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Sen. Ted Cruz and House Speaker John Boehner
Washington Post:
With federal agencies set to close their doors in five days, House Republicans began exploring a potential detour on the path to a shutdown: shifting the fight over President Obama’s health-care law to a separate bill that would raise the nation's debt limit.

If it works, the strategy could clear the way for the House to approve a simple measure to keep the government open into the new fiscal year, which will begin Tuesday, without hotly contested provisions to defund the Affordable Care Act.

But it would set the stage for an even more nerve-racking deadline on Oct. 17, with conservatives using the threat of the nation’s first default on its debt to force the president to accept a one-year delay of the health-care law’s mandates, taxes and benefits.

According to Politico, however, Boehner is still considering demanding Obamacare concessions in legislation to fund the government:
Privately, the speaker is trying to notch a couple of victories for his side on the stopgap spending measure before moving on to the debt ceiling fight. When Boehner sends the spending bill back to the Senate, potentially on the eve of the Oct. 1 deadline, he may target unpopular Obamacare provisions, including federal dollars to help pay for lawmakers’ and aides’ insurance coverage or a delay of the individual mandate for one year.
If strongarming those sorts of results from the continuing resolution is not possible—which it won't be—then Boehner is prepared to keep government open for a week, says Politico, at which point he would shift his focus to the debt limit.
Boehner’s strategy all along has been to place outsize importance on the debt ceiling fight. His reasoning is simple: He thinks Obama’s position — that he will not negotiate on lifting the borrowing limit — is impossible to maintain. So the speaker has compiled a debt hike bill with a bunch of goodies that they think House Republicans will vote for, and red state Senate Democrats won’t want to avoid.
That's true as far as the current round of fiscal battles is concerned—Boehner was saying the same thing earlier this month. But it's pretty much the exact opposite of what Boehner was saying six months ago, when he was trying to convince his caucus that the debt limit wasn't their "ultimate leverage"—the sequester was. Sure enough, during that fight Boehner caved on the debt limit, getting absolutely nothing in return for raising it. Now we're seeing a different bluff—but in many ways, it's the same tune.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Just let us know when Christmas is canceled Boner. (5+ / 0-)
  •  He's going to go after Legislators and their staff (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    micsimov, a2nite, True North, thomask, cocinero

    ?
    Stupid bas+ard! I don't begrudge our elected officials and their staffs their perks. If we don't pay them well, someone else will. Mistreat the staff and you get bad outcomes.
    I just want the rest of us to have access like they do.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 06:46:54 AM PDT

    •  I can't see congress ever prohibiting (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cocinero

      employers from contributing to their employees' health insurance costs, but that's what Republicans are trying to do to employees of the house and senate offices.  Apparently this is how much the Republicans value their staffs and aides.  The house and senate members themselves have enough money and make high enough wages that such a move wouldn't limit their ability to buy health insurance at all.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 08:52:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If the Repugs want to force a shut down of the (9+ / 0-)

    government over this, then shut it down.  If the Repugs want to force the US into default over this, then let's default.  Any of those scenarios are far less damaging to the US and it's people in the long run than constantly giving into insane demands of terrorists.  Obama should approach this "negotiation" with the mentality that he will absolutely let the Repugs force and take the blame for a government shut down and/or not raising the debt limit.  When you hold every last card in the deck, there's no such thing as a bluff.

    •  Default is a bad hand for the GOP... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite, kenosha kid, forgore, True North

      Their t party masters are probably fine burning the place down, but the ones that send the checks are not cool with their stock price tanking and the inability to obtain what is essentially free money at these interest rates.

      Boehner probably knows he won't get the votes for default. Its a lot easier for the GOP to shut down the government than it is to piss off their overlords.

    •  Default, then let's send the whole GOP caucus (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FraidKnot

      on a junket to Europe and watch what their reception is like.

      My guess?

      They'll be welcomed as liberators.

      Righteousness is a wide path. Self-righteousness is a bullhorn and a blindfold.

      by Murphoney on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 07:32:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The thugs will cave (0+ / 0-)

      once the business class starts screaming. I believe Obama and the dems will stay calm and strong and not relent.

      I can believe an accidental default might happen just because the republican party is so mindless, but I doubt even that will happen.

