It’s going to happen. You can bet on it. Republicans now seem all in — despite some pesky noises from they-must-be-RINO websites such as the Wall Street Journal and the National Review about the dangers — to set the stage for a government shut down. And don’t be surprised if it then gets worse and House Republicans engineer a default on the debt ceiling as well:
House Republicans are moving forward with a government funding bill that would defund ObamaCare.
The legislation is a nod to House conservatives, some of whom quickly backed the plan.
But Senate Democrats and the White House have promised to reject any legislation that would defund the healthcare law, meaning the legislation won’t move farther than the House.
Unless the House and Senate can agree on legislation and get it to the White House by Oct. 1, the government will shut down at that time.
Basically, the GOP House leadership is politically twerking its powerful Tea Party sympathetic members. But the consquences to many Americans that even a brief shutdown would bring could be huge.
And who says this will necessarily be a brief shutdown?
The House measure would keep the government funded through Dec. 15 at the current $986 billion spending rate, rather than the lower $967 billion level called for in the 2011 Budget Control Act.
GOP leaders also announced Wednesday that they will condition a debt ceiling increase on a one-year delay of ObamaCare, approval of the Keystone XL pipeline and an outline for tax reform.
In other words:
Republicans are going to use political extortion — hurting the United States’s economy — if they can’t get policies that they are unable to get by winning elections or putting together coalitions in Congress. It’s a tough choice for Barack Obama and the Democrats: if this is allowed to happen it will fundamentally change the form of American democracy.
Republican Study Committee Chairman Steve Scalise (R-La.) said he was on board with the plan despite the higher spending level.
“This reflects the principles we’ve been pushing for,” he said. “We want to address ObamaCare directly in the CR. We want to address ObamaCare in the debt ceiling and this keeps both of those moving.”
Yes — in a way unprecedented in American democracy. And:
Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ga.), who authored a one-year CR that would increase defense spending while defunding ObamaCare, said he would vote for the new Boehner plan.
“It’s a step in the right direction,” Graves said. “The American people should view this as a victory.”
I agree with Booman: there is a notable lack of adults in the Republican room, and a notably large number of conservative talk show host followers and Tea Party members. Booman:
It’s a two-pronged approach. On the continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government, the Republicans will limit the funding to December 15th. The funding level will be slightly above what the Budget Control Act of 2011 calls for. And it will defund ObamaCare.
On the debt ceiling, they will have a separate vote that will delay ObamaCare for a year, authorize the Keystone XL pipeline, and provide an outline for tax reform.
Their hope is that they can successfully pass the buck to Republican senators who will be expected to sustain a filibuster against any CR or debt ceiling hike that includes money for health care.
It really doesn’t matter whether the Senate Republicans go along with the plan or not, because the government will shut down either way and we will default on our debts either way.
The pressure on Republican senators will be intense, but they’d rather let the House take the blame for the catastrophe.
The fact that the Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, is facing a primary challenge from his right makes it unlikely that he will ride to the House’s rescue this time around. If we’re hoping for adult leadership in the Senate, it will have to come from a rump of moderate Republican senators that doesn’t seem to exist.
And yes — all this reflects THIS.
PREDICTION: Expect a large part of the conservative entertainment media and the new media to say that Obama’s trying to close down the government and that Obama is trying to engineer a debt default.
graphic via shutterstock.com
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.