Cantor: Obama will be responsible for government shutdown

House Minority Whip Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) presents U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio (R-FL). (REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

A top Republican refused on Sunday to rule out the possibility of a government shutdown next year over growing federal deficits but said if there were one, President Barack Obama would bear responsibility.

House of Representatives Republican Whip Eric Cantor said it’s up to Obama to work with Republicans since they won the House from Obama’s Democrats in last week’s election, vowing to slash spending and shrink government.

Appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” Cantor focused on Obama when asked if Republicans could provide assurances that they wouldn’t let the government shut down in any confrontation with the White House, disrupting all but the most essential services to millions of Americans.

“The president’s got a responsibility as much or more so than Congress to make sure that we are continuing to function in a way that the people want,” Cantor said.

“This president certainly, as in his own words, took a shellacking by the voters” in Tuesday’s election that saw Republicans take the House and cut the Democratic majority in the Senate, Cantor said.

“It is time for him to try and come meet us and say, ‘Fine, let’s get back to the kind of things that Americans are about. It is living within our means,’” said Cantor, in line to become majority leader when the new Republican House convenes in January.

As majority leader, Cantor would be the Republican’s No. 2, behind only John Boehner, expected to become the chamber’s new speaker, replacing Democrat Nancy Pelosi.

The U.S. budget deficit for the fiscal year that ended September 30 was about $1.3 trillion, with the U.S. debt topping $13 trillion. Congress must decide next year whether to raise the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling to avoid a U.S. default.

At the same time, if the White House and Congress can’t agree on new spending plans, there could be a government shutdown.

Obama inherited a deep recession when he took office in January 2009 and within months got fellow Democrats in Congress, over a wall of Republican opposition, to pass an unprecedented $814 billion economic stimulus package.

The economy is growing again, but unemployment has risen, reaching a stubbornly high 9.6 percent.

House Republicans aim to slash spending by $100 billion next year, pushing it back to 2008 levels, with exceptions for programs for the elderly, the military and veterans.

They are being pressured to cut costs by the anti-establishment Tea Party movement that helped them make big gains on Election Day.

Republicans also vow to begin to “repeal and replace” Obama’s healthcare overhaul by denying funding to fully implement it.

EARLIER SHUTDOWN BACKFIRED

These plans have brought back visions of spending battles that led to a government shutdown in 1995 after Republicans won the House from President Bill Clinton’s Democrats. That shutdown backfired politically on the Republicans, helping position Clinton win re-election the following a year.

House Republicans are determined not to make political missteps that give Democrats a boost in 2012.

Republican Senator-elect Rand Paul, a Tea Party favorite, told ABC’s “This Week,” that his top aim is to trim the federal debt,

“We have to do something about the debt. I think we’ve been fiscally irresponsible for a generation or more here,” he said.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who has said his leading goal is to deny Obama re-election in 2012, said, “We hope to do business with the president on a number of things.”

One area is whether to increase all or some of Bush-era tax cuts — for the middle-class as well as wealthier Americans, including many small business owners — set to expire at the end of this year.

Obama called a Republican proposal to extend tax cuts to wealthier Americans for two years a “basis for conversation” and said he sees a potential for compromise.

In an interview on the CBS show “60 Minutes” to air on Sunday night, he said his top priority was making sure taxes did not rise on Americans making less than $250,000 a year.

Extending tax cuts could swell the federal debt. But Republicans argue that allowing the tax cuts to expire would hurt economic growth.

“The issue here is whether you want to raise taxes on small businesses in the middle of what most Americans think is a recession,” McConnell told CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

“I and all of my members think it’s a bad idea to do that. I do sense some flexibility on the president’s part and we’re happy to talk to him about it,” McConnell said.

Copyright © 2010 Reuters

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25 Responses to "Cantor: Obama will be responsible for government shutdown"

  1. Guardhouse Lawyer  November 7, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    Memo to Obama:

    Let them shut down the government. The American people will come unglued. And they will know whom to blame.

    - – - -

    So much for the spirit of bipartisanship.

