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Within minutes of the Senate vote tabling the House GOP's plan to delay Obamacare for a year, House Republicans leaked word of their latest extortion demand, delaying the individual mandate for a year, and said they would vote on it this evening.
Moments later during a press conference, a reporter asked Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid about the GOP's latest gambit. Reid's response: It's dead on arrival.
"We are not going to get bullied," Reid said, adding that the Senate would not entertain extortion demands from the GOP because if you give into a bully once, you're simply asking to get bullied again. Reid said that as soon the GOP sends another another list of demands, the Senate would immediately vote to reject them.
Neither Reid nor any of the Democrats who spoke during the press conference showed any sign of wavering. Reid explained their resolve: "This is horrible what they are doing now, but the debt ceiling is cataclysmic."
So with Republicans making crazy demands and Harry Reid and Senate Democrats refusing to be bullied into accepting those demands, what possible path forward could there be? It's simple: House Republicans need to pass a "clean" funding bill to prevent a shutdown—in other words, a bill without poison pills. That's exactly what the Senate has sent over to the House; the legislation is waiting at House Speaker John Boehner's desk, and if he would simply allow a vote on it, the House would approve it and it would go to the president for his signature, thereby avoiding a government shutdown.
In the words of Sen. Chuck Schumer:
We won't be extorted now, we won't be extorted two weeks from now, we won't be extorted in December. Speaker Boehner: Pass our bill.
Eventually that's exactly what's going to happen. The only question is how much longer John Boehner and tea party Republicans are going to continue dragging themselves through mud.