Skip to comments.Out of ideas, House GOP considers Hail Mary [GOP-E figuring a way to wimp out]
Posted on 10/03/2013 2:36:27 AM PDT by markomalley
As the partial government shutdown enters its third day, many House Republicans are determined to keep fighting, even though they see no plausible way out of the current impasse, because they've come so far they cannot imagine backing down now. "I think there's a sense that for us to do a clean CR now -- then what the hell was this about?" one Republican House member told me. "So I don't think it's going to end anytime soon."
Wednesday was the best day in a while for Republicans, but not because of any progress they made toward their goal of defunding, delaying, or limiting Obamacare as part of a resolution to fund the government. Rather, Wednesday was a good day because Democrats handled their end of the crisis so badly. First, the Obama administration inexplicably went out of its way to barricade popular open-air monuments and memorials on the Washington DC mall, in particular closing off the World War II memorial to groups of elderly, Greatest Generation veterans who had come to the capital to pay their respects to a heroic moment in American history. Republicans couldn't believe what they were seeing. "That looked atrocious," said one well-connected strategist, who suggested it proved once and for all that the ham-handed Barack Obama is no Bill Clinton when it comes to handling a government shutdown.
Then, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid badly bungled a question about a House Republican bill that would fund, and re-open, the National Institutes of Health. "If you can help one child who has cancer, why wouldn't you do it?" asked a reporter. "I have 1,100 people at Nellis Air Force base that are sitting home," Reid said. "They have a few problems of their own. This is -- to have someone of your intelligence to suggest such a thing maybe means youre irresponsible and reckless." Republicans jumped on Reid's gaffe -- and why shouldn't they, since they often face such why-are-you-so-heartless questions themselves? By late Tuesday, Reid was reduced to pledging that he does, indeed, care about children with cancer.
"I think they're stepping in it a bit," said the GOP congressman, clearly relieved that Democrats were taking a turn making mistakes. But as much as the Democratic missteps buoyed Republicans, they didn't do anything to solve the problem. "They were positive tactical moments that gave some breathing room," said the strategist. "But there has yet to be a strategic moment that is a clear, outright win."
"It's sort of like when you have a temperature and you take an aspirin and your temperature goes down," the strategist continued. "You still have a problem."
For Republicans, the problem is that they don't know how to get out of the impasse they created when they embarked on a strategy to attach Obamacare measures to continuing resolutions needed to fund the government after September 30. Senate Democrats and the president rejected all of them, September 30 came and went, and now the government is partially shut down.
The GOP's latest tactic, to pass small, targeted bills to fund the National Institutes of Health, which would take care of the children-with-cancer problem, and the National Park Service, which would take care of the veterans-who-can't-visit-their-memorial problem. The House passed those bills Wednesday night and now lawmakers are waiting to see whether Senate Democrats will vote down measures to fund public health and the nation's historic and natural heritage. Reid's statements Wednesday suggested Democrats will do just that, but Republicans are waiting to see if they really do.
In any event, the small-bore bills are just a small-bore solution to part of the problem. There is still no government funding, and beyond the targeted measures, Republicans have no new ideas about what to do. One possibility is to pass yet another continuing resolution, this one with just one Obamacare measure attached to it. Perhaps it would be the repeal of the medical device tax, or perhaps it would be some variant of the Vitter Amendment, to forbid members of Congress and staff from receiving special subsidies when they purchase health insurance on the Obamacare exchanges. Maybe Democrats will finally accept one of those, some Republicans think, since there is clear and substantial Senate Democratic support for repealing the device tax, and clear and substantial public opposition to Congress making special deals for itself.
So perhaps Republicans will try one more continuing resolution, with just one attachment. It would fit the pattern. In the last week, House Republicans have made progressively weaker demands with the continuing resolutions they have passed, first to defund Obamacare entirely, then to delay it for a year, then to delay just the individual mandate, and now this. Perhaps the latest idea will work, although there's no real reason to think it will. And beyond talk about perhaps passing a continuing resolution with a non-Obamacare attachment -- maybe a measure to finally build the Keystone Pipeline -- Republicans don't have any other plans to fund the government.
Of course, the House GOP leadership could always decide to propose a "clean" continuing resolution that doesn't touch Obamacare, a move that insiders estimate would win the support of perhaps 175 of the House's 232 Republicans. With Democratic support, a clean measure would win overwhelming passage. But the leadership is apparently dead set against that, at least as the shutdown begins Day Three.
So what now? House Speaker John Boehner and leading Republicans like Paul Ryan and Dave Camp are apparently reviving the old goal of a "grand bargain" -- a budget deal that would include entitlement reforms, tax reform, and a new budget agreement, while also restoring government spending and raising the debt ceiling. The idea is that with the debt ceiling deadline coming up on October 17, Republicans and Democrats could fix all, or at least many, of their problems in one fell swoop.
