Posts Tagged Mitch McConnell
At 11th Hour, G.O.P. Blinks in Standoff
Doug Mills/The New York Times
Speaker John A. Boehner, Republican of Ohio, emerged from a meeting with Republican House members on Thursday.
Published: October 16, 2013
WASHINGTON — Congressional Republican leaders conceded defeat Wednesday in their budget fight with President Obama over the new health care law, agreeing to support a reopening of the government and a lifting of the nation’s borrowing authority in exchange for future budget negotiations.
Speaker John A. Boehner, the leader of conservative House Republicans whose push to strip money for the health law led to the shuttering of much of the government on Oct. 1, said that the House would not block a bipartisan agreement reached in the Senate that yielded virtually no concessions to the Republicans.
“The fight will continue,” Mr. Boehner said in a statement. “But blocking the bipartisan agreement reached today by members of the Senate will not be a tactic for us.”
The decision came about 24 hours before the Treasury was due to exhaust its borrowing authority, putting the nation on the brink of a default. Mr. Boehner had earlier told colleagues privately that he would not allow the nation to default.
Under the agreement, the government would be funded through Jan. 15, and the debt ceiling would be raised until Feb. 7. The Senate will take up a separate motion to instruct House and Senate negotiators to reach accord by Dec. 13 on a long-term blueprint for tax and spending policies over the next decade.
Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, stressed that under the deal, which he negotiated with Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, budget cuts extracted in the 2011 fiscal showdown were not reversed, as some Democrats had wanted, a slim reed that not even he claimed as a significant victory.
The deal, Mr. McConnell said, “is far less than many of us hoped for, quite frankly, but far better than what some had sought.”
“It’s time for Republicans to unite behind other crucial goals,” he added.
With Senate Republican hard-liners promising cooperation, the Senate is expected to move first. Progress slowed as the deal’s framework was being translated into detailed legislative language. The Senate vote was expected in the early evening. The House would then follow, with a final vote likely around midnight.
Earlier, a Democratic leader had said the Senate would provide the legislative language to the House, which would vote first.
Chastened Senate Republicans said they hoped the outcome would be a learning experience for lawmakers in the House and the Senate who shut down the government in hopes of gutting Mr. Obama’s signature domestic achievement, the Affordable Care Act. Instead of using the twin deadlines of an end to government funding and borrowing authority to address the drivers of the federal deficit, conservatives focused on a law they could never undo as long as Mr. Obama is president, several senators said.
“We took some bread crumbs and left an entire meal on the table,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina. “This has been a really bad two weeks for the Republican Party.”
Senator Richard Burr, Republican of North Carolina, took a swipe at Senators Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, and Mike Lee, Republican of Utah, as well as House members who linked further funding of the government to gutting the health care law, which is financed by its own designated revenues and spending cuts.
“Let’s just say sometimes learning what can’t be accomplished is an important long-term thing,” Mr. Burr said, “and hopefully for some of the members they’ve learned it’s impossible to defund mandatory programs by shutting down the federal government.”
But while Mr. Cruz conceded defeat, he did not express contrition.
“Unfortunately, the Washington establishment is failing to listen to the American people,” he said as he emerged from a meeting of Senate Republicans called to ratify the agreement.
Mr. Cruz promised not to use parliamentary tactics to block a final vote, raising hopes that the government will be opened and the debt ceiling will be lifted before Thursday, when the Treasury exhausts its borrowing authority.
“From our side, I don’t see any evidence of delay,” said Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky and a Cruz ally.
Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, said that Mr. Obama supported the compromise reached by the Senate leaders, and he urged lawmakers in both chambers to pass it quickly.
Mr. Carney said the agreement “achieves what’s necessary” to reopen the federal government after 16 days, and removes “the threat of economic brinksmanship” that raised the possibility of a government default.
“We leave parliamentary procedures to the Congress,” he said. “But we obviously hope that each house will be able to act swiftly. We are already on Day 16 of a wholly unnecessary shutdown of government.”
House Democrats remained confused and angry. On a scale of 1 to 10, “this is a 12,” in terms of ridiculousness, said Jackie Speier, Democrat of California. “This is like a preschool that’s gone awry. I’ve been in public office for 30 years, and I’ve never seen anything like it.”
