How Do You Know When Things Are *Really* Bad?

You know when things are really bad when Tom Coburn is the voice of restraint, moderation, and common sense:

COBURN TO HOUSE GOP: DROP THE RIDERS—Republican Sen. Tom Coburn had some words of advice for his colleagues in the house. While talking with MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan, Coburn said: “I don’t think there is anybody that wants the government to get shut down and so what we ought to say is hey, guys, cool it with the politics, work on the policy for our country and our future.” Coburn said politicians can either create a tense “political climate” to get things done or he says, “Another common sense way is: What can I really get done? What’s the realities of the situation? And my recommendation to my friends in the House is, you know, it’s highly unlikely many riders are going to get passed with a Democrat president and Democrat Senate so why don’t you take the spending and let’s get on to the budget.”

Unfortunately, Steve King is hard of hearing:

DEFUNDING: NOT FEELING IT—Rep. Steve King says he’s worried that the final budget agreement won’t include his riders to defund the health care law. “I’m apprehensive about where this is going. I’m just not seeing the signs” that Speaker John Boehner is committed to keeping them, King told reporters during a House vote Wednesday afternoon. “We should have seen it clearly.”

And John Boehner is reportedly willing to shut down the government over birth control and abortion (emphasis is mine):

The bad news, Republicans still want to use the budget to wage a culture war, and tomorrow night, will shut down the government to advance this agenda.

Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the top Democrat in the Senate, said Thursday morning that he is “not nearly as optimistic” about avoiding a shutdown as he was after a Wednesday night Oval Office meeting and said “it looks like it’s headed in that direction.”

Mr. Reid said that Republicans have “drawn a line in the sand” on issues of abortion funding and changes to the clean air act, and he said those issues could not be resolved in the hours left before a government shutdown.

“The numbers are basically there. But I am not as nearly as optimistic, and that’s an understatement, as I was eleven hours ago,” Mr. Reid said on the floor of the Senate. “The only thing holding up an agreement is ideology.”

In case this isn’t already clear, we’re dealing with obvious madness. Republicans want to cut off Planned Parenthood and gut the Clean Air Act, but instead of pursuing legislation to achieve their goals, they’re insisting that this be part of the budget. Democrats can’t go along with this nonsense, and John Boehner is too weak a Speaker to tell his caucus to act like grown-ups, so the entire process is unraveling.

This has led to talk about the GOP shutting down the government over abortion, but even that’s not quite right — Planned Parenthood is already prohibited from using public funds to terminate pregnancies, and has been for many years. What we’re talking about here is Republicans shutting down the government over access to contraception and family planning services.

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Author: KATHY KATTENBURG