  2. Carl Nemo  November 7, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    Unfortunately Eric Cantor isn’t focusing on the root cause for the potential shutdown; ie., an out of control Federal Reserve, captained by ‘Helicopter Ben’ Bernanke, a confirmed inflationist and ‘legal’ counterfeiter extraordinaire. Reining in spending is of parmount importance too.

    The Fed’s policies seem to be hellbent on putting the U.S. into an unrecoverable “death spiral” relative to its currency valuation consequences be damned. He’s trying to inflate the money guys bad bets that have been forcibly covered by U.S. tax debtors courtesy of our corrupt Congress. So it’s double jeopardy for “We the People”; ie., first in the wallet via additional incurred megadebt and then by devaluing our currency into the ashbin of history in order to hopefully restart inflation…NOT! With massive unemployment and the lack of jobs due to relentless offshoring during the past 30 years, the last 15 in earnest, there’s simply not enough successful consumers to buy products and boost the bottomline concerning tax revenues. So the Fed is now in the process of facilitating U.S. citizens to feeding upon themselves in hopes of turning things about. His QE2 strategy is pure madnes relative to getting our ship of state back in trim. I’m beginning to think he obtained his credentials in economics via a cheap butt correspondence course, or he is the alleged scholar indicated in his biography except he decided to join the “dark side” somewhere along his way to the top job at the Fed and is simply following orders to execute a massive plan to destroy the nation state once known as the United States of America, reducing us simply to that of another “banana republic” among many on plantation earth.

    With mattoids like he and Obama at the helm along with our economic engines failing to outright dead in the water; we are now off a rocky coastline with ill offshore winds pushing us ever closer to the rocks of national destruction. Ordinarily I wouldn’t condone a mutiny, but it seems that’s what it will take to save us from our watery grave.

    Someone in the House needs to make a serious attempt to take control of the Fed, then put this now corrupt ‘central banking’ organization in responsible hands managementwise. This President is only cleared to be a “community organizer”. He’s simply witnessing our demise with the blessings of the international shadowy oligarchs vis a vis Goldman Sachs that own and control he, Bernanke and Congress’s collective butts, lock, stock and barrel. : |

    Carl Nemo **==

    • griff  November 7, 2010 at 6:57 pm

      A serious attempt was made last year in the House to reign in the Fed with HR 1207. Due to widespread grassroots pressure it garnered 320 bipartisan cosigners. Many of the cosigners jumped ship when push came to shove, the majority of them Democrats.

      It was later added as an amendment to another bill, but was stripped in committee.

      But the good news is that Ron Paul is in line to head the House subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Poilcy, Trade and Technology.

      • Almandine  November 7, 2010 at 7:01 pm

        How sweet it is !!!

    • Guardhouse Lawyer  November 8, 2010 at 9:17 am

      Let me know when the offshore winds start blowing things toward the coast, willya?

    • Marilyn Rau  November 14, 2010 at 11:34 pm

      We should immediately shut down the government by cancelling the salary of Cantor and others who agree with him. Shakedowns are typical of thugs and corrupt people.

  3. Kris  November 8, 2010 at 12:57 am

    Funny how things change…wasn’t Obama saying “we won” in 2009, yet the Republicans wouldn’t work with him. Now Cantor says Obama has to work with them since they won the House. Hypocrysy lives!!

  4. ThoseWhoServe  November 8, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    Americans might want to do a little planning if the Republicans follow through on Rep. Cantor’s threat to force a federal government shutdown. Some of the ways a Republican shut-down of the Federal Government affects individual Americans include the following:

