It sounds as if House Speaker John Boehner and the Republican Party are within centimers of a move that will forever define it in the eyes of those who are not far right conservatives, Rush Limbaugh fans, members of the Tea Party, or writers for conservative weblogs: according to Talking Points Memo Boehner may in effect go along with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and set things in motion for a Republican engineered government shut down over Obamacare.
In what would be a dramatic change of course, House Republican leaders are considering a strategy of risking a government shutdown at the end of this month if Obamacare isn’t defunded.
In the weekly conference meeting Wednesday morning, GOP leaders intend to propose a continuing resolution to keep the federal funded beyond Sept. 30 but strip out funding for Obamacare. The move was first reported by the conservative National Review.
Senior Republicans know the strategy is a nonstarter in the Democratic-led Senate, and for months have wanted to avoid a shutdown confrontation over Obamacare. The latest move is a tacit admission from leaders that they have, for the moment at least, been defeated by conservatives who are eager to eliminate the health care law at all costs. When the House bill fails in the Senate, as it is certain to do, House GOP leaders would then try to pass a “clean” continuing resolution that funds the government but leaves Obamacare alone. The prospects of a clean stopgap bill winning over most House Republicans are also remote.
Republican politics is increasingly about pleasing the base, politicians digging in their claws to hold onto their jobs, and power politics — all poorly disguised within a transparent cocoon of plausible deniability called conservativism that can’t mask the real motives.
“No decisions have been made, or will be made, until House Republican Members meet and talk tomorrow,” said House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) spokesman Michael Steel.
Which means a finger will be held in the wind to see how strong the wind is and whether it’s wise to try and walk against it…
Part of the strategy is to shift the legislative burden to Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT), who have been deriding House Republican leaders as weak on Obamacare, to their deep frustration.
The Democrats say it has no chance in the Senate and Obama has vowed to threaten such a bill.
The proposal, if House Republicans decide to run with it, would spur a standoff that significantly raises the prospects of a shutdown at the end of the month. If the bill fails in the Senate, anti-Obamacare conservatives aren’t likely to let up and embrace a “clean” continuing resolution; they’ll demand that House Republicans hold out until Democrats cave.
How will it impact average Americans if the government is shut down? To House GOpers in safe districts, who cares? The importance is to avoid being primaried back home, and try to make Barack Obama and the Dems get down on their knees, defund Obamacare — and then have that celebration of high fives, a victory lap, and a nice gloat from Rush Limbaugh.
But here’s betting that if this happens, the GOP will regret it in the future.
Here’s betting for a backlash that will not add to the GOP coalition, even if a shutdown lasts for only a few days. A shutdown will only please the choir.
It will be a rebranding to that large part of the newer generation that isn’t composed of far-right conservatives, Rush Limbaugh fans, andon Tea Partiers.
House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor are playing the last cards in their hand — and they’re most likely losers.
The House Republican leadership’s decision to try to defund Obamacare this week in their government funding bill, and their promise to wage a a no-holds-barred fight to delay the health care law as part of the debt ceiling fight, is a double-barreled strategy that could set Boehner (R-Ohio), Cantor (R-Va.), Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and the House Republican Conference up for two big defeats.
Nearly everyone in Washington — except a group of conservative Republicans and their allies — admits that the Senate isn’t going to vote to defund the Affordable Care Act. President Barack Obama showed his own determination on Monday not to give in, speaking just minutes after a shooting rampage in Washington to remind the nation he’s not interested in negotiating over the debt ceiling.
Boehner and his top lieutenants have tried managing expectations about what’s achievable in a divided Washington, with Republicans running the House and Democrats holding the Senate and White House. But those efforts aren’t swaying the rank-and-file.
“Republicans control the House. Conservatives control the House,” said Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.). “Our job is to reflect the people who sent us here. That means sending a good, conservative bill out of this House. We’ll worry about the Senate after the Senate actually does something.”
Now, House Republicans are now staking out two positions where they’re almost sure to come out on the losing end.
But Boehner, Cantor and McCarthy may have no other option.
The question will be whether public backlash against the GOP is intense and whether the Democrats and an increasingly weakened President Barack Obama who is being called over his head now by Republicans and Democrats will be enough to squelch a shutdown before it does real damage.
And then it’s on to the same game with the raising of the debt limit….this time holding America’s economy as hostage…
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.