Midnight on Monday came and went with no funding agreement in Congress. Led by Speaker John Boehner, House Republicans refused to pass the constitutionally-required legislation continuing state funding unless portions of "Obamacare" were altered or delayed. With parts of the federal government officially closed for business today, many have criticized and even joked about Congress' inability to avert America's first government shutdown in nearly 18 years. There are a few people who are probably thrilled it happened:
Appearing on Fox & Friends just hours after House Republicans refused to pass a "clean" continuing resolution to keep the government open for the next six weeks, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) joked that closing down the government will probably help people realize they don't need it.
"You know, I think you may see a partial shutdown for several days. But [Fox & Friends co-host] Steve [Doocy], people are probably going to realize they can live with a lot less government than what they thought they needed," Blackburn said.
Her stance has remained the same since January when she echoed a growing consensus within the Republican Party and insisted that lawmakers should close the federal government if President Obama does not agree to drastic cuts in the budget:
"If it requires shutting down certain portions of the government, let's look at that. Let's put these options on the table, be very thoughtful, but get this spending pattern broken," she said.
While many were deeply concerned about the likelihood of a government shutdown just days before the deadline, many conservatives were "excited" about the possibility.
"We’re very excited," said Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.). "It's exactly what we wanted, and we got it." Bachmann even went so far as to suggest the GOP will ultimately be rewarded for its firm stance. "People will be very grateful," she said.
Rep. Huelskamp called the latest spending fight "a culmination of doing what we said we were going to do."
"Mark Twain once said, do the right thing and it will gratify some people and astonish the rest," Huelskamp said. "America's been a little astonished by us doing the right thing in the last few days here in the House."
Even House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington entertained the idea of a government shutdown back in January to make sure President Obama knew their party meant business. "I think it is possible that we would shut down the government to make sure President Obama understands that we’re serious," Rodgers said in January. "We always talk about whether or not we’re going to kick the can down the road. I think the mood is that we’ve come to the end of the road."
Appearing on CBS' Face the Nation in January, Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) enthusiastically called for a government shut down saying he thought it was a good idea and "it's about time."
"I was here during the government shutdown in 1995. It was a divided government. we had a Democrat president of the United States. We had a Republican Congress. And I believe that that government shutdown actually gave us the impetus, as we went forward, to push toward some real serious compromise," said Salmon.
House Republicans have lauded Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) for bringing Congress to its current standoff and said they would have never been here without his help.
Calling the government shutdown a "partial" or "temporary measure" like many fellow conservatives, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told radio host Mark Levin: "What would happen if the debt ceiling isn't raised is it would be a partial government shutdown. We've seen this before, we saw this in 1995, when Republicans in the House shut down the government. What happened was it was a partial shutdown, there was some political cost to be paid, but at the end of the day, because Republicans stood strong in 1995, we saw year after year of balanced budgets and some of the most fiscally-responsible policies Congress has produced in the modern era. If we hold strong we can do that again."
The plan certainly got Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) excited.
"We are 100% unified because we are doing the right things for the right reasons. Everyone said, ‘let’s vote!’ And I said, like on 9/11, ‘Let’s roll!’" said Culberson, referencing passenger Todd Bremer’s famous statement aboard the hijacked United 93 flight on September 11. "Ulysses S. Grant used to say, ‘Boys, quit worrying about what Bobby Lee is doing.' I'm worried about what we’re doing and that’s where the House is today. We’re going to quit worrying about what those other guys are doing and focus on what we are doing. Which is what Grant did, which ultimately led to the victory of the federal army [in the battle]."
Be prepared to see plenty of these shut-down related spoofs.