GOP Plan Would Address Debt Ceiling, But Keep Government Shutdown Going

Republicans appear to be uniting behind a short-term plan to deal with the debt ceiling, but seem okay with keeping the government shutdown going forward.

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House Republicans appear to be uniting behind a new proposal that would offer a short-term, relatively “clean” increase in the debt ceiling as a means of buying time for opposing parties on Capitol Hill and at the White House to attempt to come to terms on a longer term fiscal deal:

The partisan logjam that has paralyzed the capital showed signs of easing Wednesday, as conservative Republicans warmed to the idea of a short-term increase in the country’s borrowing limit and House GOP leaders prepared for their first meeting with President Barack Obama since the government shutdown began.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), chairman of the House Budget Committee, outlined a plan Wednesday to fellow conservatives to extend the nation’s borrowing limit for four to six weeks, paired with a framework for broader deficit-reduction talks, according to lawmakers briefed on the proposal. The greater the spending reduction the talks produced, the longer the next extension of the debt ceiling would be under Mr. Ryan’s plan.

Top House Republicans prepared to head to the White House Thursday to discuss the issues underlying the standoff that has resulted in the nine-day partial government shutdown and that now threatens the country’s ability to borrow.

The White House said the session isn’t a negotiation, in keeping with Mr. Obama’s demand that lawmakers raise the debt ceiling and fully reopen the government without conditions before policy talks are held. But the meeting may allow House Republicans to say they had a policy conversation with the president, which they have been saying is a condition of resolving the impasse.

Mr. Ryan’s proposal for a short-term debt-limit increase drew broad support from conservatives at the Capitol Hill meeting, according to lawmakers who attended. Republicans leaving the closed-door session expressed support for a short-term measure even if it doesn’t address the 2010 health-care law. Conservatives’ efforts to curtail the law sparked the shutdown.

“It may make more sense to avoid back-to-back financial crises,” said Rep. Kevin Brady (R., Texas), referring to the government shutdown and debt-ceiling deadline. “We may need some extra time to pull the right package together.”

There are similar reports of such a proposed deal coming this morning From The New York Times, National Journaland The Washington Post. There are two things that are notable about these reports. First, much like Paul Ryan’s proposal, which I wrote about yesterday, it completely ignores the Obamacare issue that had set off the events we’ve been dealing with for the past three weeks or so. Indeed, Erick Erickson reported that his sources are saying that the House GOP Leadership is essentially giving up on that fight for now. Second, it appears from all reports that the plan that the GOP is looking at right now, which obviously won’t be presented either privately to Democrats or publicly unless it ends up getting endorsed by the GOP Caucus later this morning, only deals with the debt ceiling and would basically leave the government shutdown going forward as if it were an issue that would have to be discussed either separately or as a part of the longer term negotiations that this reported plan contemplates. This last point is important because, while the White House has hinted over the past 24 hours that the President would be willing to sign on to a short-term increase in the debt ceiling as long as it was “clean, it’s unclear how they’d react to a plan that focused only on the debt ceiling and allowed the government shutdown going.

Assuming Boehner and the House GOP Leadership get sufficient backing from the caucus in their meeting today, this is presumably something that will be presented to President Obama during their meeting with him late this afternoon. Originally, the White House had invited all 232 Republican Congressmen to attend this meeting, but Speaker Boehner apparently decided that only the leadership and the heads of the relevant committees (i.e., Budget and Appropriations) would be attending. While some in the media have interpreted this is some kind of a snub of the President, or an effort to control the debate, I actually think its kind of wise. To the extent that such a meeting is going to accomplish anything productive, it does no good for people like Louie Gohmert, Steve King, and Michele Bachmann, all of whom have expressed nothing but contempt for the President, to attend. If anything productive is going to come out of this today, it’s best to leave it in the hands of the adults.