- Boehner Urges G.O.P. Unity in ‘Epic Battle’ – NYTimes.com (mbcalyn.com)
- G.O.P. Blues: Another Farcical Day on Capitol Hill (newyorker.com)
- Senate Leaders Adding Final Touches to Budget Deal (online.wsj.com)
- G.O.P. Helps Americans Like Government – NYTimes.com (mbcalyn.com)
- House Republicans work on plan to lift debt limit (marketwatch.com)
- U.S. faces debt ceiling crash at stroke of midnight (cnn.com)
- Senators seek budget deal, House GOP effort flops (charlotteobserver.com)
- 11th-Hour Senate Fiscal Deal in Works (nytimes.com)
- Can Boehner sell emerging fiscal deal? (firstread.nbcnews.com)
- The blink. And the blink after that. (cannonfire.blogspot.com)
Senate leaders reach bipartisan debt deal
By Alan Fram
| ASSOCIATED PRESS
OCTOBER 16, 2013
JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
Republican Senator Ted Cruz said he won’t delay a vote on the debt deal.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic leader Harry Reid says Senate leaders have reached a bipartisan deal to avoid default and end the government shutdown, now in its 16th day.
Reid made the announcement at the start of the Senate session on Wednesday.
The deal would reopen the government through Jan. 15 and increase the nation’s borrowing authority through Feb. 7.
Reid thanked Republican leader Mitch McConnell for working out an agreement.
The Dow Jones industrial average soared on the news that the threat of default was easing, rising roughly 200 points by late morning.
Republican Senator Ted Cruz said he won’t delay a vote on the deal. Cruz had forced the shutdown by demanding that President Obama gut his health care law in exchange for a bill to keep the government running.
Cruz told reporters Wednesday that he would vote against the bill but wouldn’t use Senate delaying tactics to stall the legislation. The Texas senator has won praise from the tea party and other conservatives for his actions.
As the deal was taking shape, there was no official comment from the White House, although congressional officials said administration aides had been kept fully informed of the negotiations.
While the emerging deal could well meet resistance from conservatives in the Republican-controlled House, the Democratic Leader, Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, has signaled she will support the plan and her rank and file is expected to vote for it in overwhelming numbers.
That raised the possibility that more Democrats than Republicans would back it, potentially causing additional problems for House Speaker John Boehner as he struggles to manage his tea party-heavy majority.
Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte said she understood the legislation would first receive a vote in the House, an arrangement that would speed its way through Congress to President Barack Obama’s desk.
Speaker John Boehner and the House Republican leadership met in a different part of the Capitol to plan their next move. A spokesman, Michael Steel, said afterward that no decision had been made ‘‘about how or when a potential Senate agreement could be voted on in the House.’’
The developments came one day before the deadline Treasury Secretary Jack Lew had set for Congress to raise the current $16.7 trillion debt limit. Without action by lawmakers, he said, Treasury could not be certain it had the ability to pay bills as they come due.
In addition to raising the debt limit, the proposal would give lawmakers a vote to disapprove the increase. Obama would have the right to veto their opposition, ensuring he would prevail.
Despite initial Republican demands for the defunding of the health care law known as Obamacare, the pending agreement makes only one modest change in the program. It requires individuals and families seeking subsidies to purchase coverage to verify their incomes before qualifying.
There were some dire warnings from the financial world a day after the Fitch credit rating agency said it was reviewing its AAA rating on US government debt for possible downgrade.
John Chambers, chairman of Standard & Poor’s Sovereign Debt Committee, told ‘‘CBS This Morning’’ on Wednesday that a US government default on its debts would be ‘‘much worse than Lehman Brothers,’’ the investment firm whose 2008 collapse led to the global financial crisis.
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett told CNBC he doesn’t think the federal government will fail to pay its bills, but ‘‘if it does happen, it’s a pure act of idiocy.’’
Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, a tea party favorite, said he was not worried about the prospect of a US default.
‘‘We are going to service our debt,’’ he told CNN. ‘‘But I am concerned about all the rhetoric around this ….I’m concerned that it will scare the markets.’’
Boehner’s inability to produce a bill that could pass his own chamber likely means he will have to let the House vote on a Senate compromise, even if that means it would pass with strong Democratic and weak GOP support. House Republican leaders have tried to avoid that scenario for fear that it would threaten their leadership, and some Republicans worried openly about that.
‘‘Of all the damage to be done politically here, one of the greatest concerns I have is that somehow John Boehner gets compromised,’’ said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a former House member and a Boehner supporter.
The strains of the confrontation were showing among GOP lawmakers.
‘‘It’s time to reopen the government and ensure we don’t default on our debt,’’ Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash., said in a written statement. ‘‘I will not vote for poison pills that have no chance of passing the Senate or being signed into law.’’