  •  I have no idea what to expect from Boner. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jrooth, a2nite, forgore, True North, miracle11

    I don't think he has a plan, he's just trying to get through each day.

    He's dangerous in the same way that a toddler with a loaded weapon is dangerous.

    I agree that it's not particularly courageous to solve a problem on the backs of people who are poor, or people who are powerless, or don't have lobbyists, or don't have clout.

    by teknofyl on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 06:48:31 AM PDT

  •  My offer is this: nothing. (11+ / 0-)

    I would give up a month's paycheck to see the look on Orange Julius's face if Obama went Godfather II on him.

    I wish the Dems had their act together enough to send it back to the House with a higher mark. Seems we're always in a bunker mentality, allowing these fools to fritter away at the baseline, rather than negotiating from a position of strength. I guess you don't play chicken with terrorists.

  •  Republicans are placing a huge bet (4+ / 0-)

    on the short memory of the voter. When 2014 comes around, their willingness to blow up the government, or worse yet, the world economy just to get their way on Obamacare  could scare the bejesus out of any sane voter.

    Obama should just stand calm and firm for now. This is the time for him to be the grownup in the room. If Republicans are  seen to be willing to shutter the government, or default on our bills, the case will be made to the voter in 2014 to choose between the sane and the irresponsible.

    In their hearts, they know that they cannot do this, despite the teapublican insanity. They have to cave; McCain seems to understand that, as I'm sure many others do.

    'Scuse me while I go out for popcorn.

    ... but He loves you! -- George Carlin -- (-7.25, -6.21)

    by Tim DeLaney on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 06:53:38 AM PDT

    •  Ding ding ding...that's why they are doing it now (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tim DeLaney

      Next year, they lose all their leverage. You can't shut it down or default in an election year. Simply can't do it and not get slaughtered.

      •  Election Year or Not (4+ / 0-)

        You can't default in any year, it will make the 2008 financial meltdown look minor.  Voters won't forget that in a year. That's why it won't happen; the big money supporters of the Republican party know how catastrophic it will be.  And even if they didn't, the platinum coin or some other work around will be used, Obama doesn't have reelection to worry about like he did in 2011.

      •  By next year Obamacare = same old same old (0+ / 0-)

        Like gay marriage, once it goes into effect, the lie-mongering doesn't work any more because people can observe the impact and can see that the scare-stories are just not true.

        And they can't fund-raise on it any more either.

        This is the last chance, and they're trying to cash in on it.

        Kudos to all the geniuses in the Democratic side who recognized that the ACA needed to go into effect in an off-year not an election season.

    •  Why I'm rooting for the terrorists at this point- (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tim DeLaney, True North, jrooth

      The memory issue.

      If they back down at the last minute, nothing happens, everything is back to the way it was before, and in two weeks, the top headlines will be some other mass shooting somewhere and Miley Cyrus's new music video ("Donkey Show": Does It Go Too Far??) and in a year, no one but the "political geek" fringe will remember this even happened.

  •  God damn it, Republicans, if you hate the govt (8+ / 0-)

    so much, why don't you get other jobs? I'm sure as shit sick of paying you to do nothing.

    I live under the bridge to the 21st Century.

    by Crashing Vor on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 06:54:19 AM PDT

  •  If they push Obama far enough he has the ultimate (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rich in PA, True North

    ace(s) in the hole... Trillion Dollar Coin, 14th amendment, and there may be others... I forget.

    He doesn't want to go there, but he certainly could. I don't see SCOTUS stopping him, and even if they did it would he might not even be president anymore when they got there.

    The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy;the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness

    by CTMET on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 06:54:36 AM PDT

    •  The only good thing about this phony crisis... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Randomfactor

      ...is that we get to hear about the Trillion Dollar Coin again!  That makes it almost worthwhile, in my opinion.

      You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

      by Rich in PA on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 06:58:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Nancy Pelosi (0+ / 0-)

      agrees with you.  She said that pretending the debt limit fandango is even legal is where she departs with the President.

        If only he would exercise the constitutional power he has been granted, and stop with the powers that are more questionable!

    •  I was thinking about that last night. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      True North

      I confess the main attraction of the idea for me has always been the image of right-wing heads exploding nationwide.  But it may actually be getting to the point where it's the only option.

