Appearing on MSNBC on Monday, Blackburn echoed a growing consensus within the Republican party, insisting that lawmakers should close the federal government or allow the United States to default on its debt if President Obama does not agree to drastic spending cuts. “We are going to look at all of these options,” Blackburn insisted. “You know, there is the option of government shutdown. There is an option of raising the debt ceiling in short-term increments”:
CHRIS JANSING (HOST): [But are your constituents] willing to see the government shut down? Are you hearing that, Congresswoman?
BLACKBURN: Yes, they are. Yes, they are. But they want us to be thoughtful in what is done. And this is the good thing. You know, maybe it’s better to keep it open so we can keep cutting it. [...]
JANSING: Would you be willing if you don’t get the kind of cuts that you think are necessary, would you be willing to go into default or to shut down the government?
BLACKBURN: I think that there is a way to avoid default. If it requires shutting down certain portions of the government, let’s look at that. Let’s put these options on the table, be very thoughtful, but get this spending pattern broken. We cannot afford a $4 billion a day deficit and trillion dollar plus deficits every single year.
Jansing warned that should the government shutdown, the FBI would stop working, “prisons won’t operate, the court system closes, tax refunds won’t go out, the FAA would go off line.” But Blackburn dismissed these concerns by arguing that Republicans will set priorities for government spending and start eliminating “waste, fraud, and abuse.”
The line of thinking has caught fire with “more than half” of the Republican House caucus. As House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) told Politico, “I think it is possible that we would shut down the government to make sure President Obama understands that we’re serious.” “We always talk about whether or not we’re going to kick the can down the road. I think the mood is that we’ve come to the end of the road.”