- Ted Cruz Could Force a Debt Default By Himself (businessweek.com)
- The End of Debt-Ceiling Hostage Taking (dannyvinik.com)
- US Senate Leaders Resume Budget Negotiations as Clock Ticks Down (voanews.com)
- Ted Cruz Could Force a Debt Default All by Himself (origin-www.businessweek.com)
- Senate Debt-Limit Deal Emerging With Time Running Short (bloomberg.com)
- Senate leaders restart negotiations (politico.com)
- Hating Cruz for Standing Firm: ‘Go Ahead and Do It, Hotshot’ (cnsnews.com)
- Reid Slams House Debt-Cap Plan With Changes to Obamacare (bloomberg.com)
- Bridge Burning and Bridge Building (redstate.com)
- GAME ALMOST OVER: Boehner To Let The Senate Debt Ceiling Deal Come To The Floor (businessinsider.com)
On Monday that the shutdown/default-threat/Republican extortion plot was essentially over—it was just a matter of Harry Reid and his Republican counterpart, Mitch McConnell, hammering out the final details of a deal whose contours were coming into focus. Once they’d reached a deal, it would pass the Senate with a fair amount of bipartisan support. After which John Boehner would tearfully bring it to the floor of the House in defiance of the so-called Hastert Rule (requiring a majority of House Republicans to support a bill before it can come to a vote), possibly with some minor face-saving alteration that the Senate signaled it could accept.
Regrettably, I was wrong. As it happens, Reid and McConnell came very close to inking a deal Monday night, but then McConnell suspended their negotiations on Tuesday to give Boehner a chance at passing a bill, which promptly collapsed under the weight of his own ineptitude and your basic garden-variety House Republican lunacy, at which point Reid and McConnell resumed their negotiation over a deal that will soon pass the Senate and force Boehner’s hand. Which is to say, I missed the all-important “let’s briefly pause so Boehner can flail helplessly while the entire world looks on in horror before we officially end this thing” step in the process.
In retrospect, I’m not sure how I overlooked it. That final pathetic lurch is a tradition Boehner inaugurated during the fiscal cliff negotiation last December (recall “Plan B,” which Boehner also before it came to a vote in the House). There was every reason to believe he’d observe that same sacrament this time around.
But don’t mistake it for anything other than what it was: the final spasm of a still-fresh corpse, the corpse being the GOP’s legitimacy as a political entity, to say nothing of its negotiating position in this particular conflict. If Boehner had actually had the votes to pass a bill that reopened the government and raised the debt ceiling while enacting a few modest Republican priorities—which is to say, a bill that would have been taken seriously inside Washington and put Democrats in something of a bind—he would have done it days ago, in time to give himself some actual leverage. As Boehner , you’d “rather throw a grenade than catch a grenade.” But he didn’t have the votes. With his conservative members still lingering in a different dimension, and their peasant army of activists and moneymen declaring anything short of death to Obamacare a capitulation, it was utterly hopeless. Boehner, as is his wont, simply unpinned a grenade he knew he didn’t have the arm-strength to throw.
In the end, I’m rather relieved that this all happened Tuesday—still relatively early in the process as these things go. A few savvy congressional lamented that we’d lost an entire day while Boehner took a final lap around the mental institution he runs, possibly pushing the resolution of the showdown beyond Thursday. But if you size up the situation from a bit of a distance, you see that Boehner’s final farcical move almost certainly sped things up. Given that the House GOP almost always lurches away from the eventual solution at least once before swallowing its pride and allowing it to pass, far better to get it out of their system Tuesday rather than waiting till Thursday night, with only a few hours to go before D-Day.
Better yet, the fact that it happened before Reid and McConnell had finished their negotiation—with McConnell having suspended the negotiation to give Boehner a chance to embarrass himself further—strengthens Reid’s hand at the margin and allows him to strike a slightly more favorable deal.
All of which is to say, it’s hard not to be encouraged by this latest development. Boehner’s pathetically weak hand was always going to be exposed. On Tuesday, he did us the courtesy of completely exposing it before the last possible moment. I, for one, think we owe the House speaker a (tiny) measure of thanks.
- More Chaos: House Punts, Senate Reopens Talks (newser.com)
- Warring GOP factions sink Boehner plan (politico.com)
- U.S. faces debt ceiling crash at stroke of midnight (cnn.com)
- Senators seek budget deal, House GOP effort flops (newsherald.com)
- John Boehner’s Bad Night Clears a Path for a Deal (swampland.time.com)
- GOP’s absurd final whimper: It’s all over but the crying (salon.com)
- John Boehner: A pathetic profile in Jell-O (salon.com)
- Boehner’s Moment of Truth Approaches (washingtonmonthly.com)
- Pelosi, Reid slam Boehner’s reckless effort to sabotage deal to end shutdown, avoid default (dailykos.com)
- GAME ALMOST OVER: Boehner To Let The Senate Debt Ceiling Deal Come To The Floor (businessinsider.com)
Rand Paul Makes A Fool Of Himself Trying to Blame Obama For the Government Shutdown
On CNN State of the Union, Sen. Rand Paul made a fool of himself by repeating the same blame Obama for the shutdown talking points that he admitted on video were his strategy for “winning” the shutdown.
