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GOP Pollster: No Government Shutdown

Republican pollster David Winston predicted Thursday that Republicans would not shut down the government this spring.

There has been widespread speculation that House Republicans may force a government shutdown if they are unable to come to an agreement with Democrats on the budget.

Winston, who serves as an outside adviser to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), provided a presentation at the centrist think tank Third Way. He reminded the audience of the lesson learned in 1995 when a Republican-controlled Congress squared off with President Bill Clinton on the budget and forced a shutdown.

Winston said that House Republicans, even those who aligned with the tea party, have “no desire at all to shut down the government.”

“That is not a focus, that is not even a thought process at this point,” Winston said. He discussed the issue with several lawmakers at the annual House Republican retreat in Baltimore in January.

“When you are talking specifically about raising the debt ceiling and talking to a few of the Members, look, they understand clearly we have obligations that we have to make sure the United States keeps to,” Winston said. “In the course of that there are a couple of things we think we would like to add to that in terms of adding some restraints that they believe will lead to better fiscal responsibility, but the alternative is not to shut down the government.”

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