September, 2013

Moderate Rebellion Fizzles

National Review: “The size of a bloc of GOP moderates ready to bring down a vote on the House floor over the government funding bill shriveled from 25 lawmakers on Saturday to just two when the House voted just now to pass the rule… The episode is a reminder of how congressional centrists aren’t as reliable as ideological warriors when it comes to keeping threats. But it also took a personal appeal from Speaker John Boehner and the particular circumstances of the vote to sway the group.”

How We Got Here

Jonathan Chait: “If you want to grasp why Republicans are careening toward a potential
federal government shutdown, and possibly toward provoking a sovereign
debt crisis after that, you need to understand that this is the
inevitable product of a conscious party strategy. Just as Republicans
responded to their 2008 defeat by moving farther right, they responded
to the 2012 defeat by moving right yet again. Since they had begun from a
position of total opposition to the entire Obama agenda, the newer
rightward lurch took the form of trying to wrest concessions from Obama
by provoking a series of crises.”

Moderate Republicans Revolt

“For almost three years, the story in the House has been about Speaker John Boehner’s restive right flank causing him problems. But Republican moderates have apparently had enough,” National Review reports.

“In what is by far their boldest stand since the GOP took control of the House in 2010, a group of them are threatening to bring down a vote on the rule for the government-funding bill scheduled for 6:30 p.m…. The group told leadership on Saturday they have 25 members who are willing to bring down the rule.”

Politico: “If no Democrats vote for the rule, Boehner can only lose 17 Republicans to sink the plan.”

Update: The “revolt” fizzled with only six Republicans voting against the rule.

How 30 House Republicans Took Control of Their Caucus

Byron York: “In the continuing resolution fight, it is the 30 most committed members, along with their 20-30 allies in the next-most-committed group, who are setting the House Republican agenda. The ones pushing for a fight over Obamacare, even if it leads to a shutdown, are controlling what the House does.”

“Which has led to the question: How can 30 Republicans beat 200 Republicans? How does that work?”

“There are two answers. One, the Republican majority in the House is fairly narrow. And two, Democrats have been extraordinarily unified in opposing GOP proposals.”

Candidate Endorses Construction Firm

Tom Emmer (R), who is seeking the GOP nomination in Minnesota’s 6th congressional district, has filmed an advertisement in which he touts his candidacy and endorses a construction firm.

Politics in Minnesota: “Former Federal Elections Commission general counsel Larry Noble said the possibility of the ad running afoul of campaign finance regulations would depend on the financial arrangements made between the candidate and the company. To his way of thinking, Emmer’s labeling himself a candidate for office and the appearance of the ‘Emmer for Congress’ sign mean the commercial should qualify as an advertisement for Emmer, and money spent on the ad should be disclosed as a campaign contribution.”

Will Boehner Risk His Job to Avoid a Shutdown?

Rick Klein: “In three notable occasions as speaker – around the fiscal cliff debate, Sandy storm relief, and extending the Violence Against Women Act – Boehner has gone against a majority of his own conference and relied on Democrats to get something major done.”

“Boehner survived each of those episodes for an important reason: Most of his colleagues realized, at least privately, that he was doing what was right for the greater good of the party. He didn’t act too quickly, or before his GOP colleagues were largely ready for him to act.”

“To that point, it’s worth paying attention to efforts that have begun among rank-and-file Republicans to walk the party back from this brink.”

Senate Rejects House Amendments

“The Senate voted to table House amendments intended to delay Obamacare and repeal a medical device tax,” Roll Call reports.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) “wasted no time when the Senate came in Monday at 2 p.m. He made the motion, which cannot be filibustered, without any debate.”

Meanwhile, Roll Call reports Republicans “will attempt to re-amend a stopgap spending bill with a one-year delay of Obamacare’s individual mandate and a provision eliminating health benefits for members of Congress and their staff.”

Why a Shutdown Will Be Worse for Republicans This Time

Noam Scheiber: “As 2011 showed, the pre-showdown and post-showdown worlds bear almost no resemblance to one another. Before the two parties plunge into an all-out confrontation, the story mostly resides inside-the-Beltway, followed primarily by well-informed, politically engaged voters. These are the people who would know that Republican Senators like Coburn and Burr (and their reliably anti-Tea Party colleagues, like John McCain and Bob Corker) have been critical of House conservatives. But once the battle is joined–once we’re officially into the payroll tax standoff or the shutdown–the media covers it breathlessly, and like a national story, not a political one. It leads the evening news (both national and local); it seizes newspaper headlines across the country; it works its way into late night talk-show routines. The amount of damage you sustain when members of your own party are sniping at you amid this sort of media glare is simply impossible to imagine beforehand.”

“So go ahead, Tea Partiers. Shut down the government. But when you do, just keep in mind that 1996 is the favorable scenario. The throttling you’re now courting is likely to be a whole lot worse.”

The DNC is Nearly Broke

Fortune: “There’s another budget crisis in Washington, and it’s unfolding inside the Democratic party. The Democratic National Committee remains so deeply in the hole from spending in the last election that it is struggling to pay its own vendors… The Democrats’ numbers speak for themselves: through August, ten months after helping President Obama secure a second term, the DNC owed its various creditors a total of $18.1 million, compared to the $12.5 million cash cushion the Republican National Committee is holding.”

Are Republicans Worried Obamacare Will Work?

Kurt Eichenwald: “At this point, it has become obvious that history will look back on the four-year war on Obamacare as one of the saddest, most bizarre, and most dishonestly embarrassing episodes of our time. I have given up trying to understand the vehement opposition of so many who cannot offer up truthful reasons for their objections, and instead fuel the hatred and fears of the uninformed with the most illogical, mendacious, and fundamentally bizarre arguments that have ever been marshaled. By comparison, Joe McCarthy’s McCarthyistic McCarthyism was an exercise in reason…”

“So, what accounts for the current, last-ditch, fumbling-fuming on the part of the G.O.P. to stop Obamacare, going so far as to threaten a shutdown of the government in an effort to overturn the clear voice of the American people that was expressed in the last election? It’s hard to say. But I think I have an answer: The lies are about to be exposed. And the Republicans are terrified of what the country will think when the veil of mendacity is torn away.”