U.S. Voters OK with Gov't Shutdown amid Budget Dispute

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By Stephanie Samuel, Christian Post Reporter
March 1, 2011|11:55 am

The majority of Americans prefer a partial shutdown of the U.S. government until both political parties can agree on cutting government spending and reducing the federal debt.

A Rasmussen Reports survey released Monday found that 58 percent of respondents think it is better for the government to partially shut down than authorize spending at the same level as last year.

Only 33 percent of survey respondents would rather have Congress avoid a government shutdown by approving the same level of spending as the previous year.

The survey comes as the rift deepens between lawmakers on spending cuts in the federal budget.

This is the final week for Congress to approve a leaner budget and avoid a government standstill. Some lawmakers argue that deep cuts must be made in order to decrease the federal debt and ease the economic downturn. Still, both parties disagree on where and the amount of cuts that should be made.

GOP members are currently pushing to slash $60 billion from this fiscal year’s spending and $100 billion from President Barack Obama’s $3.7 trillion FY 2012 budget proposal.

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The cuts have upset Democrats who lament that programs such as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Corporation for National Service (Americorps) and Title X will all be downsized.

According to the Rasmussen poll, 80 percent of Republican voters and 59 percent of unaffiliated voters

Some religious groups are also upset upon hearing that the proposal seeks to slash the global aid budgets. Over two dozen Christian leaders along with Princeton University’s Dr. Albert J. Raboteau endorsed a published ad on Monday in Politico asking lawmakers “What would Jesus Cut?”

In the ad, leaders from groups such as Sojourners and Evangelicals for Social Action are asking federal lawmakers to consider the moral consequences of the cuts.

“Our budget should not be balanced on the backs of poor and vulnerable people,” the coalition urged.

The ads appeared in newspapers in the District of Columbia.

On Sunday, Republican House Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) made the case that the national debt is a moral issue in his speech at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention.

"It is immoral to bind our children to as leeching and destructive a force as debt. It is immoral to rob our children’s future and make them beholden to China. No society is worthy that treats its children so shabbily," he declared.

But a plurality of surveyed voters (48 percent) believe that a partial government shutdown would be bad for the economy.

Republican lawmakers, however, expressed optimism that a compromise will be reached soon. Iowa Republican Rep. Tom Latham told the Iowa governor yesterday, "It's going to get resolved."

Senate Democrats seem amendable to House Republicans efforts to cut $4 billion in earmarks and other programs that President Obama proposed axing in his budget proposal.

According to the Rasmussen poll, 58 percent of Democrats want to avoid a government shutdown.

Congress never passed a budget for 2011, but instead authorized government spending for a few months. Members of Congress must act quickly or some federal government services could be shut down by the end of the week.

 

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