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Republicans aren't going to be able to defund Obamacare with this government shutdown threat. It's just not going to happen. But they're winning a larger war by keeping the focus on Obamacare, and that's the austerity war. Here's what they've got Senate Democrats to concede.
[W]hile the expected battle lines were fleshed out by both sides on and off the Senate floor, it was also quickly apparent that Senators in both parties were looking for a way out—a way to avoid a government shutdown.
The signs were an interesting mix:
+ Democrats made clear that Sen. Reid would likely not push to raise the amount of money to be spent in a stop gap budget from the $986 billion figure approved by the House.
+ Senate Republican leaders let it be known that they would not filibuster the temporary budget plan if Democrats succeed in striking language blocking money for the Obama health law.
That means that Democrats will accept the sequester funding levels, not the funding levels agreed to in the Budget Control Act, the law that supposedly set iron-clad spending limits. Instead, they'll accept the levels that the supposedly temporary sequester set. That means foregoing about $70 billion to help lessen the sequester pain. Reid's acquiescence to the austerity funding levels has been all but confirmed by senior Democratic aides, giving the Republicans some measure of saving face. Because by all means, Republicans have to be thrown a bone for not insisting on shutting down the government.
There is one possible move Reid is supposedly considering, amending the House's continuing resolution window through just November 15 instead of December 15. Presumably, we'd be through both this shutdown fight and the debt ceiling hike by then, when perhaps Democrats could take on the larger sequester fight. But how successful they could be after having rolled over in this fight, when the Republicans are over the barrel, is certainly not clear. Right now, a government shutdown would only be blamed on Republicans because of their Obamacare hissy fit. In seven weeks, it's hard to see what advantage Democrats are going to have.
Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Tue Sep 24, 2013 at 09:43 AM PDT.