Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Drip...Drip Shutdown Update

The list of Republicans who publicly support a clean CR is now at 24, as Jennifer Bendery (who is doing a great job on this story) reports. That number has been stable for a while, but partially because four Members who were previously on the list have flipped.

As I said before, my sense of how this all plays politically is that somewhere between this list reaching 25 and reaching 60, it becomes a large enough problem for Republicans that their position likely collapses entirely, and a shutdown vote really does happen. Because of that, if the list is slowly increasing, Democrats get an additional incentive to hang tough (although, given the GOP position, that's not really all that hard anyway).

My best guess, however, is that we've seen the answer I asked earlier: will getting to a House majority make it easier for other Republicans to out themselves as clean CR supporters or will it make it harder? The answer sure seems to be: harder. There are probably two things going on. One is that as the shutdown goes on, positions held by partisans harden, which makes it harder to go against them. The other, however, is simple numbers. The eventual agreement needs at least 17 Republicans, but probably a bit more than that; those Republicans know who they are, and therefore they lose little by going public now. However, there are presumably a lot of Republicans who support ending this with a clean CR (and probably a clean debt limit increase also) but hope that they can get out without having to support it themselves.

That's probably, also, the best explanation for the four backsliders. It might be that leadership (or Tea Partiers) put pressure on, and they backed down. But a more likely answer is that they wanted the shutdown to end enough to go public, but once enough other clean CR Republicans were identified, they realized their votes were no longer needed.

The only problem with that is that it really does remove the pressure that they presumably wanted in the first place. If the list was 28 and climbing...well, it's a much larger threat than 24 and basically stable.

I'm still watching that list, but at this point I think it's unlikely that it's how the shutdown ends.


  1. I suppose the number of Republicans willing to vote for a clean CR would also be affected by the circumstances of the vote. If Boehner voluntarily puts it up for a vote, that's one thing. If Obama somehow forces it, or let's say if it comes up for a vote under circumstances that can be described as undue pressure from the Democrats (since he can't really force it), then fewer will be willing to put their names to it. In any event, I don't think any list can be considered definitive until we know the political circumstances reigning at the time of the vote.

  2. I still think that the Democrats in the House will exact something, some price for saving the economy. Again.

    If the Senate passes the clean debt limit increase, they may also pass the McConnell plan, which puts the onus on the Presidency to lift the debt limit. That's something both sides want because: the Democrats don't want to play this game anymore, and the Republicans don't want to vote to raise the debt. They want to blame someone else for it.

    Roll all three bills together, and the Democrats (and the necessary Republicans) will vote for it on Oct. 15.

    Then John Boehner loses his post. Sad day.

    1. I don't think there is any scenario under which Boehner loses his speakership before January 2015. Who could possible replace him that would:

      1) Want the job and
      2) Get 201 votes from the Republicans?

      Cantor, Ryan, et al who could get near-unanimous support from the conference wouldn't want the job (since they'd be in the exact same position Boehner is in), and any of the crazies who want to take things in a radical direction wouldn't get the near-unanimous support needed to beat the 200 Democratic votes for Nancy Pelosi.

      Republicans are stuck with Boehner. Too bad the Speaker doesn't realize how secure his position really is.

    2. If Pelosi won,couldn't Republicans just regroup and force another speaker vote?

    3. Ryan might entertain the thought that because he is so much smarter/wonkier/better looking than Boehner, he might be able to persuade the caucus to do his bidding...

    4. I think it's short-sighted to say that someone wouldn't want the job, just because it's a nearly impossible job to do. Lots of people want to be Speaker of the House. It's a really powerful, important, historic job.

      The better question is who can possibly get enough support from both the Tea Party crazies and the largely invisible sober wing of the party. Paul Ryan is probably about as good a guess as you'll find.

  3. Does anyone understand this Mint the Premium Bonds! stuff?

    1. My understanding is this: first, you radically overcharge for the bonds. Sell someone a super-bond worth $100 dollars now for nearly $300. However, the interest rates on the super-bonds are super-high, so that in 10 years time or whatnot, the $100 dollar super-bond is worth what $300 dollars worth of regular bonds would have been worth at regular interest rates. It's probably more technical than that, but I think that's a gist. From the article, it seems 100% clearly legal, even if unorthodox (and it presumes that someone will buy the bonds... no one is forced to).

      I still like the Super-Coin option, however, if only because it'd make a great McGuffin for a heist movie.


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