The key thing here is that the GOP leadership plan would actually work — if Republicans could pass it. Senate Democratic aides have told me they would probably pass the temporary funding of the government at current levels, whereupon they would defeat the defund-Obamacare provision.Kevin Drum is quite right: the correct way to characterize this is "Liberals are getting ready to cave in without a fight yet again." Again? Yes; Democrats could have fought back against sequestration level spending in the last CR, back in the spring, which funded the government through the end of the fiscal year; instead, they decided to accept it. There's also Democratic acquiescence in various sequestration "fixes."
What's odd here is that almost everyone believes that Democrats have a fair amount of negotiating leverage, in that almost everyone believes that Republicans will be blamed for a shutdown if the sides can't agree on a CR by the end of the month. And yet Senate Democrats and Barack Obama don't want to fight for their budget priorities here.
All of which makes my post yesterday about the importance of the House CR...er...probably wrong. Oh, and Brian Beutler correct. If Senate Democrats and Obama will accept a House-authored CR, then obviously the House CR is quite important after all.
At least, that's what will be the case if the reporting holds up. Or, to be more precise, if the House can manage to pass something like what they pulled from the floor yesterday, and Democrats accept it. Given that House Republicans apparently can't pass the thing, we may never know exactly how it will play out. But assuming that reporting is correct...I really don't understand it, and I think Democrats are erring. In fact, they're erring in a way that's sort of parallel to how Republicans are erring. Look, the bottom line here is that sequestration is such a bad policy (as it was designed to be!) that it shouldn't be hard at all for win-win deals that replace parts or all of sequestration with each side's reasonable priorities. The Republicans aren't fighting for theirs, for the most part, because of the Obamacare obsession and because of their post-policy lack of interest in details. The Democrats aren't fighting for theirs because...I have no idea.