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House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, and Majority Leader Eric Cantor stand in front of a white flag of surrender
House Republican leadership is already flying the white flag of surrender.
The question now is whether they have the votes to surrender in unison.
If you want to bury something in the news, announcing it in the middle of a presidential inauguration seems like a pretty good way to go, and that's exactly what House Republicans did yesterday when they offered details on exactly how they plan to conduct their debt limit surrender on the floor of the House sometime tomorrow:
Republican leaders in the House of Representatives said they aim to pass on Wednesday a nearly four-month extension of the U.S. debt limit, to May 19.

The measure does not specify a new dollar amount but allows the government to borrow what is needed to meet its obligations during the extension period, according to legislative language released on Monday. [...]

Under the proposed legislation, if either the House or Senate fails to meet the April 15 budget deadline, lawmakers' pay would be withheld under the measure until their chamber passes a budget. If none is passed, they would eventually get paid, but not until next January 15.

This is pretty much what Republicans announced on Friday, but the "no pay" provision is even sillier. Instead of "no budget, no pay" it's "no budget, delayed pay." That's really a side note, however—Senate Democrats are already saying they'll produce a budget and the law already requires them to pass one. Including a demand for one in the debt ceiling bill is stupid, but it's more like insisting on a talking point than anything else. In any meaningful sense, Republicans are waving a white flag here.

The question now is whether House Republicans can pull together enough votes to pass their surrender—or if we're about to see a replay of House Speaker John Boehner's Plan B debacle. One big difference is that if the measure were to pass the House and the Senate, the administration says the president would sign it. Plan B, on the other hand, was never even going to get a vote in the Senate.

Given that this legislation isn't dead on arrival, Republicans may be more willing to vote for it. The conservative Club for Growth has already come and said they won't oppose it unlike with Plan B. Nonetheless, Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) says he'll vote no and Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) says he's leaning no. Meanwhile, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is applying pressure from the right, accusing House Republicans—correctly—of caving.

Boehner can lose 16 Republican votes before he'd need Democratic support to pass the bill, but as the first major legislative action after back-to-back violations of the Hastert Rule, he'll probably do everything he can to make sure he doesn't need any Democratic votes. If he does end up needing them, there's no telling what will happen, because Democrats have no incentive to go out of their way to help the GOP enact its weird (but ultimately meaningless) "delayed pay" gambit.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I suspect the vast majority of the GOP caucus (13+ / 0-)

    will go ahead and vote for the three month extension. Mainly because they went home to their districts after the tax increase and didn't get any mass protests. So, they're probably feeling like they can keep the corporate community happy on this one without earning themselves a challenger who will get some money.

    And that will break the back of this "default" nonsense the way it should have been done in 2011.

  •  This is for pishers (5+ / 0-)

    Just raise the smeggin debt ceiling for the WHOLE YEAR, losers.

  •  They're just regrouping... (9+ / 0-)

    This isn't a surrender, it's them surviving to fight another day.   In four months the re-election afterglow will be gone, as will the mandate which usually lasts about 6 months.  They're hoping by that time they'll have had enough time and help from the MSM to reframe the debate back on out of control spending and debt/deficit issues of 2011 rather than the occupy-inspired focus on the wealth disparity of 2012.  

    The timing, right after tax season is not a mistake either.  

    "The world is made for people who aren't cursed with self awareness" -Annie Savoy (Bull Durham)

    by Jacoby Jonze on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 09:58:09 AM PST

    •  Well, the State of the Union is Feb. 12th, (4+ / 0-)

      and I suspect by then the President would have gotten through the bulk of his major nomination fights.  Then I suspect the budget fight will begin in earnest and that's compressed period of about two months right on through tax season (which for most of Obama's base is a good time of year). So he will have some room to maneuvre around them.

      Now that we can stop all this "one on one behind the scenes negotiations" crap and get back to normal lawmaking, maybe the President can get the better of them as he did here.

      The only problem I forsee is one of these fucking bipartisan "gangs" forming and fucking things up.

    •  I agree...this is more of a retrenchment. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shoeless, blue aardvark, Sacto Joe

      All they've done is kick the can another three months until they can exploit the upcoming FY '13 CR renewal and the sequester to force the budget cuts they want....and the "no budget, no pay" provision is to force the Senate to pass the Ryan budget out of the House, which would lock in the cuts they want.

