If Republican Tom Massie’s push to dismantle President Barack Obama’s health-care law shuts down the government and costs him his U.S. House seat, he’d happily return to his solar-powered home back in Kentucky with his kids.
That’s making life difficult for Republican House Speaker John Boehner.
Their opposition doomed a farm bill and forced Republican leaders to rewrite it.
The red-haired Massie, who has two engineering degrees and 24 patents, represents a new breed of Republican in Washington: recently elected to the House, not bound by fealty to leaders and unmoved by the usual tools of enforcing party discipline.
This group, not large enough to be a majority though big enough to prevent one, is shaping the course of Congress in ways not seen since Republicans won the House in 1994.
Now they’re using their influence to raise the specter of the first federal government shutdown since that era. Massie is prepared for whatever happens, saying life was much better before he got elected to Congress in 2012.
"The last thing I fear is going back and leading that same life," Massie said in an interview.
House lawmakers return to Washington tomorrow and have just five scheduled working days to pass legislation to keep the government funded past Sept. 30, the end of the federal fiscal year.
That job became more difficult last week when Massie and other first- and second-term lawmakers banded together to reject a spending proposal from Boehner’s leadership team, heightening the risk that the government may shut down though it may cause a political backlash from other Republicans. House leaders rescheduled a budget vote for this week, although they haven’t specified which day.