    1) The heat, water, electricity, telephone, Internet, and sewage services to the U.S. Capitol will be shut off due to the government shut-down; i.e. no pay, no services.
    2) All airports will be closed to comply with the shut-down of the air traffic control system.
    3) All ports of entry, including people crossings, vehicle crossing, and airports will be closed to comply with the shut-down of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement services.
    4) No persons, U.S. citizens, legal resident aliens or foreign nationals can legally enter or leave the United States, and no products can be brought into the country.
    5) The 150,000 troops and hundreds of thousands of support contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with all military and support personnel and dependents serving overseas will be returned to the U.S. shores prior to the government shut-down.
    6) The 350 ships in the U.S. Navy will return to U.S. shores prior to the government shut-down.
    7) All military and government aircraft will be returned to U.S. bases and grounded.
    8) There will be no weather forecasts from NOAA, no rescues by the U.S. Coast Guard, and no responses to emergencies such as wild fires on federal lands or offshore oil spills.
    9) All medical service providers, including hospitals, labs, doctors, etc. will have to notify patients to be prepared to pay cash.
    10) Working persons will have to notify their employers processing payrolls to stop withholding of Federal taxes or FICA payroll taxes since the government is not providing any services.
    11) Retirees will have to notify the pension plan administrators to stop withholding of Federal taxes since the government is not providing any services.
    12) Alaska, California, Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi will be notified by the Federal government that they will not be receiving any oil or gas revenues or royalties from off-shore drilling, or drilling on Federal lands.
    13) U.S. hedge funds, which hold most of their liquid assets in U.S. Treasury securities, will cease almost all trading activity or investment in new businesses due to the inability to redeem U.S. Treasury securities. Similarly, foreign hedge funds that hold substantial amounts of U.S. Treasury securities will reduce trading activity and investment in new businesses due to the inability to redeem U.S. Treasury securities.
    14) In addition to stopping Social Security retirement and disability payments, all retirees receiving pensions will have to be notified that almost all pension payments may be reduced because most pension funds will be unable to redeem the short and medium U.S. Treasury securities in their portfolios.
    15) All Americans will have to be notified that money market checking accounts can no longer be used because the overnight and short term U.S. Treasury securities cannot be redeemed.
    16) All Americans purchasing or refinancing a home will have to be notified that there is no market for the mortgages being securitized with the shut-down of FNMA and GNMA activities.
    17) All business activity may have to be conducted in cash because the all of the banking debits and credits between banks are processed by a federal government agency that will be closed.
    18) All personal financial activities by individual consumers may have to be conducted in cash because the all of the banking debits and credits between banks are processed by a federal government agency that will be closed.
    19) Prepare all foods very carefully because there will be no inspection of any food products.
    20) Stay in good health because there will be no oversight of the manufacturing, quality, or efficacy of any pharmaceutical products.
    21) Don’t expect any mail.

    • griff  November 9, 2010 at 2:25 pm

      One thing that strikes me about your list is just how much control this government has over just about every thing that effects our lives.

      Shouldn’t be that way.

    • woody188  November 9, 2010 at 11:50 pm

      Sounds great to me. Hope they stay shut down for good. Life without them sounds like heaven.

      • Almandine  November 9, 2010 at 11:59 pm

        Where liberty lives… there is my country. – Ben franklin

    • Marilyn Rau  November 14, 2010 at 11:37 pm

      Well………..how charming that would be. I’m sure everyone would love it. I don’t believe that happened in the 1990′s though did it?

  5. Guardhouse Lawyer  November 9, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    4) No persons, U.S. citizens, legal resident aliens or foreign nationals can legally enter or leave the United States, and no products can be brought into the country.

    If there’s no one working at the border control point who is going to stop traffic?

    5) The 150,000 troops and hundreds of thousands of support contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with all military and support personnel and dependents serving overseas will be returned to the U.S. shores prior to the government shut-down.

    Really? Show me in writing where that will happen.

    6) The 350 ships in the U.S. Navy will return to U.S. shores prior to the government shut-down.

    Ditto. Show me.

    9) All medical service providers, including hospitals, labs, doctors, etc. will have to notify patients to be prepared to pay cash.

    What? A shutdown of the government will shut down credit card acceptance and processing? HA HA HA! That one really makes my day. There’s absolutely no connection I can think of.

    10) Working persons will have to notify their employers processing payrolls to stop withholding of Federal taxes or FICA payroll taxes since the government is not providing any services.

    Bulls**t. What service cutoff would require employers to stop withholding taxes? That is just ludicrous.

    13) U.S. hedge funds, which hold most of their liquid assets in U.S. Treasury securities, will cease almost all trading activity or investment in new businesses due to the inability to redeem U.S. Treasury securities.

    That shows an absolutely stunning incomprehension of how Treasury securities work. Treasury securities are NEVER liquid assets. They are investment vehicles. One cannot just walk into a Federal Reserve bank with a Treasury security and say, “Gimme my money.” You have to wait for the darned things to mature!