      The Republicans' proposed debt limit bill is pure insanity:

      In return for a one-year suspension of the debt ceiling, House Republicans are demanding a yearlong delay of Obamacare, Rep. Paul Ryan’s tax reform plan, the Keystone XL pipeline, more offshore oil drilling, more drilling on federally protected lands, rewriting of ash coal regulations, a suspension of the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to regulate carbon emissions, more power over the regulatory process in general, reform of the federal employee retirement program, an overhaul of the Dodd-Frank financial regulations, more power over the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s budget, repeal of the Social Services Block Grant, more means-testing in Medicare, repeal of the Public Health trust fund, and more.
      Obviously we all hope Speaker Boner is bluffing, but what's the plan if he truly doesn't back down?

      "That capability at any time could be turned around on the American people and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything ... There would be no place to hide." - Senator Frank Church

      by jrooth on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 07:06:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There will be DEMANDS FOR IMPEACHMENT... in (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        miracle11, a2nite

        all capital letters just like that.

        The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy;the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness

        by CTMET on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 08:30:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sure, but that doesn't answer the question. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cocinero, Mr MadAsHell

          If Boner doesn't blink - one of three things happens:

          1) Obama blinks - this is disaster.  It validates the use of the debt limit in Republican brinkmanship for the foreseeable future.  We will be stuck with Republican governance regardless of who is in the majority.

          2) We default on our debts.  This is also disaster, with short-term worldwide financial panic and long-term increase in interest rates, possible abandonment of the dollar as the world reserve currency and so on.

          3) President Obama sidesteps the crisis by either doing the coin trick or unilaterally renouncing the debt limit.  Either one would doubtless lead to call for impeachment (and probably actual impeachment but not conviction.)  But given the options, it's still the best available choice.

          "That capability at any time could be turned around on the American people and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything ... There would be no place to hide." - Senator Frank Church

          by jrooth on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 08:49:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Send him on a fact-finding tour (0+ / 0-)

        ...to Benghazi.

        America, we can do better than this...

        by Randomfactor on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 08:32:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  and a pony? (0+ / 0-)

        and a partridge in a pear tree?

  •  they won't do it (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    True North, miracle11


    Boehner has learned how to cave: and he and his caucus have to put up token resistance till the 11th hour before they do.

    "Kossacks are held to a higher standard. Like Hebrew National hot dogs." - blueaardvark

    by louisev on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 07:03:02 AM PDT

  •  When the Senate passes a clean CR (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cocinero

    and the House changes it in any way, the Senate should back the CR with a 50% pay decrease for all Congress members.

    And why do Teabaggers keep talking about how they're going to get Red state Senate Democrats up for re-election next year to suddenly vote their way on Obamacare when the ALL voted for Obamacare in the first place?  If these Dems now suddenly vote to defund Obamacare, or delay it, you mean to tell me that their Teabagger challengers won't use their original vote for Obamacare against them all of a sudden?  Get real Teabaggers; Sarah Palin's just an illusion.

    The Democrats care about you after you're born. --Ed Schultz

    by micsimov on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 07:03:37 AM PDT

  •  Dumb as hell MSM is selling GOP agreeing to raise (0+ / 0-)

    debt ceiling as a big concession on their part, and thus they should get something in return.  GOP would be happy with any one thing off their "want list", and are trying to get the MSM to make this a regular negotiation - where they'll operate in good faith and give up all but 1-2 of their demands and have the MSM run with how fair their being and how bad Obama and Dems are for not negotiating at all and offering nothing.  

    GOP also likes to bring up that Pres Obama once voted against raising the Debt Ceiling, and MSM always harps on that as well.  

    Glenn Greenwald promotes far-right fringe extremist group The Oath Keepers - https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/statuses/377787818619064320

    by Jacoby Jonze on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 07:04:33 AM PDT

  •  "Republicans shift focus" (0+ / 0-)

    Focus Pinky Focus

    One is a Genius The other's insane

    They're Pinky,Pinky and The Brain Brain Brain

    Narf!

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 07:20:03 AM PDT

  •  Obamacare was never the goal (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MO Blue, limpidglass

    Once again, the GOP will have a big list of stuff that they're going to demand at the real fight, the debt limit fight, and the Dems have nothing but "don't defund Obamacare".

