Aug 06, 2008 7:00 PM GMT
WASHINGTON (CNN) — He led Republicans into government shutdowns in the 1990s and now former House Speaker Newt Gingrich indicates his party is seriously considering another shutdown to force a vote on offshore oil drilling in September.
House Republicans brought Gingrich to the Capitol Wednesday, partly to revive media coverage of their speech-making protest in the chamber, now in its fourth day. The rest of Congress is gone for August recess, but several Republicans House members have been speaking on the closed-down chamber floor, calling for a special session to vote on drilling and energy.
Gingrich did attract more camera crews, and he used the opportunity to point to what may be the GOP’s next strategy: If Democrats refuse to hold a separate vote on oil drilling, Republicans could try to block the votes needed to keep government running past September 30.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office responded quickly with a statement from spokesman Nadeam Elshami. “Democrats will not shut down the government,” he wrote, “but it is not surprising Newt Gingrich would raise that threat since he and the Republican Party shut down the government in the 1990s.”