As is always true with this matter, the devil is in the details. However, taken in context with yesterday’s Ryan Op-Ed, it’s clear that the GOP is doing the best it can at this point to get shake off the “defund Obamacare” albatross that Ted Cruz hung around them when this whole mess started. What’s unclear to me, though, is whether even a short term deal can happen if it doesn’t also include something to deal with the government shutdown.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Deficit and Debt, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. john personna says:

    The Republicans are damaging themselves with a plan of the day, and a leader of the day.

    And this:

    Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), chairman of the House Budget Committee, outlined a plan Wednesday to fellow conservatives to extend the nation’s borrowing limit for four to six weeks, paired with a framework for broader deficit-reduction talks, according to lawmakers briefed on the proposal. The greater the spending reduction the talks produced, the longer the next extension of the debt ceiling would be under Mr. Ryan’s plan.

    Does not look terribly attractive as a “negotiation.”

    Four to six weeks of steady as she goes, during which sensible compromise may emerge?

    Pull the other one.

  2. C. Clavin says:

    The extortionists seem to be negotiating with themselves.
    A sure sign of weakness.

  3. Jen says:

    So, all the essential workers currently on the job without being paid will continue to not be paid. Meanwhile, we get to go through this circus again right around Thanksgiving?

    It might be the only way to get the ball rolling, but boy is this ugly.

  4. Rob in CT says:

    4 to 6 weeks? Seriously?

    “Ok, ok, ok. We agree to hold off shooting the hostage for a month or so.”

    I see what they’re trying to do, obviously. The debt ceiling issue is much more objectionable than the government shutdown (though I object to both).

    Also, note that the purported objective is deficit reduction talks, with no mention of what the Democrats might get. In his op-ed, he at least floated the possibility of increased spending today in exchange for cuts tomorrow (which is something the Dems might accept). I don’t see that here. If the Republicans are actually serious about negotiation, they have to be willing to accept something the Dems want… beyond just having the government open and not defaulting (for now!). I’ve been supportive of the Great White Whale Grand Bargain idea in the past, and I’m not exactly opposed now, but I don’t see how it can work without a mix of tax increases and spending cuts. Can anyone in the GOP – Boehner, Ryan, whoever… commit to a deal that includes more revenue?

  5. James Pearce says:

    the House GOP Leadership is essentially giving up on that fight for now.

    As they should. That fight was never winnable anyway.

    “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.” Sun Tzu wrote that over two thousand years ago.

    Speaker Boehner apparently decided that only the leadership and the heads of the relevant committees (i.e., Budget and Appropriations) would be attending.

    A surprisingly good call from the Speaker.

    It’s actually comical at this point. No Obamacare? White House meetings, despite all the “Obama won’t negotiate” spin. A deal on the debt limit? You gotta hand it to the GOP.

    They can be nothing but a bucket of fail but you’ll never see them admit they got “shellacked.”

  6. C. Clavin says:

    I’m a little confused…this started out to be about denying sick people health care. The whole Ted Cruz 21 hour Phony-buster and all that.
    Now it’s about something else?
    WTF?
    Do the Republitards even know what it is they want?
    And Ryan is now the leader? Ryan has put an end to every negotiated deal so far…Simpson Bowles, the Gang of 6, the Grand Bargain. He’s the one who has stopped them all. Now he’s ready to deal? And anyone should believe that, why?
    I know Doug takes Republicans at their word by blind faith…but rational people shouldn’t.

  7. john personna says:

    @Jen:

    Remember, the real absurdity is that furloughed workers will be paid later, for work that they aren’t doing now.

    So let’s “shut down” and “save money” by paying anyway and getting nothing.

    (I suppose some things like overtime not worked will never be paid, or national guard exercises not run.)

  8. Woody says:

    I think some of the GOP struggle to master the narrative stems from the fact that they’ve been doing this since (arguably) Reagan or (inarguably) Clinton; and the novelty is long gone. They’ve jumped the shark.

    Along with this: they’ve lost their lead stars, and their replacements aren’t cutting it – particularly because the average citizen isn’t “getting ahead” like they were in the ’90s. It’s a bit like doing schtick from the late 1920s in a 1934 environment.