    It also shows an incomprehension of what a hedge fund is. A manager who put money into a Treasury security would soon find himself out of a job. The people who go into hedge funds are high roller/high risk types. They do not want guaranteed income. They want leverage, something that Treasury securities definitely do not provide.

    16) All Americans purchasing or refinancing a home will have to be notified that there is no market for the mortgages being securitized with the shut-down of FNMA and GNMA activities.

    Not true. Neither one is a government activity. They are both corporations just like Microsoft, IBM, etc.

    21) Don’t expect any mail.

    Not true. The USPS is not affected by the Federal budget, with the exception of a minuscule payment made to pay for mailing of reader books for the blind.

  6. Guardhouse Lawyer  November 9, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    What most people do not realize about past shutdowns is that they have actually cost the government money TONS of money.

    Government employees find themselves the pawns of the political foes who force the shutdown. In the two shutdowns in 1995, furloughed employees (who were the NONESSENTIAL employees only) were eventually paid about $800 million. EVEN THOUGH THEY PERFORMED NO WORK!

    That’s dead loss of productivity. It cannot be recovered.

    There were three prior shutdowns, 1981, 1984, and 1990. So far as I know, all furloughed employees received full salary (though not in a timely fashion) even though they performed no work.

    How much F**KING sense does that make?

    And essential employees continue to work and be paid.

  7. b mcclellan  November 9, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    Status no? Let’s get rid of the essentials and then the ants will rule again.
    Alas the pyramid looms. Nice pitch.
    What were state governments doing then, or when?

  8. J Beutel  November 14, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    Let’s start by shutting down the House of Representatives… I would say about two years to start with… Can we charge Eric Cantor for TREASON YET??

    Please DEMS – GROW A SET – WILLYA!!

  9. JkNJ  November 14, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    typical ridiculous right wing crap – going to initiate a government shutdown and then smack Obama with the blame for the GOP’s actions. Not unlike what happened with the economy. I guess rethugs never learn

  10. Rob  November 14, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    If the Republicans were serious about debt reduction they wouldn’t be so hot on giving way 700 billion over a 10 year period to the least in need. At least Obama’s stimulus helped the American people in need.

  11. vbscript2  November 14, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    What Cantor said was that it would be at least as much Obama’s fault if he refuses to sign the budget that the Republicans pass… which is true. If the two sides can’t work together, then it’s both of their fault. If Obama wants to prevent a shutdown of the gov’t, all he has to do is work with the Congress and sign what they deliver him. Cantor was merely making the point that Obama doesn’t call the shots on the budget anymore (thank goodness.)

    And, Beutel, umm, no, disagreeing with the President isn’t treason. If it were, we’d have locked up a lot of Democrats during Bush’s administration.

  12. HGA  November 14, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    If the government shuts down so be it! IF you cant act responsibly with taxpayer monies entrusted to you its time to yank the rug out to get yoour attention. No government program is perfect but it comes a time when you look in your wallet and there is no cash and the well is dry and there is no other venue to supply the cash you need what do you do.
    If you re the govt nauurally you pull out the plastic and become indebted to others beyond belief and then tax the heck out of the employers and successful entrepenurs to bail you out with a Dixie cup. Now on a personal note what would YOU do? Personally I would curtail my spending but thats just me. Now I can’t answer for the progressive socialists holding the purse strings cowtowing to all of the bleeding hearts that think the government is there to support their causes just because they rrepresent 1/10 of one percent of the population and someone hurt their feelings

  13. Delores Scott  November 15, 2010 at 11:44 am

    It would have been better if the Republicans had taken their stand against funding the war in Iraq when Bush first declared war. They took a surplus and just threw it away. Now that money is being allocated for what Americans want domestically, they are throwing a fit about spending money. Very hypocritical.

  14. Karl  November 15, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    Haven’t the Republicans for all practical purposes have shut down the government?
    How many bills are stalled in the Senate right now because of Republican filibusters.
    The Senate will have to vote on those bills some day. Do you think they will finally get around to it next year?
    I bet they will just hold up more legislation.
    Politicians just crack me up. Do people really believe this man when he talks?

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