CHAPEL HILL – The partial government shutdown has ended, but that doesn’t mean that Washington has a plan yet for dodging a potential sequel.
The 16-day shutdown ended last week with lawmakers funding the government through January 15 and suspending the debt limit until February 7.
Congressman David Price (D-NC 4th District) gave us his take on the chance of a repeat happening in the new year.
“I hope that we have learned something. In particular, the Republicans in the House who have precipitated this have learned something,” Price said.
Price told WCHL’s Aaron Keck Monday that Republican legislators have offered mixed opinions on pushing for another shutdown. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Price explained, was a driving force behind the Oct. shutdown and could reignite the battle in 2014.
“I have to say that most of the prognostications are pretty pessimistic for anything very grand,” Price said. He added that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) “had a much more measured” view of the shutdown and will likely be more inclined to prevent it from happening again.
**Listen to the full interview with Congressman Price**
“This was a reckless action. It was precipitated by the Tea Party faction of the House Republican Caucus. It didn’t do the Republican Party nationally any good.”
With another deadline coming in the next couple of months, all eyes are on Washington to see if lawmakers can settle their vast differences and avoid another shutdown, or worse, default on its own debts.
In the near-default of 2011, Price recalled the budget crisis then and said that it “did a lot of damage” in terms economic losses in the private and public sectors.
“2011 is a pretty negative memory and yet the Republicans went right up to the brink this time as well.”
In terms of North Carolinians’ opinion on the 2013 Shutdown, a poll showed that 63 percent of people opposed it.
“We did avert the disaster but it really shouldn’t be a possibility,” Price said. “We are the only country that votes on a debt limit. If a country incurs debt, incurs obligations, you have to pay those bills. The time to vote against the bills is at the front end when you are getting the obligations in the first place.”
Price said that the appropriations process works best as an institutional power. He believes the process has become much too influenced by partisan objectives.
“These partisan battles and divisions get imported into the appropriations process and make it impossible to pass the normal kinds of cooperative, very detailed appropriations bills. That’s really an institutional loss,” he said. “It is a loss for the country.”