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September 19, 2013

Top Headline Comments 9-19-13

Well, happy Thursday.

It's not over yet, but it's frustrating to see Senate conservatives' Obamacare defunding attempt go exactly the way I predicted. I said don't do this because we know GOP House members don't want a shutdown -- they've been consistent about saying they don't for a month now. I said don't do this because the House will sooner or later (probably sooner) cave and give Obama a clean CR. I said don't do this because it could imperil the sequester cuts. I said don't do this because the GOP will lose leverage for the debt ceiling fight. I said don't do this because it will hurt the fight for an Obamacare delay. I said don't do this because it will make the GOP look stupid. I said don't do this because it could hurt our chances in 2014.

Well, conservative senators and outside groups made enough ruckus that the House decided to stage a little demonstration. The House GOP planned to give the Senate conservatives just what they asked for: a CR that zeroes out Obamacare funding.

And then -- before the House even had a chance to vote on the defunding resolution, before Senate conservatives even attempted to rally their colleagues -- Sen. Cruz decided to throw the House under the bus, declaring that the Senate will likely defeat any defunding resolution that the House passes.

House GOP members are rightly pissed. “Gee, thanks for the support,” Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla., said Wednesday. They said they didn't want to do this. Sen. Cruz, who is apparently responsible for doing nothing except running his mouth, insisted they do it anyway while he sits on his hands in the Senate. And here we are.

And the House GOP is not alone in thinking a shutdown is a bad idea. Senate GOP members are also watching this with a bit of horror. Sen. Flake thinks an unpopular shutdown will help rescue Obamacare. Sens. Coburn and Toomey also oppose a shutdown.

To many Republicans, it always looked as though the defund campaign had less to do with attacking Obamacare than it did with attacking the Republicans who will inevitably need to vote to keep the government open—even if they achieved some modest victory on Obamacare.

It sure did. And it still does. House Republicans had said early in the week that they'd look for a "Plan B" for if the Senate refused to defund. In light of Cruz's preemptive collapse, a lot of members are going to look for that Plan B now.

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posted by Gabriel Malor at 07:00 AM

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