Is Speaker Boehner Finally Listening?


About a week ago, an article appeared on The Federalist  website that suggested a strategy of undercutting Obama’s perceived leverage with the debt ceiling limit while still continuing the shutdown. This strategy, according to the article, would allow for some negotiation on budget cutting measures with a short term debt ceiling increase but it would not include the shutdown (I call it the spitedown). Under this strategy, the spitedown would still continue with the goal of defunding or limiting Obamacare and the passage of single funding bills.

Today the news appears to be exactly that.

Here is the strategy from The Federalist last week:

Republicans Shouldn’t Play Obama’s Debt Game

Republican leadership may have made up their minds about how they’re going to play out this scenario, tactically: They’re going to combine the debt ceiling and continuing resolution fights to escalate things and try to force negotiation, all the while trying to sell the conservative caucus on something far more modest than their individual mandate delay, such as the medical device tax or Vitter or something along those lines, as a sufficient win. But let’s consider how things might play out if they flipped the script.

…What if Reid and Obama want a debt ceiling crisis, believing it plays to their political advantage? What if they want to be able to shift the conversation away from a bunch of bureaucrats sent home with no pay to something that will tank the stock market, make grandma worry about her 401(k), and send more uncertainty at a time when people are already so uneasy about their livelihoods? What if you want to be able to shift the argument entirely away from Obamacare and the individual mandate and make it about failing to meet debt obligations? It always struck me as odd that Reid refused to put a debt limit hike in reconciliation (that the budget resolution was never agreed to by the House is immaterial). This would explain that, as well as Obama’s comments.

…Republicans should consider rejecting this game. Why not give Obama a clean or nearly clean debt limit increase? Consider the conversation between Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul the other day. What if they’re right about how this ‘we won’t negotiate’ thing plays? Wouldn’t it make the Democrats seem even more extreme if you just gave them a short term debt ceiling increase while keeping the fight over shutting down the government going, passing these funding bills that put them in a bind and keeping the focus on Obamacare? This isn’t to say you should give Obama an outright long-term debt ceiling increase – just give him enough to look reasonable (2-4 weeks at a time, along the lines of what Democrats did in their showdown with H.W. Bush over taxes) without relieving all the pressure.

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Now considering that, it would seem that the Republicans are FINALLY listening to and working from a conservative position ( a position they were dragged kicking and screaming to by Mike Lee and Ted Cruz) and might actually fight. Here is the news from this morning:

GOP offers short-term debt-limit increase, but wants negotiations before ending shutdown

House Republican leaders said Thursday they will offer a temporary increase in the federal debt ceiling in exchange for negotiations with President Obama on longer-term “pressing problems,” but they stopped short of agreeing to end a government shutdown now in its 10th day.

In a news briefing following a closed-door meeting of House Republicans to present a plan to raise the debt limit for six weeks, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said, “What we want to do is offer the president today the ability to move a temporary increase in the debt ceiling.” He described the offer, to be presented to Obama in a White House meeting with House Republicans on Thursday afternoon, as a “good-faith effort on our part to move halfway to what he’s demanded in order to have these conversations begin.”

Boehner did not immediately provide specifics of the plan. But the speaker made clear that House Republicans are not agreeing to Obama’s demand that they pass legislation to fund the government with no partisan string attached, thereby ending the first government shutdown in 17 years.

Asked about the shutdown, Boehner said, “That’s a conversation we’re going to have with the president today.”

The GOP plan would suspend the debt limit until Nov. 22, the Friday before Thanksgiving, while also forbidding Treasury Secretary Jack Lew from using “extraordinary measures” that his department has used in recent years to extend his borrowing authority for weeks after the ceiling is reached, according to a senior GOP aide who was in the room. This creates a hard “X date,” as financial analysts call the issue, leaving no wiggle room beyond that day.

The plan for a six-week increase in the debt limit, without any conservative strings attached, was aimed in part at calming jittery financial markets, according to senior GOP advisers.

The plan was presented to the House GOP caucus Thursday morning after Lew warned lawmakers that he would be unable to guarantee payments to any group — whether Social Security recipients or U.S. bondholders — unless Congress raises the federal debt ceiling.

If the GOP plan goes over well with rank-and-file Republicans, Boehner could put the legislation on the floor for a vote late Thursday, aides said.

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Am I completely convinced that the GOP is really going to do the right thing for the American people for this – nope. This morning, Red State had some very bad news for conservatives.

House GOP Preparing to Give Up

I’m being told by several sources that Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor are plotting to give up trying to either defund or delay Obamacare.

This comes at the same time the Obama administration admits it will be months before their Obamacare website will be fixed and Kathleen Sebelius is saying if people want out of the mandate they can pay a fine.

Nonetheless, Cantor, Boehner, and with them Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn are expected to cave in and fully fund, unimpeded, Obamacare.

They will work up a new deal that includes a debt ceiling increase with a few sops to the GOP as cover.  The only change they are still considering it the medical device tax repeal, which is being heavily lobbied for by former Boehner and McConnell staffers who left for K Street.

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SO – there is nothing completely worked out yet and there is plenty of reason and precedent to be pessimistic and everything is in flux. What is undeniable is the fact that the Democrats are cracking and the media mask is fading. Thanks to Cruz and Lee we have a greater chance of taking the Senate and halting Obamacare.