So, as you might very well have read (and probably predicted): the House has attempted to present President Obama with the facile Faustian bargain of averting government shutdown by agreeing to repeal the Affordability Care Act (ACA, or “Obamacare”).
I have ideas about how this is even more absolutely ridiculous (from a strategic perspective) for the House GOP than it might appear. But those are even less interesting than what I am going to write about. (And to be clear, GOP leaders—including the Chair of the Appropriations Committee, Harold Rogers (R-Ky)—are publicly clear about the fact that this is a ridiculous gambit.)
Quickly, because we all have fantasy football lineups to pore over for hours prior to leaving them just as they were (i.e., FFB Fiduciary Diligence), let me ask—has anyone asked Mitch McConnell, the Senate Minority Leader, how much he is hating his life right now? (I presume that McConnell is in favor of removing the ACA defunding language, though it seems like he might not yet have said as much. The linked blog also sketches out a neat (and obvious upon reflection) trick that I hadn’t thought about Reid using to strip the language.)
In addition to the fact that the House GOP’s tactic will not win any extra votes (and probably lose a few), McConnell has to choose exactly how he wants to “plate” a simmering pile of turd in the Senate. There are two basic scenarios, depending on whether the Senate takes up the House’s version of the continuing resolution (CR). The two are actually the same, except in terms of labeling. And while labeling can/does matter in politics, I will get to the point.
Reid wants to present to the Senate for a final vote a version of the CR that is free of the ACA-defunding language. Regardless of how Reid tries to get there (either through a new CR, a pre-cloture amendment to the existing CR, or—as the above link highlights—securing cloture prior to offering such an amendment), a determined coalition of 41 Senators can stymie his efforts. The GOP currently holds 46 seats so, without McConnell’s cloakroom help, Reid would need (at least) 6 Republicans to visibly cross lines and support Reid (cloture votes must be recorded).
Presuming that this won’t happen (or that McConnell would prefer that it not happen for other reasons), McConnell must somehow get his Senators to not filibuster the new version of the CR. Ugh.
Note that Boehner has many more tools at his disposal—let’s call them “the Rules Committee and their precious panoply of procedural ploys”—to save face while sending a relatively clean CR to the Senate so as to keep the government from shutting down.
Also, note that—as far as I can tell—this is all still separate from the debt ceiling showdown. With that, I leave you with this.