  9. al-Ameda says:

    Another “no compromise” compromise.
    They want to keep this show going for soundbites and photo-ops.

  10. Rafer Janders says:

    Every day this story is turning more and more into “The Ransom of Red Chief.” Give it another two weeks and the Republicans will be paying us to turn the government back on…..

  11. john personna says:

    The Plum Line:

    This is a neat illustration of the basic disconnect here. GOP leaders won’t allow default — and are explicitly proving it right now by coalescing around a clean debt limit increase. Many conservatives prefer to use the shutdown as leverage against Obamacare. And yet, Republicans still won’t let go of using the debt limit as leverage to force other concessions later because … well, just because.

    Sargent seems pleased that default is off the table, but tired of the fact that it is “always on the table” for Republicans.

  12. john personna says:

    As C. Calvin says, negotiating with themselves:

    It really now appears to be only about staging a hostage crisis for its own sake. As Steve Benen details, Republicans are, if anything, only backing down steadily from one stand and set of demands after another.

  13. Jen says:

    @john personna: True, and good point. I will admit I do feel the worst for those deemed essential, who are working and not getting paid now. Showing up for work every day and yet not having the money to pay the rent or mortgage based on an IOU that who knows when is coming–would not leave me in a very good mood at all.

    The whole thing is just so appalling.

  14. anjin-san says:

    Mike Lee’s numbers are taking a pounding in Utah

    The senator who spearheaded the campaign to defund the Affordable Care Act has seen his popularity sink at home, according to a poll released Wednesday.

    A little more than half of Utahns — 51 percent — said they have an unfavorable opinion of Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), the online poll from Brigham Young University showed. Only 40 percent said they have a favorable opinion of Lee, down from 50 percent in June.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/poll-obamacare-defunding-leader-mike-lee-sees-his-popularity-dip-sharply-at-home

  15. Rob in CT says:

    It’s amazing in a way. Not too long ago – a month, two? Mike Lee put out what appeared to be a non-crazy tax reform idea (though it was, as is often the case, a little short on some important details). But on the ACA he’s full metal wingnut.

  16. Surreal American says:

    So now they finally admit it. This is a GOP/Tea Party shutdown after all.

  17. C. Clavin says:

    The President has made clear that he will not pay a ransom for Congress doing its job and paying our bills. It is better for economic certainty for Congress to take the threat of default off the table for as long as possible, which is why we support the Senate Democrats’ efforts to raise the debt limit for a year with no extraneous political strings attached. The President also believes that the Republican Leadership in the House should allow for an up or down vote on the clean continuing resolution passed by the Senate that would pass with a bipartisan majority to reopen the government. Once Republicans in Congress act to remove the threat of default and end this harmful government shutdown, the President will be willing to negotiate on a broader budget agreement to create jobs, grow the economy, and put our fiscal house in order. While we are willing to look at any proposal Congress puts forward to end these manufactured crises, we will not allow a faction of the Republicans in the House to hold the economy hostage to its extraneous and extreme political demands. Congress needs to pass a clean debt limit increase and a funding bill to reopen the government.

  18. anjin-san says:

    Head Start programs have been shuttered, small businesses can’t get loans and hundreds of thousands of federal government employees are furloughed. But the exclusive gyms available only to members of Congress have remained open throughout the shutdown.

    A House aide confirmed to ThinkProgress that the House member’s gym is open. The House gym features a swimming pool, basketball courts, paddleball courts, a sauna, a steam room and flat screen TVs. While towel service is unavailable, taxpayers remain on the hook for cleaning and maintenance, which has been performed daily throughout the shutdown. There are also costs associated with the power required to heat the pools and keep the lights on.

    According to the aide, the decision to keep the gym open – even while other critical government services were shelved — came directly from Speaker Boehner’s office. Meanwhile, the staff gym available to Congressional staff has been closed.

    http://billmoyers.com/2013/10/08/gyms-for-congress-deemed-‘essential’-remain-open-during-shutdown/

  19. David M says:

    Raising the debt ceiling is the right thing to do, although the short 6 week extension indicates to me that the GOP are petulant whiners and may retake the hostage if they don’t get what they want.

