If the U.S. government shuts down again in mid-January, it won’t be because House Republicans are demanding the repeal of the president’s health care law, in a repeat of the standoff that occurred earlier this fall.
“There are no plans to tie a repeal vote to a government funding bill,” a senior House GOP aide told The Huffington Post.
House Republican leaders made similar remarks during the run-up to the Oct. 1 deadline to fund the government, only to reverse course under pressure from conservatives in the party, so it’s worth taking this statement with a grain of salt. But there have been signals that Republicans have come to believe it’s better to let the Affordable Care Act encounter its own struggles than to be seen as demanding its destruction.
The talking points that House Republicans prepared for the Thanksgiving break included a conspicuously bolded line: “Republicans are still committed to full repeal.” But that section was overshadowed by various suggestions of ways lawmakers could attack Obamacare and highlight its shortcomings instead.
So House Republicans have unveiled their debt limit offer, and despite earlier reports that they were serious about avoiding default, their proposal suggests the exact opposite.
At a press conference following a meeting of all House Republicans, the House GOP leadership team proposed raising the debt limit for six weeks in exchange for President Obama negotiating with them over their list of demands for ending the government shutdown.
If Boehner wants to avoid default, there’s an easy way to do it: Raise the debt limit. But as long as he continues to demand a ransom, he’s not trying to avoid default: He’s threatening it.
9:19 AM PT: This really is important:
IMPT: the GOP plan also forbids extraordinary measures on the debt ceiling.
Remember the last time around, GOP suspended debt limit until mid-May, but extraordinary measures allowed us to avoid default for about 5 months. By legally baring Treasury from avoiding default, GOP is actually proposing to weaponize the debt limit such that it is even more dangerous than it is now. It’s reckless and would make things worse than they are now. Even without any other strings attached, accepting a debt limit increase that bars extraordinary measures should be a nonstarter.
You’ll forgive me if, at the moment, I decline to believe that we will be saved from the Reign Of The Morons by unicorns, the Easter Bunny, or reasonable Republicans in either house of Congress who would gladly vote with the Democrats, if only evil castrato Speaker John Boehner would allow them to do it. You will also forgive me if, at the moment, I decline to believe in mermaids, the Pooka McPhillimey, or fed-up plutocrats who can find a sucker to primary Tea Party congresscritters from what passes for The Left in the Republican party these days.
But within Grand Rapids’ powerful business establishment, patience is running low with Amash’s ideological agenda and tactics. Some business leaders are recruiting a Republican primary challenger who they hope will serve the old-fashioned way - by working the inside game and playing nice to gain influence and solve problems for the district. They are tired of tea party governance, as exemplified by the budget fight that led to the shutdown and threatens a first-ever U.S. credit default.
Bull. Also, shit.
WASHINGTON — House Republicans plan to demand major perks for coal companies and Wall Street banks, alongside healthcare and social service cuts and a one-year delay in the implementation of Obamacare, in exchange for raising the debt ceiling until the end of 2014, according to a source close to the House GOP leadership.
President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats have repeatedly stated that they will not negotiate over raising the debt limit, saying they will not make a political football of the U.S. government’s creditworthiness.
The Republican plan, which would also constitute a significant overhaul of the environmental and financial regulatory system, would cut pensions for Federal employees and raise taxes on immigrant families with parents who do not have a Social Security number. The document claims $7 billion in savings from restricting the child tax credit to immigrants who do have a number, and up to $84 billion from “reform” to the Federal Employee Retirement System.
The plan would increase Medicare means testing, and would eliminate social service block grants and a fund for preventative healthcare in the Affordable Care Act that conservatives have characterized as a “slush fund.” Block grants are a capped entitlement program given to states to help fund services like daycare, transportation and home-delivered meals. The Prevention and Public Health Fund has included funds for training primary care doctors and supporting healthy corner stores.
Coal and oil companies would benefit from provisions to expand offshore drilling and drilling on federal lands. The proposal blocks the federal government from regulating greenhouse gas emissions and coal ash, and would give Congress the power to veto any “major” regulation issued by a federal agency (because an affirmative vote would be required, Congress could void new rules simply through inaction).
WASHINGTON — House Republicans are fuming at Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) for conceding that the party’s efforts to repeal Obamacare aren’t going anywhere in the Senate — and leaving the House to keep fighting over it anyway.
Cruz, a tea party favorite, is one of the most vocal proponents of defunding the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s health care reform law. He’s spent months championing the cause. But on Wednesday, as House Republican leaders unveiled their latest plan for sinking Obamacare — tying a measure to defund the law to a must-pass resolution that keeps the government running — Cruz thanked House Republicans for their fight, and said they’re on their own.
“[Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid will no doubt try to strip the defund language from the continuing resolution, and right now he likely has the votes to do so,” Cruz said in a statement. “At that point, House Republicans must stand firm, hold their ground, and continue to listen to the American people.”
Aides to top Republicans in the House, where GOP leadership has already been struggling to keep the party together on the measure, were beside themselves. And once granted anonymity, they didn’t mince their words.
“We haven’t even taken up the bill and Ted Cruz is admitting defeat?” fumed one senior GOP aide. “Some people came here to govern and make things better for their constituents. Ted Cruz came here to throw bombs and fundraise off of attacks on fellow Republicans. He’s a joke, plain and simple.”
There’s a new cadence to President Barack Obama’s musings about Congress: Why can’t House Republicans be more like their mates in the Senate?
As Obama presses his economic agenda across the country, he’s playing one chamber against the other, hoping Americans will hear his calls for compromise and conclude it’s not his fault almost nothing is getting done in Washington.
Call it a congressional two-step: Praise Senate Republicans for modest displays of cooperation, then contrast them with House Republicans, whom Obama has started describing as stubborn saboteurs. It’s a theme Obama has used repeatedly to bolster his argument that he’s the one acting reasonably as he prepares for clashes this fall with Congress, whose relations with Obama have always been notoriously strained.