Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Shutdown Update

I'm on record as being a pessimist about the chances of getting through fiscal year 2012 appropriations without at the very least another round of brinkmanship with a government shutdown a real possibility. The next step at this point is a temporary extension for appropriations, which run out at the end of the month. The question has been whether House Republicans will propose a "clean" extension or not. That means two things: total spending that sticks to the year-long totals agreed to in the debt limit deal, and not festooning it with policy riders that the president would object to.

Politico's David Rogers had an update on that yesterday, and the answer was: maybe. On spending totals, he reported that Speaker Boehner was floating a plan to come in just below the debt limit deal, but it appears that there's little GOP appetite to fight a battle on that group. On riders, Rogers says that the temporary extension (which figures to be for about two months) will "relatively clean," delaying the real battle for the year-long appropriations bill that would then come due in November. What does "relatively clean" mean? I don't know! Is the idea that Republicans would try to sprinkle a few relatively small and relatively popular riders into the two-month CR and hope that the Senate and the president would just let them through?

Meanwhile, we don't really know that the House can pass even the short-term CR that Boehner and Eric Cantor seems to want. Are Democrats going to support it? How many Tea Partiers intend to vote against pretty much any appropriations bill? How many will vote against a CR that doesn't eliminate ACA, the EPA, and Planned Parenthood? Do Boehner and Cantor really want to avoid a shutdown (and believe they can do it), or have they just altered their p.r. strategy, downplaying it until it happens?

In other words, the same questions I've had all along. Perhaps there's not much reporters can do yet to answer them, but I really don't see anything that's changed that would indicate we're not heading for plenty of trouble.

1 comment:

  1. But why would this play any differently than the last averted shutdown in the spring? Potentially the Tea Party faction has gotten fed up with being tossed purely symbolic bones, in which case they might aim for a shutdown.

    But one thing the debt ceiling debate exposed is that while the Tea Party caucus is willing to go for balls-to-the-wall brinksmanship, they don't have the critical mass within the party to negotiate concrete concessions. They got large concessions in the debt ceiling debate, but in a highly deferred fashion that is unlikely to be realized at the cited dollar values. The Republican Party doesn't actually have the power or cohesion to really play for keeps in a hostage situation. If they do threaten a shutdown, it'll be over something symbolic that the Dems are willing to sign away.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Who links to my website?