  20. Rob in CT says:

    @David M:

    Of course. The whole thing is farcical. The Dems may have to go along so as not to be seen as unreasonable, because most people either don’t know the background (the past ~7 months of ratf*ckery) or are consumers of alternative reality media.

    In six weeks, we’re probably going to be right back here.

  21. Scott says:

    The question is this: Will the President take this as the start of some kind of negotiation? I don’t think he should take the bait. However, if he does, then he needs to set the initial position as far away as possible form the Republicans. Such as: eliminate the debt ceiling, immediate reopening of the government, etc. He said he would never negotiate over the debt ceiling again. He needs to keep that position.

    Bottom line: What are the Republicans offering? As it stands now, nothing.

  22. michael reynolds says:

    Have I not been saying from Day 1 that this was not about Obamacare? It’s not about any policy. It’s not about the budget at all.

    It’s a cry of pure rage, fear, frustration and hate. That’s all it ever was.

    Now the GOP has to beg Obama for some tiny little face-saving something, anything. Anything that will allow them to pretend they’ve accomplished something with their imbecility.

  23. grumpy realist says:

    The Teahadist running against Cory Booker seems to have drunk some of the Unskewed coolaid: Lordy Lordy me….

  24. David M says:

    We may be giving the GOP more credit than they deserve, as there are reports indicating the GOP hasn’t decided what other provisions to attach to the increase and their proposal may prohibit the treasury from taking extraordinary measures to avoid the debt ceiling as well.

    If those two reports are true, then this proposal is meaningless.

  25. john personna says:

    @grumpy realist:

    “Teahadist” was a harsh construction, but it seems very apropos this week.

  26. C. Clavin says:

    @ Grumpy…
    So…what does mean when he loses to Booker????

  27. grumpy realist says:

    @C. Clavin: Obviously We Wuz Robbed!/Vote Fraud/ACORN/conspiracy of international communists, etc.

    These nitwits are sounding more and more like the President of Venezuela, who is now wildly throwing out all sorts of conspiracy theories to distract Venezuelans from the fact that their economy is falling like a rock and that he’s an absolutely absymal leader.

  28. john personna says:

    Incensed that House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) are reportedly abandoning the effort to defund or delay the Affordable Care Act, RedState.com editor Erick Erickson predicted Thursday that Republican leadership is providing fertile ground for the rise of a “real third party movement” that will split the GOP.

    It would be fun, if it weren’t for the whole economy in the wringer thing.

  29. anjin-san says:

    If those two reports are true, then this proposal is meaningless.

    If Boehner screws this up, there will probably be a 500-700 point swing in the DJIA. That might get people’s attention.

  30. C. Clavin says:

    @ JP…
    Sullivan wonders if this is

    “…their last act as a viable political party…”

    http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2013/10/10/kicking-catastrophe-down-the-road/

  31. michael reynolds says:

    @john personna:

    Sure, because when your party fails to accomplish the impossible it’s a good idea to start a new party demanding the impossible.

  32. stonetools says:

    Current GOP ploy:
    “Don’t like the terms of the previous ransom note? Here’s a new one.” That’s what counts as “negotiation” by the GOP.
    IMO, a lot of this has been encouraged by Obama’s poor negotiating tactics. He has always posed as the “adult in the room”, always willing to “lead” by offering unilateral concessions upfront and eager to compromise at the slightest sign that the GOP is willing to moderate its demands. Now Beltway pundits love this and always praise the President for exercising “leadership” when he does this, but this rewards Republican intransigence. Republicans have been used to the President caving at the first sign of Republican orneriness , so now they don’t believe the President when he says he won’t negotiate. Indeed, why should they? He’s always caved in the past.
    IMO, it was a mistake for Obama to even hint he would agree to a short term hike. Note that instantly the idea of a long term CR deal is gone. It’s just taken for granted by the press and the Republicans that the negotiation is now only about a short term CR.
    I would suggest that the President after a couple of days, just say that the offer of signing a short term CR, which was meant to prompt the Republicans into actually negotiating, is now withdrawn. The President should go on to say that he is not participating in any further negotiations and that he is leaving further negotiations in the capable hands of the Democratic Congressional leaders, as envisaged by the Constitution. Frankly, as a liberal, I trust Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi as negotiators in this situation much more than I do Obama. If there is going to be a knifefight, then you need a knifefighter in there , not a “responsible adult”.