Sen. Paul was asked if this was the beginning of the end for the Republican Party. He answered, “I think our demise is a little overstated. I would say that both parties are going to catch a lot of blame on this. This not good for either party…Well, I think both are. Democrats who think this is a parlor game, who think this is fun. Here’s what the Democrats think. They think we’ll send a bunch of government workers out there to close the roadside viewing of Mount Rushmore, cause that’ll be funny. I think it isn’t funny, and I think that Democrats and Republicans are going to catch blame. So I don’t want to be here. I don’t see this as winning or losing. This is a lose/lose situation. We need to open up government, and it does require conversation. But the president is the one saying he won’t negotiate, and now it’s Senate Democrats saying, we used to want a clean CR, but we think you’re squirming, so now we want to raise spending and break the budget caps. So I think we’re seeing that Senate Democrats are getting greedy about this whole thing.”
There is a very simple reason why Republicans have not been successfully able to blame President Obama for the government shutdown. Unlike Rand Paul and his fellow Republicans in the House and Senate, President Obama never had a vote on whether or not the government stayed open. In contrast, Rand Paul has voted against a clean CR everytime that it has come to the floor.
The show that the American people aren’t stupid. They know who is keeping the government closed. Rand Paul thinks we’re all dumb. Sen. Paul is still trying to undo the damage he caused by being That video is the reason why Paul keeps pushing the lies that Democrats are playing games and having fun with the government shutdown. By refusing to change his talking points, even after being caught on tape, Sen. Paul is embarrassing himself everytime he speaks.
Paul’s complaint that Democrats are getting greedy was an admission of defeat. The Republicans are angry because they think Democrats are “running up the score” by asking for things like an end to sequester funding.
The American people are never going to blame the president to the same degree that they blame Congress for this dual act of economic sabotage. Rand Paul and the Senate Republicans could have sent a unified message that they wouldn’t tolerate a government shutdown by voting with Democrats on a clean CR. Instead, Paul and others chose to follow the lead of Ted Cruz by playing games with the CR. Now, they are paying the price for their miscalculation.
, and now he is trying to blame President Obama for the mess that he helped make. President Obama wasn’t the person caught on tape discussing how Republicans were going to win this game. Paul has never apologized for treating the economic livelihood of millions of Americas like a game. He just keeps going in front of the cameras and making the same statements that he admitted were talking points in the video with McConnell.
Sen. Paul continues to make a fool out of himself by repeating his talking points, and pretending that no one has seen the video.
Rand, we know you’re lying, because you told us on tape that sounding reasonable and blaming Obama was your strategy for winning.
- Rand Paul Makes A Fool Of Himself Trying to Blame Obama For the Government Shutdown (politicususa.com)
- Rand Paul: Obama is trying to ‘scare people’ on debt ceiling (politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com)
- Rand Paul: Sequester is the law (politico.com)
- Sen. Rand Paul: ‘We’re gonna win this’ government shutdown (rawstory.com)
- Rand Paul: Obama complicit in Christian deaths | by Sparta | (jericho777.wordpress.com)
- Rand Paul can’t believe President Obama hasn’t poll-tested the shutdown (dailykos.com)
- Libertarians as the New Reds: Taxpayer Paid Libel, Hatch Act Violations and Anti-Tea Party Trolling from Radio Free Europe/Liberty (xxtwitterwarcommittee.wordpress.com)
- Rand Paul: Obama Sent More Security To WWII Memorial Than Benghazi (talkingpointsmemo.com)
- Rand Paul: Tie Debt Ceiling To Raising Age For Social Security And Medicare (buzzfeed.com)
- Rand Paul on closure of memorials and national parks: “It isn’t funny” (redalertpolitics.com)
Finally, Washington Sees a Way Out
OBAMA, HOUSE GOP LEADERS TO MEET TODAY
By Matt Cantor, Newser Staff
Posted Oct 10, 2013
(NEWSER) – Signs of hope in DC: Both parties are increasingly pushing for an end to the government shutdown and a debt-ceiling increase, with President Obama set to meet with 18 top House Republicans today, the Hill reports. Those Republicans include Paul Ryan, who’s at the forefront of a short-term plan to reopen the government and raise the debt limit for several weeks, and then overhaul Medicare, Social Security, and the tax code, the New York Times reports. Mitch McConnell is quietly gauging support for a similar fix that would hinge on more modest policy moves, such as cutting ObamaCare’s medical device tax and giving federal agencies more freedom in implementing the sequestration cuts, Politico reports.
Conservatives are under considerable pressure to cut some kind of deal, the Hill notes—yesterday, a Gallup poll found a 28% approval rating for the GOP, a record low for a party. The Hill, the Times, and Politico note that the fight over ObamaCare itself now seems to be taking a back seat, despite opposition from Tea Partiers:
· “There is a developing consensus that this is a lot bigger than an ObamaCare discussion,” says GOP Rep. Jack Kingston. Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch puts it more bluntly: “I’d like to get rid of ObamaCare, no question about that, but I think that effort has failed … We’re going to have to take it on in other ways.”
