chapter  10
25 Pages

Washington: The Leader and the Player

In the years from 1995 to 1999, the House Republicans faced two seriouscrises. The first was their unsuccessful attempt, in 1995 and 1996, to pass the balanced-budget item of their contract. That crisis was punctuated by a 21-day partial shutdown of the federal government. It featured their sharp conflict with President Bill Clinton and their eventual acquiescence in a major compromise defeat. The second crisis, partly related to the first one, was the growing intraparty dissatisfaction in 1997 and 1998 with the performance of Speaker Newt Gingrich. It boiled over in an attempt to overthrow him.