Such "grand bargain" attempts have failed in the past, and there is little reason to believe one will succeed now. And not just because Obama and Democrats are intransigent, which they are. The fact is, this is October 3, meaning there are just two weeks before the nation hits the debt ceiling. Could Republicans get even their end of a "grand bargain" together in time? "Look at tax reform," said the GOP strategist. "If you took Democrats out of the mix entirely, I don't think Republicans could come up with a tax reform package by October 17. There is a huge range of opinion on what direction to take." The first "grand bargan" Republicans would have to reach would be among themselves.
Nevertheless, some Republicans are grasping at the idea that a "grand bargain" will somehow solve their problems. Meanwhile the shutdown goes on. Before October began, Republicans privately expressed the opinion that a shutdown of two or three days would probably be politically acceptable; after that, they said, the repercussions could be quite serious and entirely unpredictable. Now, some Republicans are talking about a shutdown that drags on while both sides work on a "grand bargain." It has become an attractive course mostly because GOP leadership, having rejected the option of passing a clean continuing resolution, simply doesn't have any other ideas on how to get out of the current mess.
Despite York's snarking about this, the real value of this story is that we can see how the GOPe is trying to weasel out of the stand they accidentally took. Unless it is made VERY obvious to them that their political careers are OVER if they do, they will absolutely 100% fold.
The GOPe is getting cold feet. We need to keep the pressure on!!
Why the so-called conservative pundits/journalists are so down on hope is beyond my willingness to understand.
The Republicans should put together a CR that eliminates all waivers to ObamaCare and stick to it.
Yes, and the media reports are 100% blaming the Republicans for the shutdown. They actually say that Obama and Reid won't negotiate and then blame the Republicans for the standoff. This is cognitive dissonance, but they deliver the diatribes with straight faces.
Cognitive dissonance implies that the individual has the faculties for cognition in the first place.
That’s strange, an article on The Hill has them saying the shutdown could last for weeks.
CALL THEIR LOCAL OFFICES!!! ENCOURAGE THEM!!
Byron York is a Quisling.
Why not follow the game plan outlined by Cruz? There is considerable precedent to send funding bills to the Senate piecemeal. I was furloughed in 1995, but my colleagues working for two different government agencies went to work. It was awful because we were not permitted to work for free; we had to stay home.
Piecemeal funding is a viable strategy because it puts the ball in the court of the Senate. Reid is already reacting hysterically; Obama, who always gets his way, is also unsettled. Why stop now?
Get funding for essential services and agencies over to the Senate. Explain to them that this is how it was done in 1995. That is how the congress operates, vs an Omnibus bill preferred by the Senate.
Explain to the Senate that the law says that spending bills originate in the House. Democrat Senators apparently do not do much reading.
He may be, but this is a measured article that actually acknowledges Democrat comments and actions that were so out-of-line as to be outright evil.
Thank you! I wish our Congressmen were as smart as FRiends !
And no, the Senate doesn’t read anything, they have to pass it before they can read it, like a fecal exam!
Wimp out alert.....the shutdown will be over by the weekend.
partisan media shills ping, thanks markomalley.
Divide and Conquer: Politico Cites Unnamed Republican Senator to Blast Cruz
Brietbart Big Journalism | October 2, 2013 | Ben Shapiro
Posted on 10/03/2013 12:49:55 AM PDT by Cincinatus’ Wife
York edited out the most important part of Reid’s comment.
“Why would we want to do that?” i.e. fund NIH which treats children with cancer.
With “friends” like Byron York, who needs enemies?
Funny: The Washington Examiner at the outset appeared to be genuinely conservative inside-the-Beltway media outlet, but it has now obviously gone over to the dark side and is no longer worth the mouse clicks required to read it. There is something in the water or the air inside the Beltway that turns (almost*) everyone into Progressive-loving zombies.
*Ted Cruz and Louie Gohmert seem to remain unaffected by this mysterious “substance,” however.
Boehner has to put on a show to pretend he’s fighting for us after Ted Cruz manned up for the fight last week, but couldn’t get any backup from the RINO’s in the Senate.
Cruz took the mantle of leadership last week and Boehner is trying to get it back and flailing badly with his usual wimpy RINO tactics.
A candidate (J.D Winteregg) has announced that he will be challenging Boehner in the Republican primary next year.
Boehner needs to tell Reid that when Reid & Obama are ready to reopen government, call him. Otherwise, Pubs have submitted all the CRs they intend to submit.
As the party of big government, the Rats are losing so much more than the Pubs with this shutdown. The shutdown gives us the smaller government we want, & highlights how well this country functions without all these nonessential bureaucrats. The vast majority of those furloughed are Liberals. Further down the line, we will learn of the billions SAVED during the shutdown.
For me, the government can remain in partial shutdown indefinitely - months if necessary to force Obama & Reid to negotiate.
Obama's PR gimmicks blew-up testerday, their standard trope "it's for the chillllldren" was stabbed to death by dingy harry, the Wall street "fat cats" called obamam on the carpet yesterday and have you checked out the MSM websites? Comments are running 80/20 against the kenyan.
I agree with your assessment. Also, we all need to be out on the MSM sites supporting our team! We can’t stay holed up on FR and expect someone else to help. Let’s do our part and fight the fight on the social networks!