Steve King eyes shutdown, demands ‘blood oath’ from Boehner

STEVE KING EYES SHUTDOWN, DEMANDS ‘BLOOD OATH’ FROM BOEHNER…. Last week, we expanded our list of Republicans eyeing a government shutdown in the event of a House GOP majority. The list, however, keeps growing.

Roll Call reports today that Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) wants his party’s leadership to sign a “blood oath” that they will include a repeal of the Affordable Care Act in every appropriations bill next year, even if it leads to a government shutdown.

King said the problem in 1995 wasn’t the government shutdown under President Bill Clinton — which occurred after Republicans attached Medicare cuts and other items to spending bills — it was that Republicans blinked when they feared the polls were turning against them.

“We must not blink,” he said, noting that money cannot be spent without the House voting to pass it. “If the House says no, it’s no.”

Their new tea party backers won’t tolerate anything less than a full repeal of the health care law, he said.

“They will leave us if we go wobbly,” he said. “I am worried about that, but that’s why I think it’s got to be a blood oath.”

Faiz Shakir has more on this.

The Roll Call report gets back to something we’ve been covering for a while now. There’s every reason to believe John Boehner knows that another government shutdown would be a disaster, would do his party no favors, and he’d be wise to avoid one.

But the party is already backing itself into a corner. The House Minority Leader has already said scrapping the entire health care reform law is his top priority, and Boehner’s caucus — and the party base — will expect follow-through. Boehner could pass a repeal bill in the House, but after it failed in the Senate or got vetoed, he wouldn’t be able to say, “Well, we gave it a shot; let’s move on to other issues now.” It’s too late for that — defunding the law is already far too popular within the GOP. There’s an expectation that the fight has to happen.

King is demanding a “blood oath” to ensure it does happen.

Josh Marshall noted a couple of weeks ago, “When I first heard this talk of another ‘government shutdown’ in 2011, I figured it was just Democrats whipping it up as a cudgel for the election. Then I heard Republicans talking about it too. But I still figured it was just a way of ratcheting up their own core voters — who of course loved the first one too.”

But those perceptions are changing quickly, and for good reason. This really isn’t manufactured drama — much of the Republican Party is intent on making this happen. It’s why talk of a shutdown is already being pushed by a House Republican leader (Rep. Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia); a Republican Senate candidate (Joe Miller of Alaska); a Republican House candidate (Teresa Collett of Minnesota); and a variety of prominent Republican voices (Newt Gingrich, Dick Morris, and Erick Erickson).

It’s not theater; it’s not posturing; it’s not an idle pre-election threat. Voters should appreciate how serious this is before heading to the polls.