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September 19, 2013

Did Ted Cruz And Then Senate Defund Caucus Throw The House GOP Under The Bus? (Spoiler: No)

Oh my, the brave Republicans of the House of Representatives didn't even manage to go a full day without wetting their pants over the Continuing Resolution and ObamaCare. You know they haven't even brought it to the floor yet before whining that big, mean Ted Cruz threw them under the bus.

Here's the statement that Cruz, Mike Lee and Marco Rubio released. The part that seems to have the Brave Sir Robins of the GOP upset is this part from Cruz.

“Today's announcement that the House will vote to defund Obamacare is terrific news,” said Sen. Cruz. “Just a few weeks ago, this was deemed impossible. We commend House leadership and House Republicans for listening to the people and for taking decisive action to stop Obamacare, the biggest job-killer in America. 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. At that point, House Republicans must stand firm, hold their ground, and continue to listen to the American people. President Obama has already granted Obamacare exemptions to big corporations and Members of Congress; he should not threaten to shut down the government just to deny those same exemptions to hard-working American families."

Emphasis mine.

That bastard!

Harry Reid isn't just going to fold on day one? Is that what people were expecting? If you were, you're an idiot. Of course he's either going to strip out the defund language or more likely he'll just pass his own CR that spends whatever he wants and funds fully funds the Affordable Care Act. Everyone knew that the point was to create pressure through the threat of a shutdown or an actual one to force Democrats to accept the GOP's terms. Building public support for defnding it during the run-up to and possibly even during the shutdown was the whole point (read this for suggestions on the messaging tactics the GOP should use). It would force the public to make a choice and give them a chance to put their anti-Obama feelings into practice. As such it was always going to be on the House GOP to "stand firm" because they are the majority. They are the only ones who can apply that pressure by not caving. Are House GOP members seriously asking us to believe they didn't know that?

There's nothing Ted Cruz or anyone in the Senate minority can do about Reid's majority. A majority that didn't just appear yesterday, we all knew it was there. If House members want to see the Senate defund caucus move some votes, then maybe Rubio can reach out to his amnesty buddies across the aisle for some help. I mean surely they owe him a little something for giving them cover from the right on that bill, don't they? Isn't that how bi-partisanship is supposed to work?

What Cruz, etc can do is filibuster but that's going to be a bit tricky.

If Reid brings up the House CR and the GOP filibusters it, they will be filibustering a bill with the House defund language in it (thanks to @AG_Conservative for that link). Reid can leave it in until after the last 60 vote threshold is passed and then strip that language out so long as he files his amendment prior to the cloture vote and it's ruled germane (which it would be because it is). Now there's a reason he likely won't do that. If he does he would force members to vote on the amendment to remove the defund language. That would put some of his members in the position of voting for ObamaCare or if they voted against it the opposition to ObamaCare would be "bi-partisan" and hurt the narrative that this is just a GOP show. Once the amendment passes the bill could then pass with a simple majority.


So Reid is more likely to file his own clean CR with the funding for ObamaCare. The GOP minority caucus can then filibuster that and prevent the Senate from passing any CR. Then we'd be in the position where the Republican House has passed a funding bill and the Democratic Senate hasn't. Of course that will mean...it's the fault of the House that the government is shutdown. At least that's what the House GOP is afraid of. Sure the MSM will play it that way but the fact that the MSM is dishonest can't be an excuse for the GOP to not act. If it is, there's no point in having a GOP because the MSM will always lie about what they do.

That scenario has one big assumption built into it...that Reid can't find enough GOP Senators to break the filibuster. There are probably some who will vote for his CR without any inducements like Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins but there are definitely some one could imagine selling out if Reid shuts off the sequester for the DoD. Then do John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Kelly Ayotte, Jeff Flake, etc bolt?

That would be...an interesting moment.

Now that's the argument that the ant-defunders make, don't give Reid a chance to "reopen" the sequester. Unfortunately that's part of their magic beans thinking. They think that they can force Obama and the Democrats to accept a year delay in ObamaCare (which is basically the same as defund since Obama can come back for the money in next year's budget and we have to do this all over again) to get a debt ceiling hike. As I pointed out before, Obama already said no to defunding through a CR and no to a delay as the price of a debt hike but Team Delay want you to think he serious about the former and kidding about the latter. Sure going through the CR route let's Reid write his own at above sequester levels but he and Obama could make the same demand in the debt hikes. There's no rules that say negotiations on the debt ceiling are only about that, everything is on the table. And don't forget there were reports that Cantor himself was willing to trade sequestration for his debt hike/delay plan. Again...trust.

Here's a crazy notion...why not do both? Try and get defunding through the CR process and if that doesn't work, try again with the debt ceiling hike. As I said before, the problem is that no one trusts Boehner and Cantor to really fight on the debt ceiling which has worse potential consequences than a temporary shutdown would.

Watch a congressional hearing sometime and you'll hear members complimenting each other all the time for their "leadership" on one issue or another. Well, the House GOP was sent to DC in 2010 and 2012 in response to public opposition to ObamaCare. Now that they actually have to lead on this issue they are getting cold feet. If they can't or won't lead on the last stand against full implementation of ObamaCare (which I and I think many others view as an existential threat to the country), what exactly is their point? You can only tell people how urgent it is that they elect Republicans but if when push comes to shove they are only interested in surviving the next election, it becomes clear that saving their seats is the only urgent mater for them.

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posted by DrewM. at 10:21 AM

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