If the speaker brings an amended CR to the floor, no Democrat will vote for the bill. That route would likely precipitate a government shutdown. But if the amended bill doesn’t meet the (increasingly implacable) demands of the far right of the conference, Boehner won’t get the 217 votes he needs to pass a bill without the Democrats. That route also likely leads to a shutdown. We’re not yet at the proverbial 11th hour before the government runs out of money. But unless Boehner is willing to pass a clean CR with Democratic votes, it seems likely that the 12th hour brings a shutdown.Sensible stuff from NRO:
The Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, has many problematic provisions. Right now one that affects a remarkably small number of Americans — members of Congress and their staff — is attracting a great deal of controversy. It is also causing a great deal of confusion.It's a right wing talking point that somehow Congressional staffers not only must go on the exchanges, they also deserve no subsidies because they aren't real Americans, or something. And Ted Cruz thinks that about all federal employees. See Ted Cruz, David Vitter clash on Obamacare exemption.
The dispute has its origin in the debate over the law in 2010. Republican senator Chuck Grassley suggested an amendment intended to make Democrats balk: Members of Congress and their staff would have to buy their insurance from the health-care exchanges. The amendment explicitly said that the federal government should continue making the same employer contributions. It was not designed to cut employees’ benefits, but rather to make sure they had a stake in the quality and efficiency of the exchanges. Democrats actually accepted it, and put it into the eventually passed bill, but without the provision for employer contributions.
The law thus treats Congress and its staff substantially differently than all other Americans. Many Americans who now get insurance coverage from their employer may end up having to go on the exchanges; but only congressional employees are actually forced onto them, with the option of an employer plan prohibited by law. ...
Nearly half the people in Congress have worked, and are still working, against Obamacare. Senator Vitter’s amendment proposes to cut their pay in order to make a point — a point based on a misunderstanding.
More politics and policy below the fold.
Our challenge today is to explain how Congress evolved into our national nutcase.Maggie Mahar:
I am thinking mainly of the House Republicans. Back in the good old days, last week, these were the guys who said they would vote to raise the debt ceiling only if Obamacare was axed and the Keystone XL pipeline was built.
Ah, last week. Giants strode the earth last week. Last week our nation was governed by men and women who were, as a matter of principle, willing to pay the nation’s creditors when the bills were due just as long as the president canceled his central domestic initiative and oil shippers got a new pipe.
But that was then. This week the House Republican leaders were looking at a long, long list of must-haves that also included changes in regulations relating to coal ash, reduction in Civil Service pensions, restrictions on malpractice suits and an end to some greenhouse gas regulations.
This week the Department of Health and Human Services gave us a look at what insurance will cost in 36 state marketplaces where individuals who don’t have employer-sponsored coverage will be able to buy their own coverage. Those who predicted “sticker shock” should blush. Premiums for the benchmark “silver” plans, which many middle-class consumers are expected to buy, are 16 percent lower than the Congressional Budget Office projected.Politico:
That is before factoring in the government subsidies that millions of people will receive to help them cover the cost of premiums in these marketplaces. Health reform’s opponents tend to ignore those tax credits, but the majority of marketplace customers will qualify for rich subsidies.
House and Senate leadership aides in both parties are increasingly convinced the federal government will close for the first time in more than 17 years on Tuesday morning.Sen. Blumenthal and Monte Frank:
There is still time to avoid such a climactic stalemate, the aides acknowledged, but unless there is a dramatic change in momentum, the partisan showdown over government funding and the future of Obamacare during the next 72 hours, the likelihood of a shutdown has escalated dramatically
We will continue to demand comprehensive, common sense and constitutional federal action on guns to remove the weapons of war from our neighborhoods, to give law enforcement the tools they need to enforce the laws on the books, to make our schools the safest places they can be, and to improve our broken mental health systems. Connecticut's bipartisan success should serve as a national model. It is time for Congress to step up.Hugh Bailey:
After Sandy Hook, we vowed to act so that no other community, no more families would be forced to suffer such an unspeakable tragedy. We had promised this before -- after Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora and Tucson. And we have promised it since then -- after the Navy Yard shooting, and after each and every one of the eight deaths in Bridgeport, or any other city in America. While the path forward is not yet clear, the outcome is -- we are determined, and we will prevail. The "Connecticut effect" has grown into the "America effect" and cannot be stopped.
Dan Debicella would like to be a congressman.The above is how nutter GOP tactics plays locally.
He tried before, running a somewhat close race in [Connecticut's] Fourth District in 2010 by presenting himself as a moderate. This is what nearly every Republican in a Democratic-leaning state wants to do, so it's worth looking at what passes for moderation from a Republican with designs on winning an election these days.
A few days ago, he wrote an op-ed where he said a government shutdown is "looming." He presented this information as though this is something that's just going to happen on its own accord, and wasn't on the horizon solely because the party he represents has decided that it's much easier to make threats than to win elections.
He further said the U.S. is "at risk of defaulting on its debts." If only there were some way to avoid that happening -- maybe by holding a simple yes/no vote in Congress, as has happened many times over the years without controversy. In the past, some people have voted against raising the debt ceiling, occasionally, but always with the knowledge that it was a purely symbolic vote. It's only recently that defaulting on our debt is something a major political party has legitimately entertained. To hear Debicella, it's just something that's ambling down the pike in our direction. Who can tell who's to blame?
The far right needs Obama to fail in order to fulfill their most preposterous prophecies. President Obama must deal with a Republican-controlled House of Representatives that wants nothing more than his demise. There is nothing between the House and the president but a table of cease-fire and surrender at which no one will sit.
The House Republican caucus is full of Captain Ahabs, and Obama is their Moby Dick.