GOP douses shutdown threats

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Another government shutdown isn’t going to happen next month — at least if you ask Republican leaders.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGiuliani: White House wants briefing on classified meeting over Russia probe GOP senators introduce Trump's plan to claw back billion in spending The Hill's 12:30 Report — Sponsored by Delta Air Lines — Trump now says Korea summit could still happen June 12 MORE (R-Ky.), who’s facing a tough reelection challenge this fall, said turning the lights out in Washington is a “failed policy.” 

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“Remember me? I am the guy that gets us out of shutdowns,” he quipped to CNN.

And Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerJim Jordan as Speaker is change America needs to move forward Paul Ryan’s political purgatory Republicans fear retribution for joining immigration revolt MORE and his leadership team are ruling out a repeat of October, when Texas Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzGOP senators introduce Trump's plan to claw back billion in spending Pro-Trump super PAC raises .5 million in 6 weeks Trump has exposed Democratic hypocrisy on prison reform MORE led a conservative rebellion and forced the government to close for two weeks in a bid to defund ObamaCare.

That proved to be a political disaster for congressional Republicans, who, this fall, want to avoid a massive midterm distraction as they try to take back control of the Senate and expand their majority in the House.

“We’re not going to shoot ourselves in the foot and jeopardize our chances of winning the Senate and gaining more seats in the House,” a senior GOP aide said Thursday. The shutdown chatter from some conservatives “clearly isn’t helpful, but I’m not anticipating there will be a groundswell of similar sentiment from a large chunk of our conference.”

Funding to keep the government open runs out on Sept. 30, and conservative Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) warned this week that “all bets are off” on passing a stopgap funding bill, if Obama unilaterally takes action to make it easier for millions of illegal immigrants to remain in the U.S. Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioTrump appears to confirm deal on Chinese firm ZTE Hillicon Valley: Experts worry North Korea will retaliate with hacks over summit | FBI works to disrupt Russian botnet | Trump officials look to quell anger over ZTE | Obama makes case for tighter regs on tech Putting pressure on Trump, House passes bill barring government from doing business with ZTE MORE (R-Fla.), a prospective 2016 presidential hopeful who stood with Cruz, said he also expects Republicans will try to attach a rider to the temporary spending bill to combat Obama’s executive action.

The White House has indicated that Obama will make an announcement by the end of the summer. Immigration reform advocates have pushed Obama to turn to executive action in the absence of a comprehensive overhaul.

“In our view, the president really doesn't have a choice but to act and to do what he can within his legal authority,” said Janet Murguía, president of the National Council of La Raza.

Even some staunch conservatives say that attaching an immigration-related rider to a stopgap spending bill and potentially threatening a government shutdown would backfire.

“I would love to attach a rider to our funding bill that reverses Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaTrump: Police 'have every right' to protest Chicago mayor To woo black voters in Georgia, Dems need to change their course of action 2018 midterms: The blue wave or a red dawn? MORE's lawless actions on any number of fronts but only if the Senate and the White House agreed to it. And they won't, so it's a futile strategy,” said Rep. Mo BrooksMorris (Mo) Jackson BrooksAlabama sues Census Bureau for counting undocumented immigrants GOP lawmaker says rocks falling into ocean to blame for rising sea levels Republican worries 'assassination risk' prompting lawmaker resignations MORE (R-Ala.), a vocal opponent of comprehensive immigration reform.

Brooks said it was more important for Republicans to make sure they perform well in the November elections.

“I very much appreciate Steve King's desire to make Barack Obama obey the law. But ultimately, the only way to hold a lawless president accountable is for voters to change the Senate and ultimately change the White House,” the Alabama Republican said in an interview. “I'm going to do everything in my power to prevent a government shutdown, regardless of whether Barack Obama violates yet another law.”

Matt SalmonMatthew (Matt) James SalmonArizona GOP tinkers with election rules with an eye on McCain's seat Quiet jockeying for McCain seat angers Republicans McSally tells GOP colleagues she'll run for Arizona Senate MORE, another conservative Republican who hails from the border state of Arizona, said most of the shutdown and impeachment talk is coming from Obama himself “because his numbers are in the toilet.”

“I don’t believe either of those things are in the cards,” Salmon told The Hill on Thursday. “He hopes and prays one of those things happen because they are the only thing that will revive his numbers and his party’s numbers.”

Still, King and Cruz have demonstrated they can get what they want on the immigration issue. Last month, King helped engineer a revamped bill providing funds to address the surge of child migrants crossing the border that won enough support from the House GOP conference. The revised plan allotted extra funds for the National Guard and allowed a separate vote to limit the 2012 Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA) program. 

Before King and allies like Rep. Michele BachmannMichele Marie BachmannBachmann won't run for Franken's Senate seat because she did not hear a 'call from God' Billboard from ‘God’ tells Michele Bachmann not to run for Senate Pawlenty opts out of Senate run in Minnesota MORE (R-Minn.) became involved, House Republicans were unable to pass a border funding bill on their own.

Bachmann, who cheered last year’s shutdown, conceded that there’s no consensus among Republicans on how to respond to Obama’s expected executive action on immigration. But she warned “nothing’s off the table at this point.”

“There will be a sharp pushback. … It is an absolute falsehood by the president to try to pretend he was forced to do this,” Bachmann said in a phone interview on Thursday.

“I would call on the president to refrain from doing this,” she added. “We don’t want to see a disruption in service to anyone. We don’t want to see a disruption in service for veterans, for seniors.”

Democrats are almost gleeful at the possibility of another shutdown showdown, talking on cable TV and blasting out press releases about how Republicans once again want to shutter the government. 

“Shutdowns that cost our economy billions of dollars benefit no one,” Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidMcConnell not yet ready to change rules for Trump nominees The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by CVS Health — Trump’s love-hate relationship with the Senate Trump to press GOP on changing Senate rules MORE (D-Nev.) wrote in a fundraising email to supporters on Thursday. “These extreme Tea Party members would rather shut down the government than work with Democrats to get things done.”

But the renewed shutdown chatter is creating big headaches for GOP leaders, particularly McConnell, who is locked in a tight race with Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky’s secretary of state.

If he becomes majority leader, McConnell recently said he would push to attach riders on spending bills to curb Obama’s policies on healthcare, the environment and other matters, which Democrats seized on as evidence a GOP Senate would create another standoff. But pressed on whether he supported shutting down the government either this year or in the new Congress, McConnell replied: “Of course not.”

“I’m the guy that’s gotten us out of shutdowns that some of our members have pushed us into in the past. That’s a failed policy,” he told CNN’s Dana Bash. “It does not mean you should send the president a total blank check with no restrictions at all on how the money is spent.”