    How will the public react when the Republicans start reading a big list of demands they're giving up, including defunding Obamacare, and the Dems haven't given up a damn thing, because they haven't demanded anything.  The public doesn't have a clue that we shouldn't even be negotiating over the debt limit, all they see is those damn stubborn Dems are sending us into default by refusing to negotiate.

    The pressure on the Dems to cave on some GOP demands will be great, and they will.

    Instead of worrying about the fake defunding Obamacare, we should be calling our reps and demanding that they have their own list ready for the last minute negotiations so the "compromise" is no worse than what we have now.

    The sequester was a disaster for progressives in 2011, when many thought we had won.  Let's not repeat that mistake again.

  •  support for their ACA opposition and to single pay (0+ / 0-)

    yer and then pubic option is built largely on years of unchallenged right wing radio repetitious lying and distortion and it's success and capacity for forcing compromise is built entirely on the ability of the dem party and the major progressive orgs to ignore this simple fact.

    will a last minute suicide mission by GOP limbaugh dittoheads like cruz extract another compromise?

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 07:37:02 AM PDT

  •  Can I Float an Idea Without Getting Attacked? (0+ / 0-)

    Granted, a one year delay in the individual mandate is too long.  It probably would have significant ramifications on cost savings.

    But what about a delay of 4 to 6 months or so?  The insurance exchanges would still open up on October 1, allowing people to begin reviewing the options and selecting policies that are right for them.  Pushing back the mandate a few months would merely allow people more time to review their choices and select a plan before they are compelled by the mandate to decide.  I don't think it is good politically for Dems. to stand firm on the mandate date especially when the president has already pushed back the employer mandate date.  Depriving people of more time to decide something as critical as health insurance is not a winning political position.  Also, we would leave the January 1 date for subsidies intact.

    In return for this short delay on the mandate, we would insist on a clean CR and a clean debt ceiling raise.

    Just and idea.

    "Some men see things as they are and ask, 'Why?' I dream of things that never were and ask, 'Why not?"

    by Doctor Who on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 07:48:27 AM PDT

    •  All that accomplishes (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      True North, miracle11, Mr MadAsHell

      is confirming for the Republicans that their brinkmanship works, and confirming yet again to the electorate that Democrats are weak, along with shortening the time for people to begin appreciating the good parts of the ACA before the next election and giving the Republicans that much more time to plausibly campaign of how it's "failed."

      So, no.

      "That capability at any time could be turned around on the American people and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything ... There would be no place to hide." - Senator Frank Church

      by jrooth on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 07:57:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No. Thanks for playing. (0+ / 0-)

      n/t

      America, we can do better than this...

      by Randomfactor on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 08:28:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  People already have 6 months to decide. (0+ / 0-)

      Oct. 1 until March 31.

    •  what's so difficult to decide? (0+ / 0-)

      People don't need "more time to decide." (The Medicare Drug Plan window each year for deciding is only what, six weeks?)

      And some of us badly need the coverage. Now.

      Delaying the mandate by 4-6 months (but not delaying availability of policies through the exchange) is possible, but not particularly useful -- and will make a nightmare come tax time when people have to calculate if they owe a penalty. It will also further confuse people into thinking that the whole ACA is being delayed.

      And it sets an awful precedent that if you throw a temper tantrum, you'll get ice cream instead of a spanking.

      So at the end of the 4-6 months, we'd get another round demanding another delay.

  •  Had dinner last night with a NASA project manager (5+ / 0-)

    and all resources in his office have been shifted to preparing for a shut down, not because it's likely to happen, but because they have to be prepared (lesson learned from previous threat in 1995).  Ridiculous waste of tax money when multiplied by all the agencies out there.  And they aren't doing the real jobs in the meantime.

    How much is the threat costing the tax payers?  Does CBO have a report on much a failed threat costs us?

    We are all in this together.

    by htowngenie on Thu Sep 26, 2013 at 07:53:25 AM PDT

  •  If Republicans really want to harm America (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jrooth, cocinero, a2nite

    I can't think of a better 1 -2 punch then defunding the ACA and defaulting on the debt. This would be much more effective then anything Al Qaeda has come up with.

  •  Question about Congress & insurance (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cocinero

    Would someone please explain this issue to me?

