Monday, September 30, 2013

Could It Be An All-Night Ping Pong Party in Congress?

So far today, the Senate tabled the CR version that the House passed Saturday night, and House Republicans are meeting and reportedly are going to pass a third version of their anti-Obamacare CR.

Reporters are tweeting that Republicans are coming out of their meeting a lot less enthusiastic than they were on Saturday. They surely know that their new CR is DOA in the Senate; perhaps they intend to pass this one, have it get sent back again, and then surrender. Perhaps they can't even hold together for one more futile round.

But maybe not!

Which brings up one possibility.

Both sides seem to believe that there's a spin advantage if their side is the most recent one to act. All day yesterday, Republicans were complaining about the Senate not working on Sunday when the House had (supposedly) done their job. No doubt if the House quit for the day right now, with the ball on their side of the Capitol, Democrats would complain that the House wasn't working while the government shut down.

So unless I'm missing something in the parliamentary situation -- maybe Steve Smith or Sarah Binder could correct me if I'm wrong -- we might actually get an all-night ping-pong.

The Senate was able to table the House amendments and sent it back in basically no time at all (mainly the time for the vote) this afternoon (the parliamentary procedures here are beyond my expertise, but that's what happened). Presumably, the same thing will be the case the next time, too. And the one after that. And after that.

The House, I believe, needs a bit more time...I'm guessing that it's a good three, four hours for them to get from deciding on a next move to final passage; that's not counting whatever time they need for a meeting to decide that next step. Still, I'm writing this at 3:30 in the afternoon DC time...if they finish this one at dinner time, they could do another at midnight when the government technically shuts down (hey, they can claim for as long as it lasts that they acted and the Senate didn't) and maybe get two more rounds in before the federal work day starts. Or doesn't start. Maybe they could compress it even more, and squeeze in a couple more rounds, although it does seem to me that they need to draft amendments, get a rule from the Rules Committee, then get the rule passed, and then pass the amendment(s) and get final passage, and that sure seems like three or four hours minimum to me.

All night ping-pong? I'm not quite predicting it, but it wouldn't surprise me at this point.


  1. There's griping from some moderate House Republicans now about the futility of Plan C. I bet Boehner puts the clean CR on the floor before they get to Plans D - Z.

    1. B. has just said he won't offer a clean CR. Looks to me like the latest House bill goes to the Senate, is defeated and that's it until after the shutdown has happened. There's something about Obama meeting with leaders but when that would be I don't know. Reid is sounding really defiant, calling "anarchists."

    2. Sure, Boehner says that now, but I don't know if he'll be feeling the same way at 1:00am tonight, especially if Plan C fails due to a conservative revolt.

  2. I'm sure you've seen that Rep Don Young quote that the House Republicans "don't have the votes to pass anything," which is being interpreted as a very divided caucus. So unless they've already planned a step or two ahead, I wonder how many rounds they can manage. Especially if the Senate doesn't budge at all.

    Wish I was in Pittsburgh--I wouldn't be following this at all. It's going to be a big day there tomorrow.

  3. most agencies are telling people to come in tomorrow regardless -- in the event of a "shutdown" then have half day to bring stuff home and return RSA tokens etc.

    So the deadline isn't 8 AM tomorrow, but more like 12 PM.

  4. Dave Weigel argues today that the gerrymanders of 2011, added to their georgraphic advantage over Democrats, gives Republicans, "a House they simply don’t think they can lose. In 2012 they proved it, winning 1.36 million fewer votes than Democratic candidates but keeping a 33-seat majority. According to the Cook Political Report, 205 of 435 House districts are solidly Republican, basically impossible to lose... Only 163 districts are solidly Democratic. If Democrats swept the table and won all the districts currently rated as tossups or “leaning” Republican, they’d win 213 seats, five short of a majority."

    Do you think this is accurate? If it is, and if they can now get everything they want, without compromise, through the power of the purse and economic blackmail, in defiance of a national majority, isn't our democracy basically dead?

    1. I do not think the GOP has a lock on the House. An edge, yes, and they're very likely to retain it in 2014 with a Dem in the WH, but no lock.

      OTOH, it's certainly possible that Republicans think they have a lock,

  5. Can you please clarify something? This isn't due to the lack of a budget, correct? This is due to the expiration of appropriations bills, right? If it is because no budget (which is just a plan for spending money, right?), then why weren't there these problems when Congress didn't pass a budget in the past?


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