· Ryan and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor each published op-eds yesterday in the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, respectively; the Post points out that while the pieces called on Obama to start negotiating, they don’t list ObamaCare as part of the equation.
· “This is where we’ve been wanting to go all year long,” Ryan told Roll Call. “We’ve always known the debt limit is the way to get a budget agreement.” But he insisted that Republicans weren’t totally abandoning their ObamaCare efforts. “We’re bringing that to the table, too.”
- Finally, Washington Sees a Way Out (newser.com)
- In fiscal fight, do Republicans know what they really want? – First Read (mbcalyn.com)
- House GOP may offer debt plan (cnn.com)
- House Republicans propose short-term debt limit hike (kmov.com)
- Shutdown enters Day 9 (cltv.com)
- In fiscal fight, does GOP know what it really wants? (firstread.nbcnews.com)
- GOP mulls short-term debt ceiling extension (nbcpolitics.nbcnews.com)
- Obama ‘happy’ default not an option to GOP leaders in House (suntimes.com)
- Shutdown day 10: GOP heads to the White House (tv.msnbc.com)
- With default looming, Obama to host GOP contingent (kgw.com)
Shutdown: The tea party’s last stand
If the nation is lucky, this October will mark the beginning of the end of the tea party.
The movement is suffering from extreme miscalculation and a foolish misreading of its opponents’ intentions. This, in turn, has created a moment of enlightenment, an opening to see things that were once missed.
Many Republicans, of course, saw the disaster coming in advance of the shutdown. But they were terrified to take on a movement that is fortified by money, energy and the backing of a bloviating brigade of talk-show hosts. The assumption was that the tea party had become invincible inside the GOP.
People who knew better followed Sen. Ted Cruz down a path of confrontation over Obamacare. Yet even before the shutdown began, Republicans stopped talking about an outright repeal of Obamacare, as House Speaker John Boehner’s ever-changing demands demonstrated.
The extent of the rout was then underscored in the hot-microphone incident last week when Sen. Rand Paul was caught plotting strategy with Sen. Mitch McConnell. Paul’s words, spoken after he had finished a television interview, said more than he realized.
“I just did CNN. I just go over and over again: ‘We’re willing to compromise, we’re willing to negotiate,’ ” Paul said, adding this about the Democrats: “I don’t think they’ve poll-tested, ‘We won’t negotiate.’ ”
Tellingly, Paul described the new GOP line this way: “We wanted to defund it, we fought for that, but now we’re willing to compromise on this.”
It’s revealing to hear a politician who is supposed to be all about principle mocking Democrats for failing to do enough poll-testing. It makes you wonder whether Paul poll-tests everything he says. But Paul’s statement raised a more important question: If just days after it began, a shutdown that was about repealing Obamacare is not about repealing Obamacare, then what is it about?
Actually, it’s what even conservatives are calling the Seinfeld Shutdown: It’s about absolutely nothing, at least where substance is concerned. Moreover, Paul and his friends need to explain why, if they are so devoted to “negotiation,” they didn’t negotiate long ago. Why did they relentlessly block negotiations over a Senate Democratic budget whose passage, according to a now-discarded pile of press releases, they once made a condition for discussions?
Only now can we fully grasp that politics on the right has been driven less by issues than by a series of gestures. And they give up on even these as soon as their foes try to take what they say seriously.
What the tea party and Boehner did not reckon with is that Obama and the Democrats are done being intimidated by the use of extra-constitutional means to extort concessions that the right cannot win through normal legislative and electoral methods.
Obama doesn’t just want to get past this crisis. He wants to win. And win he must, because victory is essential to re-establishing constitutional governance, a phrase that the tea party ought to understand.
Obama didn’t need to “poll-test” his position because the poll that matters, the 2012 election, showed that the tea party hit its peak long ago, in the summer of 2011, when it seemed to have the president on the defensive.
The slowly building revolt among Republicans against the tea party shutdown is one sign of how quickly the hard-right’s influence is fading. So is the very language they are being required to speak. Having talked incessantly about how useless and destructive government can be, House Republicans are now testifying to their reverence for what government does for veterans, health research, sick children and lovers of national parks, especially war memorials.
Appreciation for government rises when it’s no longer there. By pushing their ideology to its obvious conclusion, members of the Cruz-Paul right forced everyone else to race the other way.
Yes, the tea party will still have its Washington-based groups that raise money by bashing Washington, ginning up the faithful and threatening the less ideologically pure with primary challenges. But no Republican and no attentive citizen of any stripe will forget the mess these right-wing geniuses have left in their wake.