      I still think that ultimately, we will see a major cave-in by the Democrats, in which a combination of the Simpson-Bowles cuts to Social Security/Medicare/Medicaid, some modest tax increases, and a tradeoff of some defense spending cuts for even deeper social cuts, is bartered for a full year's increase/suspension of the debt ceiling.

      The only fly in the ointment would be whether enough TeaPubs are angry enough at the GOP's walkback on default to revolt...and whether any Progressives in Congress have even the slightest will of commitment to defend social spending.

      Otherwise....don't clink those champagne glasses yet.

      •  Disagree. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Aquarius40, shoeless

        I think this may be a shifting point in American politics; one scholars look back on decades form now as a fundamentla transition in the legislative process.

        The salary thing is a red herring. The real story is that congressional Republians have given up on the Hassert Rule and now appear ready to allow Democrats and moderate Republicans to draft the budget. That's a big deal.

        If I'm reading this correctly, it's almost as if we've encountered the first formal acknowledgment that we're living in a center-left country. Republicans are done threatening the crash of the economy and have developed a mechanism through which they can allow Democrats to control the legislative process, eventhough they are actually the majority party in the House.

        •  How do you see this? I'm not seeing it. (0+ / 0-)
          •  Republicans have a problem. (0+ / 0-)

            Many of the Republican reps from uber-red districts are in a tight spot. Their consitituencies elected them to kill the federal government. They feel like they can't vote for any compromise measures or they will be primaried. The thing is, even these politicians recognize that the times call for a robust federal government and that crashing the economy is not a viable option. Never mind the fact that they are inherently at a weaker position because this house is a product of geremandering and not popularity.

            So what do they do? Cede the legislative process to the Democrats so they can pass the legislation needed to keep the country running. They're still free to vote against everything to their heart's desire -- they're votes just don't really matter. We saw this exact thing in the financial cliff negotiations, where the ultimate resolution was dictated by the democrats in the House and Senate.

            Redstate Republican reps live to fight another day because they can point to their voting records against any primary challenge. The economy doesn't get it's legs chopped off.

            Win, win, win. This looks like the new norm, right? What am I missing.

            •  Why did we give up so much in the financial cliff (0+ / 0-)

              negotiations if we had all the cards?  That's my issue...we have all the cards and are "running the show" and yet give up so much.  We were told it would never go above $250,000 and yet it did.

              Hell, SS was even put on the table by our side...Thank God it went no further than that.  However, the point is that our side made the offer and had zero reason to do so.

               So I just don't see how kicking the can a few months will an ultimatum to budget or we won't raise it again as a fold on their part. Not when we have a history of doing basically giving them most of what they ask for, even if we have the mandate and they have none.

        •  That's fine, but it's just an opinion. (0+ / 0-)

          There's no proof that they have given up the Hassert Rule. Quite the contrary. They're excluding Dems fom this vote! Do you honestly think House Dems wil or shouldl vote to support the bill as is, with the inclusion of that "or else" rider?

          Until I see the Bonehead sitting down to deal with the Minority Leader, the Hassert Rule isn't dead. And the Senate should refuse to pass anything that doesen't include a substantial number of Democratic House votes. They need to back Nancy's play.

  •  The debt limit is like a chastity belt. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, shoeless, blue aardvark, Joe Bob

    Does this mean that Congressional Republicans trust neither themselves, nor their wives?

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 10:00:25 AM PST

  •  Ladies And Gentlemen, May I Present To You (7+ / 0-)

    A quintessential example of what "folding" actually looks like.

    This post is dedicated to myself, without whom, I'd be somebody else. Though I'd still be an asshole. My Music: [http://www.myspace.com/beetwasher]

    by Beetwasher on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 10:00:38 AM PST

  •  Looking at the pic that accompanies this diary, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FiredUpInCA, blue aardvark

    one only need imagine that they're looking at the modern rendition of Moe, Larry, and Curly from L to R.

    I agree with Miffy. Why not go a whole year? Why not two years or even more? What a bunch of wimpy weasles. Go big or go home!

