At a House GOP caucus meeting Monday evening, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) told members to expect to receive guidance on Tuesday outlining protocol in the event of a government shutdown.
If funding for the government is not renewed before Friday, members will be advised to furlough non-essential employees, who will be told not to communicate using office resources in accordance with federal law.
Furloughed employees will have to pitch in their employer’s share of monthly health insurance premiums, the student loan repayment program will be terminated when the shutdown begins, and retirement credit will be reduced.
Boehner’s spokesman Michael Steel confirmed the development, which was originally leaked by Democrats. We expect more information shortly to clarify whether this is intended to avoid confusion in the event that negotiations stall, a warning shot at President Obama and Democratic leadership, or a sign that a shutdown is becoming inevitable. Or more than one of the above.
At a Friday briefing at the Capitol, Boehner told reporters he was not prepping members for a shutdown — but we’re closer to the wire now than we were then.
“The Republican leadership is preparing for a shutdown,” said a Democratic leadership aide. “Instead of coming to the table to work with Democrats and the White House who have offered $33 billion in cuts, Speaker Boehner is taking his orders from the Tea Party who want to “cut it or shut it.” Republicans are the only ones who are talking about a shutdown and it has never been more clear that Boehner has lost control of his conference.”
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.