Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Shutdown Update

Will we have a two-week, semi-clean temporary funding bill to keep the government from shutting down after the March 4 deadline? That's the plan -- but Stan Collender reports this morning that Tea Partiers in the House may vote against it, and speculates about whether House Democrats would then be willing to provide the votes to get the deal done.

The sticking point for House Republicans is, Collender reports, health care. The planned two-week CR isn't clean in the sense that it doesn't keep funding levels the same, but it is clean in the sense that it omits all the policy riders that were included in the House-passed CR.

This is, as I've said, the problem with the policy riders in the first place. Once you define a vote on normal appropriations bills as a positive affirmation of any policy that is already in place (because you're funding the bureaucrats who carry out that policy), then it becomes very difficult to pass the year's funding bills without a full-out fight over any controversial law that's ever been passed.

Beyond that, the dynamics remain the same. John Boehner almost certainly wants to avoid a government shutdown because it's highly dangerous for Republicans in general, and for the Speaker in particular. Many rank-and-file Members appear to want confrontation just for the sake of confrontation, and Democrats and Republicans are legitimately far apart on spending levels. (The NYT's Jennifer Steinhauer has an excellent article today giving the point of view of new Members).

So we'll see what happens in the House. Collender's post covers most of the key ground, but there's one point he didn't touch on: if some Republicans oppose the two-week CR on the grounds that it funds and therefore ratifies ACA, how many Republicans will be willing to stick with the leadership?

I have no predictions about how it plays out, but it's very easy to see this thing falling apart. And given the difficulties that Boehner's team has had counting votes so far, it wouldn't be a shock to see it collapse during the vote.


  1. I agree. I'm not sold on the sunny optimism coming from Congressional leaders who say that this is a done deal. Boehner has shown that he doesn't have much control over his caucus, so I wouldn't be surprised to see this go down in narrow defeat.

    What it will really come down to is Pelosi. If she tells her troops to vote for it, it'll certainly pass. If she tells them they can vote against it if they like, then the CR is in jeopardy.

  2. Going back to an earlier comment, the idea of a challenger to Obama in the primary was always a non-starter. Tt would take someone crazy enough (Howard Dean?) or rich enough to embarrass him with little effect.

    Can liberals get some revenge on Obama with statehouse takeovers and not playing ball on the CR?

    Pay attention to your base.


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