We now know that the tea party is primarily about postures aimed at undercutting sensible governance and premised on the delusion that Obama’s election victories were meaningless. Its leaders abandon these postures as soon as their adversaries stand strong and the poll-testers report their approach is failing. This will give pause to anyone ever again tempted to follow them into a cul-de-sac.
- The Tea Party’s Last Stand (truthdig.com)
- The Tea Party’s last stand: E.J. Dionne (oregonlive.com)
- E.J. Dionne: The tea party’s last stand (sacbee.com)
- The Tea Party’s last stand (themoderatevoice.com)
- E.J. DIONNE: Will shutdown be tea party’s last stand? (heraldnews.com)
- The Tea Party’s last stand (wickedlocal.com)
- The Tea Party’s last stand (metrowestdailynews.com)
- The Tea Partyâs Last Stand (rinf.com)
- Boehner vows no deal on budget or debt limit without spending talks (cnn.com)
- Dana Milbank: Sen. Mitch McConnell’s vanishing act (sacbee.com)
TEA PARTY AND THE RIGHT
Salon.com / By Brian Beutler
Republicans Finally Confronting Reality: They’re Trapped!
Obama’s ironclad resolve not to negotiate over the debt limit appears to finally be sinking in among GOP leaders.
Photo Credit: By United States House of Representatives (http://republicanleader.house.gov/Bio/) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
October 4, 2013
After struggling for weeks and weeks in stages one through four, Republicans are finally entering the final stage of grief over the death of their belief that President Obama would begin offering concessions in exchange for an increase in the debt limit.
The catalyzing event appears to have been an hour-plus-long meeting between Obama and congressional leaders at the White House on Wednesday. Senior administration officials say that if the meeting accomplished only one thing it was to convey to Republican leaders the extent of Obama’s determination not to negotiate with them over the budget until after they fund the government and increase the debt limit. These officials say his will here is stronger than at any time since he decided to press ahead with healthcare reform after Scott Brown ended the Democrats’ Senate supermajority in 2010.
There’s evidence that it sunk in.
First, there’s this hot mic moment in which Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell tells Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., that the president’s position is ironclad.
Then we learn that House Speaker John Boehner has told at least one House Republican privately what he and McConnell have hinted at publicly for months, which is that they won’t execute their debt limit hostage. Boehner specifically said, according to a New York Times report, and obliquely confirmed by a House GOP aide, that he would increase the debt limit before defaulting even if he lost more than half his conference on a vote.
None of this is to say that Republicans have “folded” exactly, but they’ve pulled the curtain back before the stage has been fully set for the final act, and revealed who’s being fitted with the red dye packet.
If they got the same explanation from the president that I and several other writers got from senior officials at a White House briefing today, they know that for Obama this is more than just about preventing his own personal embarrassment (at having caved) and more than about his individual legacy (which will be harmed even if Republicans bear the brunt of the blame for a default). He sees “right sizing” the executive branch, and leaving it in better shape than when he inherited it, as a core responsibility of his presidency. Reducing the scope of executive powers in the foreign policy realm is one piece of it. But it would be a complete abdication, in his mind, to leave the next president vulnerable to the nullification of his or her election.
This is the crucial context in which to read separate reports that Republicans want to revisit the “grand bargain.” For the most part, this is just a hangover from the denial phase — Republicans talking to each other, trying to convince themselves that they can walk away from the debt limit with some concession. But they’re also hoping to draw Obama into a negotiation he can’t later extract himself from. It’s not going to work, administration officials say. They are happy to entertain budget negotiations after the debt limit increases. And during those negotiations they believe Republicans can legitimately use the leverage sequestration gives them to extract concessions. But only then. No more negotiating over the budget before the debt limit goes up, as long as factions within the Republican Party are prepared to default.
The only thing that might change Obama’s position is if Boehner decided to sprint into his waiting arms, burning his bridges to House conservatives behind him. If Boehner wanted to finish the budget deal he almost reached with Obama late last year, revenue and all, then throw in a debt limit increase, and a budget for the government, Obama wouldn’t freeze him out. But it doesn’t sound like that’s what Boehner has in mind.
Boiling it all down, this means that Republicans only have one viable way to save face. And that is to come up with something non-substantive — a procedural side-car like “No Budget, No Pay” — that’s independent from the debt limit itself, tack it on to a debt limit increase, and put it on the floor.