  33. Jeremy R says:

    The insanity of this, considering how long even regular order budget negotiations typically take (w/ the added duration of previous “Grand Bargain” panel negotiations) is this would essentially be the GOP saying, for no reason beside leverage, that they’re totally OK with precipitating what will likely be the longest government shutdown in history. The media has humored the Republicans with their bleating out evidence free conspiracy theories about the pain they’ve ordered being carried too far in a few places they’ve hypocritically decided to care about, but that same media is now so sanguine about the concept of that hardship extended a month, that they’re celebrating this plan as some wondrous “breakthrough.”

  34. Rob in CT says:

    @stonetools:

    You know, I get upset sometimes about Obama’s negotation tactics. I really do. But…

    He’s operating under some constraints:

    1) The public is a mixture of uninformed and misinformed, and even when he gives a tour de force press conference explaining things (like he did recently re: the debt ceiling), it doesn’t have much impact. The Bully Pulpit really is of limited utility;
    2) The media is still largely addicted to “both sides do it” reporting;
    3) He’s black and the FIRST so he’s gotta be extra careful (or at least I think he believes this to be the case); and
    4) POTUS is expected – not just by dummy pundits, but by many in the public – to be the “responsible adult” whereas congresscritters are allowed to be bomb-throwers.

    So yeah, I too worry about too many concessions. I always do. I’d worry about it with Reid too, really. Or any Democrat. My fear is lessening somewhat, as it really does appear that the Dems have rediscovered their spines. But the fear is always there somewhere.

    I don’t think O can say what you want him to say. There will be far too much crying about him punting to Congress (yes, I know, I know, but that’s the narrative that will come out). Remember when he stepped back from the PPACA design? Oy.

  35. Rob in CT says:

    http://www.nationaljournal.com/washington-inside-out/congress-must-stop-using-default-as-a-weapon-20131009?mrefid=HomepageRiver

    How do we get out of this mess? We know it won’t be easy, and we know that there is a tangible chance that we will default. As a top House Republican staffer told National Review’s Robert Costa the other day, “It’s the House of indecision. We don’t have the votes for a big deal, small deal, or short-term deal.” I will get to one possible way out, but first I need to vent. To begin, this is entirely an engineered crisis perpetrated by House Republicans with Senate allies, hatched, as we now know, by outside individuals and groups including Ed Meese, Heritage Action, and the Koch brothers. We know that John Boehner really did not want a shutdown, and that he had agreed to a clean continuing resolution after Senate Democrats capitulated in entirety to his party’s demands on appropriations—meaning a continuation of the sequester and the much lower overall spending numbers of the Ryan budget (including higher spending for defense.)

    But Ted Cruz and Boehner’s own radical House faction pushed the speaker to renege on that deal and instead demand the defunding of Obamacare as a condition for keeping the government open. Boehner did not ask that some portions of the government—including the World War II Memorial, death benefits for families of servicemen and women, NIH cancer trials—be kept open. He and his allies made clear that his demands applied to all government covered by appropriations. Trying to wriggle out of this untenable situation, Boehner tried to mollify his radicals by suggesting instead that their demands be tied to the debt ceiling—and we ended up with the worst of both worlds.

