shut down because there’s a gap in coverage on an investigation,” Fitzpatrick says.

Effect on Federal Government Agencies

Several other threats loom over Congress as they try to finagle their way out of a tight corner that has become a common uncomfortable position in recent years.

Government agencies from the Commerce Department to the Federal Communications Commission to the National Institutes of Health are all preparing to pull the plug on major ongoing efforts, at least temporarily.

Manufacturing Delays

If the worst happens and the government goes dark for a while, that will impact the United States’ ability to manufacture microchips, conduct important research, and even resolve consumer complaints in a timely manner.

Closed National Parks

And for anyone who enjoys a brisk hike through the local national park, well, you might have to find other options, too. Those beloved oases would be off-limits during a shutdown, too.

But, while all of society stands to suffer if no budget agreement can be reached, and while pet programs of both parties would stall, there stands to be a single biggest loser in all this.

Republicans’ Responsibility

As Womack notes, the Republicans are holding the gavel right now thanks to reclaiming control of the House in the 2022 midterm elections.

But they’re also left holding the bag of responsibility if the government goes night-night. Who are voters going to blame when the machinery grinds to a halt?

Blameworthy Scapegoats?

Most likely, they’ll point to the nearest and most blameworthy scapegoat they can find. That’ll be Republican representatives in this case.

By sticking to their conservative ideals and not trying harder to find some middle ground with their Democrat counterparts, House Republicans just may be shooting themselves in the collective foot.

And then they’ll have to hope against hope that they can ride Donald Trump’s coattails back into office next time around. How uncomfortable is that?

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