The White House on Wednesday said it was unsure whether the government would be shut down in the fall, looking to place the blame for such a development on Republicans unhappy with President Obama’s plan to take executive action on immigration reform.
“It would be a real shame if Republicans engaged in an effort to shut down the government over a common-sense solution [on immigration],” he added.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., among others, have speculated that if Obama acts unilaterally on immigration, it could initiate another funding fight and bring the federal government to a halt.
The White House is eager to stoke such talk, and Earnest was quick to blame conservatives for last year’s 16-day government shutdown, attributing it to their dissatisfaction with Obamacare.
Once again, the White House declined to get into the specifics of Obama’s plan on immigration.
“The president,” Earnest said, “is determined to act where House Republicans won't."