    I have had some sympathy for Boehner, who is being buffeted by forces in his party beyond his control, with any attempt at leadership thwarted by a lack of followership. But my sympathy for him disappeared after his utterly disingenuous press conference Tuesday. The speaker talked about how all he wanted was to have a conversation and negotiation over spending issues, and that the failure to do so was un-American—this from the same speaker who, since the Senate adopted a budget several months ago, has steadfastly refused to appoint conferees to negotiate over the budget, after years of insisting that was all he wanted. The speaker suggested in his press conference that a clean CR, as proposed by President Obama, would mean total capitulation by Republicans—capitulation to the numbers he demanded!

    The bottom line here is that we need some kind of agreement that will reopen the government and stop a downward spiral that uses default as a genuine and frightening political weapon. Realistically, qua Negotiation 101, it must provide the president, the speaker, and the Senate majority leader with the ability to declare victory or at least to avoid the perception of utter defeat. The two houses, two parties, and the president will still have to deal with one another on a myriad of issues for the next 40 months.

    Negotiation now requires a cooling-off period—a clean extension of the debt ceiling, and a temporary CR. Then a reopening of the government for the year, with the understanding that a new commission will be established to discuss big long-term debt issues, is feasible.

    But any concession by the president that is tied to a short-term CR or a short-term extension of the debt ceiling would be disastrous. Basic functions of government and the full faith and credit of the U.S. would become regular instruments of extortion in the future, resulting in periodic displays of American dysfunction and incompetence to the world, with serious economic consequences. But a concession on a different agenda—to take the debt ceiling permanently off the table as a hostage—is well worth it. What Obama needs to offer now is a proposal to make permanent 2011’s onetime “McConnell Rule.” Under that procedure, devised by the minority leader, the president could unilaterally raise the debt limit and Congress could have the option of blocking it by way of a resolution of disapproval. The president, in turn, could veto the resolution of disapproval; a vote of two-thirds of both houses would be required to override the veto.

    In return for that action, if the president agreed to remove the tax on medical devices (and replace it with another source of revenue to help fund Obamacare), or agreed to some additional malpractice reform—neither action hitting at any essential core parts of the health care law—it would be a win-win. If, in addition, Boehner simply accepted yes for an answer on reopening the government, attaining the Ryan budget numbers, we could all move past this embarrassing crisis. At that point, maybe we could craft a process that manages the budget process in a less destructive way.

    I do like the idea of taking the debt ceiling off the table in perpetuity (or nearly so) – a lot. There are two problems I have with this:

    1) This involves the Democrats giving concessions to get something both parties should theoretically want – and end to playing around with fire. So it’s still a bit of the adult placating the toddler with candy. That said, the suggested concessions are minor, which leads me to…

    2) I think Mr. Ornstein’s suggested concessions would be viewed by Republicans as not *nearly* enough to surrender the hostage forever. The response would be “give us more” and now we’re – guess what! – negotiating over the debt ceiling.

    So, in the end, no. Bad idea. I did like the opening venting though.

  36. David M says:

    @Rob in CT:

    Bring back the Gephart Rule at a minimum, although abolishing the limit would be better.

  37. Rob in CT says:

    @David M:

    For a more plainspoken account, I turned to the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Steve Bell, a Republican policy expert and former staff director for the Senate Budget Committee. “Because the debt ceiling was such a powder keg,” Bell said, “the Majority Leader had a rule that said, ‘If you pass a budget resolution, you will be deemed to have passed whatever debt extension is necessary to accommodate that resolution.’”

    How incredibly obvious (and arguably superior to just handing it over to the President). When did this die?

    Oh, yes…

    When Democrats lost the House in 1995, however, their reform left the scene with them. Republican newcomers relished the opportunity to cast ceremonial votes against “ballooning debt,” and decoupled the budget from the debt ceiling.

  38. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Rob in CT:

    So yeah, I too worry about too many concessions. I always do. I’d worry about it with Reid too, really. Or any Democrat.

    Not Pelosi. The Republicans hate her for good reason. What ever else one may say about her, she knows how to twist the knife once she has found a vital organ.

  39. David M says:

    If the House passes a clean bill raising the debt ceiling for six weeks, I think the Senate should pass it and the President should sign it.

