After previously trying to blame Democrats for the possibility of a partial federal government shutdown, top Republicans appear to be reversing course.
On Sunday, Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget within the White House, said he was open to the idea if it meant bringing an end to the continual brinkmanship that has plagued budget negotiations in recent years.
“A good shutdown would be one that could help fix that,’’ Mulvaney said in an interview on the CBS News program "Face the Nation."
Mulvaney was responding to several tweets last week from President Donald Trump in which he talked up the possibility of creating a budgetary stalemate between Republicans and Democrats in Congress. Trump was reportedly angry that the media was reporting that Democrats had bested him in budget negotiations — and began his "government shutdown" posturing shortly after that. But Mulvaney created a new spin about it.
“It’s part of that overall ‘drain the swamp’ mentality about Washington DC," Mulvaney, a former GOP congressman from South Carolina, said. “This president is willing to think outside the box and do things differently around here in order to change Washington."
While Mulvaney's and Trump's remarks could certainly be a negotiating tactic to coerce concessions from Democrats, it's notable that in 2013, Mulvaney counted himself among a group of hard-core conservatives who supported a GOP-led shutdown attempt that was designed to stop certain aspects of the Affordable Care Act from being enacted.
That effort ultimately proved unsuccessful as polling showed Democrats, Republicans and independents all blamed the GOP for the government stoppage that took place. Eventually, enough Republicans joined with Democrats to end the shutdown.