- White House calls on Boehner to hold vote on ‘clean’ funding bill (presspass.nbcnews.com)
- Obama Invites Hill Leaders To Talk Debt Limit (talkingpointsmemo.com)
- House Speaker John Boehner demands cuts for debt limit increase (5newsonline.com)
- Defiant Boehner to Obama: No concessions, no hike in debt limit (capitolhillblue.com)
- Report: Obama Won’t Make Policy Concessions In Debt Limit Talks (talkingpointsmemo.com)
- Obama will urge House GOP to pass clean funding bill and raise debt limit in White House meeting (dailykos.com)
- Boehner: Debt default is ‘the path we’re on’ (tv.msnbc.com)
- Obama: Pass budget, raise debt limit, then we’ll talk (upi.com)
- Without Negotiating, Obama and Boehner Eye Big Deal (swampland.time.com)
Not All Republicans Will Follow the Tea Party Off a Cliff
As much as Ted Cruz and his teabag overlords wanted to have a government shutdown over defunding Obamacare, not everyone in the radical right agrees with the strategy:
We’ve already seen exhibit A of why it wasn’t a winning strategy. Because the government shut down yesterday and the Obamacare exchanges opened and continued anyway.
And on Wednesday at a private luncheon, several Senate Republicans — Dan Coats of Indiana, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire — assailed Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, who has led the movement to block funding for the health law.
Ms. Ayotte was especially furious, according to two people present, and waved a printout from a conservative group friendly to Mr. Cruz attacking 25 of his fellow Republican senators for supporting a procedural vote that the group counted as support of the health law.
Ms. Ayotte asked Mr. Cruz to disavow the group’s effort and demanded he explain his strategy. When he did not, several other senators — including Mr. Johnson, Mr. Coats and even Mitch McConnell, the minority leader — joined in the criticism of Mr. Cruz.
“It just started a lynch mob,” said a senator who was present.
And then Senator Ayotte said this on the Senate floor today:
I would say to my Republican colleagues in the House, and to some in this chamber, it’s time for a reality check: Defunding Obamacare did not work as a strategy, so let’s work together to find common ground.
It appears that the constant threat of being primaried by the lunatic fringe is not enough to silence all teabag critics. called Ayotte a “backstabber” and a “Marxist”. I wonder how long it will be before Limbaugh calls her a “slut”.
- GOP “Elders” Turn On Ted Cruz (joemygod.blogspot.com)
- Cruz, battered by Democrats and some Republicans, presses the shutdown fight (thestate.com)
- Report: Closed-Door GOP Meeting With Cruz Turned Into ‘Lynch Mob’ (talkingpointsmemo.com)
- Report: GOP Senators Became ‘Lynch Mob’ Against Cruz In Private Lunch (swampland.time.com)
- Cruz, battered by Democrats and some Republicans, presses the shutdown fight (miamiherald.com)
- Closed-Door GOP Meeting With Cruz Turned Into ‘Lynch Mob’ (crooksandliars.com)
- GOP Senators Assail Ted Cruz In A ‘Lynch Mob’ Over His Government Shutdown Strategy (businessinsider.com)
- I am Butthurticus! No, I am Butthurticus! (rawstory.com)
- Ted Cruz and Rand Paul: A Tale of Two Shutdown Strategies (usnews.com)
- Ayotte says strategy of defunding health care hasn’t worked (wmur.com)
Republican Voters Now See Ted Cruz as Their Leader
A finds that among Republican voters Ted Cruz is now the favorite GOP candidate for President in 2016. that by lopsided margins, Republican voters trust Ted Cruz more than either Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell or House Speaker John Boehner.
While Cruz’s faux filibuster stunt was rebuked by fellow GOP Senators, it appears to have won him the hearts and minds of the tea-stained Republican electorate, dominated as it is by staunchly conservative voters. Cruz now leads the GOP field for President according to , garnering 20 percent to 17 percent for runner up Rand Paul. Christ Christie polls at 14 percent followed by Jeb Bush (11 percent), Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan (each at 10 percent). Republicans who identify themselves as “very conservative” support Cruz by a 34 to 17 percent margin over his nearest challenger, Rand Paul.
Perhaps more importantly, trust Ted Cruz over Mitch McConnell by a gaudy 49 to 13 margin, and they trust Cruz over John Boehner by a 51 to 20 percent spread. It is clear that the Republican leadership in Congress is distrusted even by Republican voters and that Ted Cruz is earning popularity by challenging the GOP leadership. It is also clear that Republican primary voters have embraced Ted Cruz’s extreme views and his hard line politics and that they have little interest in compromise or effective governance. The shut it down mentality has become a popular position within the GOP voting base, meaning we can expect more brinkmanship legislative stunts by republican politicians trying to curry favor with the far right base that now makes up a major and influential portion of the GOP electorate.
In 2010, Republican leaders did all they could to fire up angry voters to attend town meetings and disrupt proceedings in opposition to the Affordable Care Act and other policies supported by Barack Obama and House Democrats. They helped served up heated rhetoric to gin up aroused conservative voters in order to get them to vote out liberal members of Congress. Of course their overblown rhetoric planted the seeds that helped form the modern Tea Party movement, and now that movement threatens to consume the very Republican leadership that helped create it.
