In Shadow of 1995, G.O.P. Freshmen Stand Firm





The specter of the 1995 government shutdown hangs over Capitol Hill, a memory many hoped to leave behind, along with beepers and episodes of “Baywatch Nights.”...

for some lawmakers in the new Republican freshman class, the circumstances and stakes of a budget showdown are quite different today. They frame their mission less as a one-term spending fight than as a crusade to redefine the role of the federal government in American life.

Many freshmen believe a government shutdown should — and indeed will — be avoided. “I am committed to finding that point at which we can make reductions and get this fiscal ship turned around while finding a way to keep government from shutting down,” said Representative Kevin Yoder of Kansas.

But a far greater failure, many freshmen lawmakers say, would be to capitulate on the only issue many of them ran on. Arguing that the nation’s economic conditions and their mandate from voters demand bold solutions, the freshmen’s resolve may give the House speaker, John A. Boehner, less maneuvering room in the hopes of averting a shutdown.

“I don’t believe now and 1995 are similar times,” said Representative Lou Barletta, a freshman from Pennsylvania. “Back then it was more about how to balance the budget. Now it is about how to keep the country from going broke. Unemployment was much lower than now. The debt was 5 trillion. Now it is 14 trillion. In 1995 the Congress wanted to get its house in order. Now it’s the American people that want that, and that’s the only reason why we are here.”...


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