Sahil Kapur over at Talking Points Memo makes the case for a possible funding fight just before the elections. Although few think this might lead to a shut down, this presents some VERY interesting possibilities for Democrats to make some substantial last minute gains in the elections.
First, here's the case Mr. Kapur makes.
... Congress is currently on course for a battle to keep the federal government funded when the new fiscal year begins on Oct. 1.... the appropriations process has screeched to a halt over extraneous policy issues and procedural disputes.So given the number of times the Republicans have shutdown the Government or held the budget process hostage, or picked a fight over one thing or another, who do you think the uninformed voters who will be showing up at the polls in Nov. will blame for a big budget fight right before the election?
Once Congress returns from the August recess, it'll have a mere 10 working days to agree to a bill before the government partially shuts down. And there are two contentious issues in particular that are roped in with the CR debate.
The first is reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, which supports billions of dollars in U.S. exports and thousands of American jobs through loan guarantees and other products. Its charter expires on Oct. 1, and many House conservatives, including incoming Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), are enthusiastic about shutting the bank down, bashing it as an emblem of corporate welfare and crony capitalism. Senate Democratic leaders recognize that and may force the issue by attaching renewal of the bank to their CR.
The second issue is the battle over President Barack Obama's recently proposed rules on coal-fired power plants to combat climate change. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who faces a tough reelection fight in his coal-heavy state, has aggressively fought to attach his amendment blocking the rule to appropriations legislation.
Am I mistaken, or do the Democrats have a golden opportunity to try and squeeze some things they want out of the Republicans? Again, if this turns into a big fight, and why wouldn't Ted Cruz not want to jump into the middle of this, and everyone is pointing fingers at each other, and some Republicans are talking about impeachment while others are talking about suing the President and they're all talking about taking health insurance away from millions of Americans, why wouldn't the Democrats want this?
If Mr. Kapur is even half right about this, the Democrats have a great opportunity to turn some of these close races in their favor. Opportunity is knocking, will the Democrats answer the door?