Biggest Stories of 2013: Government Shutdown

Throughout New Year’s Eve, we’ll be going through the 10 biggest political stories of 2013 as selected by United Liberty’s contributors. Don’t forget to chime in on the biggest stories of the year on our Facebook page.


It all started with Speaker Boehner’s rule that would’ve staged a symbolic vote in the House to defund Obamacare, while still allowing the Senate to fully fund Obamacare in the CR.

Then came the revolt.  Emboldened by Rep. Meadows’ letter in the House and Sen. Lee’s letter in the Senate pledging not to support a CR that funds Obamacare, Tea Party, conservative, and libertarian groups like FreedomWorks led a grassroots uprising in opposition to the Boehner rule and in support of the defunding effort.  The movement succeeded.  Speaker Boehner embraced the defunding movement as if it were his own, and the House passed a CR that did not appropriate a single penny to Obamacare.

The Senate would have none of it.  Majority Leader Reid scheduled a cloture vote to strip the House bill of its defunding provisions.  What followed was a historic 21-hour quasi-filibusterfrom Sen. Cruz making the case for defunding.  Eloquent and quick-witted as always, Sen. Cruz utilized the overnight marathon to the fullest, making countless arguments against the law while interacting with Sen. Lee and others.  It was the high point of the defunding effort, and perhaps the high point of the entire movement to end Obamacare.

Republicans did not build on the momentum by uniting in support of the defunding effort.  Sen. McCain immediately took to the floor of the Senate to trash Sen. Cruz’s effort and state that the House should fund Obamacare as a consequence of President Obama’s reelection.  Minority Leader McConnell also made it clear that he did not support Sen. Cruz.  The result was that the Republicans limped into the ultimate shutdown without the cohesive opposition needed to convince Democrats that they would have to make significant concessions to pass a CR.

The shutdown lasted 16 days, with a number of watered-down House bills rejected by the Senate along the way.  Republicans were desperate for an excuse to cave, and they found one when anNBC News/Wall Street Journal poll reported Republican support at a record low of 24% (even though many questioned the poll’s accuracy).  The resulting Reid-McConnell deal fully funded Obamacare with no changes to the law — a complete loss. It also set the stage for the unfortunate Ryan-Murray deal that rolls back the sequester.

Speaker Boehner now blames conservative groups for pushing him into the defunding effort against his will and causing the shutdown. Are you kidding me?

The views and opinions expressed by individual authors are not necessarily those of other authors, advertisers, developers or editors at United Liberty.