GOP Rep. Joe Walsh: Government shutdown could be necessary

Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), who has argued that a government shutdown might actually be good for the country, did not back down from that claim today when he spoke to CBS News' Nancy Cordes on Washington Unplugged today.

"This is the most serious financial situation I think we've had. The American people get that" Walsh said. "And so if we need a jolt, if we need the government shutdown for a few days for us to really get serious, I think the American people are with that."

For House Speaker John Boehner to get through the current fight over spending, and emerge from it unscathed, he's going to have to satisfy Tea Party freshmen like Walsh. He told Cordes that 99 percent of the constituents he had spoken to at his recent town halls said they'd rather see the government shut down, at least temporarily, than see Republicans compromise and agree to fewer spending cuts than the $61 billion included in the House passed bill to keep the government operating through September.

When asked if shutting down the government would be responsible, Walsh said it could be what's necessary to get Congress to take cutting spending seriously.

"Because right now we're on a path where your little daughter, who's two years old playing soccer, her future is gonna be bankrupted unless we do something," asserted Walsh.

While Walsh was vague about what could possibly break the stalemate between the White House, Senate Democrats and House Republicans, he did find plenty of fault with the conduct of the Democrats.

"President Obama's AWOL. He's not even participating in this," Walsh said. "And the Senate democrats haven't been serious."

Walsh said that Boehner's been forced into "negotiating with himself" since Senate Democrats refused to pass a spending bill of their own.

And while he defended the speaker's role in negotiations so far, Walsh argued that freshmen Republicans will still be keeping Boehner's feet to the fire as negotiations continue.

"A lot of the help that freshmen like me can provide is to remind him of what the American people want" Walsh said. "And they want us to be bold. They don't want a timid compromise."

Walsh will be joining the Tea Party Patriots this coming Thursday for a rally on Capitol Hill that they are calling a "Continuing Revolution," a play on the spending bill's official title, Continuing Resolution. The principal goals of that rally are to keep pressure on Republican leaders not to cave on the spending cuts or other policy provisions that were tacked onto the GOP bill to defund the health care bill.

"A lot of the help that freshman like me can provide is to remind him of what the American people want. And they want us to be bold," asserted Walsh. "They don't want a timid compromise. Compromise is ok but not a timid one. So we want to again, gently nudge [Boehner] to be bold."

Lawmakers have less than two weeks to work out differences before the current Continuing Resolution expires. If they are unable to reach an agreement, and do not pass another short term spending measure, the government would shut down. If they are able to break the impasse, then it's on to the next big fight according to Walsh.

"You ain't seen nothing yet" promised Walsh. "The fight in a month when it comes to the budget, will be huge, because the dollars we're talking about are much much larger. We need to get to that."

  • Nancy Cordes On Twitter»

    Nancy Cordes is CBS News' congressional correspondent.

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