    While not all republicans are bigots, all bigots are republicans.

    by Maximilien Robespierre on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 10:02:06 AM PST

  •  As If GOP Would Shut It Down On Romney's First Day (5+ / 0-)

    That so totally would have happened

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 10:03:11 AM PST

  •  GOPosaur Surrender Monkeys! (4+ / 0-)

    Dear gods, how I've wanted to say that!

    Proponents of gun violence own guns. Opponents of gun violence do not own guns. What part of this do you not understand?

    by Liberal Panzer on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 10:03:49 AM PST

  •  House Democrats should announce (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blue aardvark, shoeless, ColoTim

    that they are "considering" voting Present on the legislation -- just to make John of Orange sweat.

  •  Huh, its called Strategy (0+ / 0-)

    You completely blow over the fact that the senate dems have not put a budget up for four years now.  And every dem voted against Obama's budget.   The only reason the dems are talking about a budget is that the repubs are putting them in a corner.  

  •  I disagree about delayed pay being meaningless: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, shoeless, blue aardvark

    It's a form of blackmail.  It's goes with hostage taking, same playbill.

    "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you succeed." - Nancy Pelosi // Question: "succeed" at what?

    by nailbender on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 10:16:51 AM PST

    •  It's a stupid hostage maneuver, though (4+ / 0-)

      Because most Senators have more net worth to fall back on than most Representatives.

      Economics is a social *science*. Can we base future economic decisions on math?

      by blue aardvark on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 10:26:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  "No pay" unconstitutional, "Delayed pay" unclear (0+ / 0-)

      Refusing to pay Senators (or Representatives) is unconstitutional.  The 27th Amendment has very clear language in its one succinct sentence, possibly because it was written in 1789: "No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened."

      It's not clear to me how the courts would interpret the question of whether a delay in payment would qualify as "varying the compensation".

      •  Well the gist of any employment contract ever (0+ / 0-)

        agreed upon is (from the empolyee's standpoint): "If you hire me, how much are you willing to pay me and when will I get the money?"

        It really is a stupid thing they're doing.

        "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you succeed." - Nancy Pelosi // Question: "succeed" at what?

        by nailbender on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 10:31:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  C'mon, they didn't fold quite that easily . . . (5+ / 0-)

    they also demanded a shrubbery, one that looks nice. And not too expensive.

    Is this the right room for an argument?

    by Drone From7G on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 10:18:01 AM PST

  •  This is, of course, pathetic (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Addison

    They are trying to raise the debt ceiling without actually doing it. Come May 19, when the ceiling resumes applying, the nation will be so far past the ceiling as to force immediate default.

    House GOP to set new low in doing nothing

    Economics is a social *science*. Can we base future economic decisions on math?

    by blue aardvark on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 10:22:10 AM PST

  •  Haha! What a ridiculous cave (0+ / 0-)

    That's what they get for fabricating ridiculously drastic deadlines.  The Republicans thought they were being clever in the last Congress, pushing off all negotiations on taxes and budget in hopes of winning the election.  They set a bunch of traps that they would just walk up to and disarm, because they would be in power.  But when the traps you set are armed only with nuclear bombs, you aren't really being all that clever.  You have no choice but to disarm, whether you are in power or not.

    There is truth on all sides. The question is how much.

    by slothlax on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 11:07:29 AM PST

  •  Not surprised (0+ / 0-)

    Of course, they would want to get their partying in before they began taking bread from the mouths of the poor.  Optics.

  •  Great. Another 3 or 4 months of this. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Addison

    I feel like I’m watching a ball game where one team is running out the clock. The GOP has turned the budget into a perpetual crisis that is never resolved for more than a few weeks or months at a time. This does some great things for the GOP: 1) It keeps their issue at the top of the agenda, so we all have to talk about and react to it, which also to some extent legitimizes it. 2) Everyone is preoccupied making sure the nuts in the GOP don’t blow up the economy – which makes it hard to accomplish much of anything else.

    Basically, every day the GOP can create chaos and dysfunction is one day Pres. Obama and Democrats in Congress can’t effectively legislate and run the government. The GOP’s operational logic is “We had to destroy it in order to save it.”

    Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

    by Joe Bob on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 11:38:20 AM PST

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