    ...unpopular Obamacare provisions, including federal dollars to help pay for lawmakers’ and aides’ insurance coverage
    I recall the comments about Grassley proposing an amendment to ACA, that members of Congress and their staff would get their insurance through ACA exchanges. It passed.

    And I recall some comments about the glitches, because ACA didn't have a mechanism for this one large employer to be in the exchanges this early, and perhaps no mechanism for employer contributions.

    Now the meme I'm hearing from RW people is a complaint about an exemption for Congress.

    Has there been a development involving an exemption?

    Lawmakers and aides' already have health insurance with contributions from their employer, just like almost everybody else who works for a respectable large employer. It is nothing new to use federal dollars for this purpose.

    Is it even constitutional for Congress to eliminate the employer contribution to health insurance for members of Congress immediately, since that changes their compensation?

    •  Warning! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      True North

      Don't try to make sense of the latest daily talking point from the right wing propaganda machine, the Surgeon General has determined your head might explode.  :)

    •  Details of benefits aren't "compensation" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      True North

      so yes, they can change the formula for how Congresspeople get their health insurance and who pays how much. I'm quite sure the SCOTUS would rule that the Constitutional provision was designed to prevent Congress from raising its own salary effective immediately.

      Will some doufus who voted for the ACA provision nevertheless file a legal challenge? Probably. But they'll lose.

      My understanding is that under the ACA as it currently stands, Congresspeople and their staffs are required to purchase their insurance through the exchanges; I'm not sure if they have to use the one where they live or what. The only question still out there is whether the government can provide the same subsidy that it currently does, which other private employers can't do.

      •  Thanks! (0+ / 0-)

        The clarification about "compensation" helps. I don't feel too sorry for members of Congress: they were the ones who got a vote. Good point about which exchange to use: there will be all those networks and whatnot, and most members do spend time in both the home state and DC.

        I feel quite sorry for their staff. I hope the pages will be eligible for subsidies.

        From your comment, it sounds like the status quo (as I understood it) hasn't changed much. Nobody has been exempted from anything; they will go through the exchanges; and eventually the question of the employer contribution will be resolved.

        So the right wing meme is wrong. Such a shock.

  •  This is Boehner making the best of bad choices (0+ / 0-)

    They can't do the government shutdown thing.  Even though it's not 1995 anymore, I think all of their polling and intel tells them that shutting down the government would have an immediate impact on a lot of voters, many of which are republicans and independents who vote GOP.  This would give the Dems plenty to campaign on in 2014, and rile up the Dem base.  So, it appears that they won't die on this tree.

    The debt ceiling is another issue.  Everybody said the sky would fall due to sequester.  It went into effect, and for most middle, upper middle class, and senior Americans (the ones who vote in midterms), it's been a shrug.  The sky is still up there, at least since they fixed the airport delay thing.  I think they may be betting that default won't be as bad as advertised.  They can pass a debt limit increase with some of their demands in it.  When Dems reject it, they can claim that they voted to increase the debt limit, and Dems didn't.  If the MSM treats this as he-said/she said, the public will blame EVERYBODY.  If that happens, they ostensibly win.  

    If Obama does one of the fixes (trillion dollar coin/14th Ammend), the House will impeach him (bet on it).  Even though the Senate won't convict him, a lot of Senate Dems will be in an uncomfortable position of having to vote to defend him (how will Mary Landrieu like that?).  Obama doesn't want to be impeached, even if acquitted.  Every bio I have ever seen of Bill Clinton talks about his impeachment.  In 10 years, my kids won't have any idea why he was impeached, or if it was just, they'll just know he was impeached - so he must have been a bad president.  Obama does not want this.  Besides, you want an issue to gin up the GOP base in 2014, this would be it.

    My guess is that the GOP punts on government funding, and passes a mostly clean CR.  On the debt limit, my guess is that they work out some kind of deal that gives the GOP some of their demands, and allows Boehner to save face.  

    The problem with the debt limit is that the Dems and Obama don't want default any more than the GOP (perhaps even less).  This was the GOP problem last December.  They couldn't win the tax increase battle, because the do nothing result was a worse tax increase, and Obama/Dems preferred that to taking a GOP deal.  This time, I think the GOP is banking on Obama not being willing to let default happen, because the alternative is worse for him/Dems, than making a deal with the GOP would be.  

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