GOP Rep. Simpson: For the Right Flank, It’s “$61 Billion or Die”

Flickr/<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/pakgwei/387263359/sizes/z/in/photostream/">Pak Gwei</a>.

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With a government shutdown looking increasingly likely, Republicans are blaming Democratic leaders for failing to come to an agreement on government funding for the rest of 2011. If House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and the Democrats fail to strike a deal by Friday, the government will shut down. “There’s no other explanation except that [Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader] wants to have a government shutdown and blame it on Republicans,” Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) told reporters Tuesday afternoon.

But other Republicans have made it clear that there’s major resistance within the GOP itself to any compromise whatsover. Those Republicans have concluded that any deal that falls short of the drastic $61 billion in cuts that the House GOP is demanding would constitute abject failure. Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) explained the position of the House’s right flank to reporters on Tuesday: 

It’s also clear from the number of people who have gone up at the microphone at our conferences that it’s $61 [billion] or die…

Many of our constituents will think we’ve caved if it’s less. Now the reality is if you get to $58 or to $59 or $60 [billion], then say it’s just silly to not take a deal like that. But you never know. There will be some that will say, if it’s less than $61, if it $60.5 [billion]—someone’s going to say it’s not enough.

There was a phrase coined for such posturing during the last government shutdown, when Newt Gingrich was speaker: the Perfectionist Caucus. And if Boehner has too many ideological purists on his hands, he won’t have any choice but to shut down the government—or else risk being stripped of his leadership role by his own caucus members. 

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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