    I do not think the House Democrats should help the GOP pass the bill if it’s only for six weeks though. Long term, sure, but a six week extension isn’t worth it.

  40. Rob in CT says:

    @David M:

    I agree six weeks is absurd, but the Dems do have to be careful about maintaining the high ground (as viewed by a largely uninformed/misinformed public).

  41. Todd says:

    @john personna:

    Incensed that House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) are reportedly abandoning the effort to defund or delay the Affordable Care Act, RedState.com editor Erick Erickson predicted Thursday that Republican leadership is providing fertile ground for the rise of a “real third party movement” that will split the GOP.

    This is something you won’t hear me say often, but I really wish that Erick Erirckson ends up being right, and there really is true effort to form a Tea Party. Hell, I’d consider regsitering as a Republican if all the Conservatives had a place to call their own. I think that letting/forcing these radicals to split off would be good for the Republican party, and great for the country.

  42. David M says:

    @Rob in CT:

    I don’t disagree. The House Democrats shouldn’t kill the six week extension, but they shouldn’t provide the majority of the votes for a GOP bill either. If the GOP wants a mickey mouse extension, they need to be the ones to provide the votes.

    I’m not entirely sure a six week extension is improvement over the current impasse.

  43. Rob in CT says:

    @Todd:

    Great for the country, terrible for the GOP at least in the short-term. Unless/until the Democrats also split, it would lead to landslide Dem wins. Which I’d like, at least at first.

    @David M:

    If the GOP wants a mickey mouse extension, they need to be the ones to provide the votes.

    I’d worry, at least a little, about the “optics” of House Dems voting aganist a debt limit extension (yes, 6 weeks is absurd. But then they’d have to explain it, as GOPers brayed about how they were doing the responsible thing). Plus, if an extension passed via bipartisan vote, with a faction of the GOP against, you might see intensification of the GOP infighting. Bonus!

  44. David M says:

    @Rob in CT:

    Not necessarily even voting against the bill, just making sure that it’s passed with GOP votes. Passing a six week extension with primarily Democratic votes shouldn’t be an option.

    Dragging the GOP back to reality isn’t nothing. Besides, if Boehner has to provide a lot of GOP votes, maybe they’ll see how having to do it again in 6 weeks is pointless and go for a longer one.

  45. al-Ameda says:

    @john personna:

    Incensed that House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) are reportedly abandoning the effort to defund or delay the Affordable Care Act, RedState.com editor Erick Erickson predicted Thursday that Republican leadership is providing fertile ground for the rise of a “real third party movement” that will split the GOP.

    Yes, they could call themselves the “Death Panel Party” or, if they run into copyright issues, the “Stupid Party.”

  46. Todd says:

    @Rob in CT: I’m not so sure, in the very short term it would definitely be a boon for the Democrats. But I think there are a lot of people (like me) who really don’t feel like they have a party that represents them well. Right now I tend to support the Democrats more often than not, but that has much more to do with them not being temper tantrum throwing 3 years olds, than their policies necessarily aligning with my own views.

    Without the radical absolutists, I think there really is a void in our country’s politics that a truly centrist, or even right-center Republican party could fill.

  47. Facebones says:

    @Rob in CT:

    I’d worry, at least a little, about the “optics” of House Dems voting aganist a debt limit extension (yes, 6 weeks is absurd. But then they’d have to explain it, as GOPers brayed about how they were doing the responsible thing).

    Isn’t there an option where a member can just vote “present?” I think the Dems did this last year in an attempt to have the house pass (and own) a draconian Paul Ryan spending plan.

    EDIT: Ah, here it is. Thanks, Google:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/2chambers/post/in-surprise-move-house-democrats-vote-present-on-conservative-budget-forcing-republicans-hand/2011/04/15/AFAgKbjD_blog.html

  48. Christopher M says:

    Anybody seen the WSJ/NBC poll yet? This dog is clearly NOT going to hunt, if the poll is any indication. It’s brutal.

    Here’s Daniel Larison’s take on it, from TAC.