Mitch McConnell and John Boehner have lost control of the Republican Party and handed its future to hardcore ideologues like Texas Senator Ted Cruz. While Cruz is increasingly popular with Republican voters, his appeal with Independents and Democrats is very thin. Republicans may like his uncompromising rhetoric and his arrogant in your face style, but in a national general election choosing Ted Cruz as the party’s nominee will be a recipe for political disaster. The GOP voters should be warned that they will lose if they go with Cruz. However, since they are not much interested in reality based reasoning, those warnings will almost certainly fall on deaf ears.
- Ted Cruz Completely Screws John Boehner With His Publicity Stunt Faux Filibuster (mbcalyn.com)
- Ted Cruz Leads 2016 GOP Presidential Field (patdollard.com)
- Ted Cruz now leads GOP presidential pack: poll (washingtontimes.com)
- Poll: Ted Cruz is your 2016 GOP front-runner (salon.com)
- Sen. Ted Cruz surges among GOP voters (trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com)
- Republican Voters Now See Ted Cruz as Their Leader (syndicatednewsservices.com)
- Cruz emerges as GOP leader (publicpolicypolling.com)
- Poll: Ted Cruz Is Top Republican Primary Voter Choice For 2016 Prez Race (ijreview.com)
- Poll: Ted Cruz Is Now The Top Choice For GOP Primary Voters In 2016 (talkingpointsmemo.com)
- Poll: Ted Cruz Leads 2016 GOP Field (usnews.com)
Bill Maher Calls Ted Cruz The Miley Cyrus of Politics
On Real Time, Bill Maher labeled Ted Cruz the Miley Cyrus of politics. Maher said, ‘I really think that a filibuster is the political version of twerking.’
Maher said, “I was thinking the other night. He reminds me of Miley Cyrus, Ted Cruz. Because he is not afraid to incur the wrath of even some of his fans for the greater good of drawing attention to himself. I really think that a filibuster is the political version of twerking. And for those people who say, Ted Cruz he hung himself, no. Just like Miley Cyrus, she came out the winner in that. Everybody said, oh, she ruined her career. She’s on the cover of Rolling Stone. Her records are outselling everyone else’s. I think Ted Cruz will be the winner too.”
Bill Maher has a bad habit of jumping on the hot Republican flavor of the moment and proclaiming them the new leader. He did it with Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry in 2012, and he is doing it with Cruz. There is one big difference between Cyrus and Cruz. Cyrus timed her publicity stunt to promote her new album. Cruz staged a publicity stunt years before the next election. Outside of the right, Cruz’s filibuster bounce has already faded.
Within the Republican Party leadership, Cruz is toast. to open doors for him to the establishment in 2016, Ted Cruz is burning bridges. People talk about the power of the tea party, but the reality is that the Republican establishment controls the nominating process. Ask Rick Santorum how easy it is to win the Republican nomination without the money and support of the party establishment. 2012 was an example of the weakness of the tea party, and it will be even more difficult in 2016 because
Ted Cruz and Rand Paul are angling for the same 2016 voters. If Cruz and Paul both run, they could easily cancel each other out. This would leave someone like Chris Christie as the nominee. Cruz’s filibuster was an attempt to counter Rand Paul’s filibuster. Cruz and Paul need the same primary voters, and they are jockeying for position in the 2016 Republican field. Neither one of them would win a general election contest against Hillary Clinton, so it would be a dream come true for Democrats if Cruz and Paul end up being the top two choices for the Republican nomination.
Maher did have one thing right. Cruz and Miley Cyrus are both out for attention. They don’t care about anything else. The difference is that Miley is a former Disney kid who wants to show the world that she’s all grown up. Cruz is a United States Senator might collapse the entire economy. The VMA’s aren’t the Senate. Unlike twerking, what Ted Cruz is doing could harm millions of Americans.
- Bill Maher Calls Ted Cruz The Miley Cyrus of Politics (politicususa.com)
- Bill Maher Bashes Ted Cruz, Compares Him to Twerking Miley Cyrus (mediaite.com)
- Bill Maher: Ted Cruz Reminds Me Of Miley Cyrus (freshwaddabrooks.com)
- Maher: Cruz reminds me of Cyrus (politico.com)
- Bill Maher: Ted Cruz Reminds Me Of Miley Cyrus (huffingtonpost.com)
- Bill Maher says Ted Cruz is like Miley Cyrus: ‘A filibuster is the political version of twerking’ (rawstory.com)
- Ted Cruz – The Miley Cyrus of Politics (planetpov.com)
- [WATCH] Bill Maher claims NRA stands for Nuts, Racists and A**holes, compares Ted Cruz to Miley Cyrus (redalertpolitics.com)
- Ted Cruz (masonconservative.typepad.com)
- Ted Cruz: One Man Death Panel. (theobamacrat.com)