The Senate stayed up late Wednesday, passing a continuing resolution to keep funding government operations, 87-11. The legislation finances federal government operations at current spending levels, the strongest selling point for Democrats who overwhelmingly passed the bill in both the House and Senate. It also creates two expiration dates for the funding, Jan. 19 and Feb. 2, the part of the plan cooked up by the House Freedom Caucus and Speaker Mike Johnson that Democrats hate having to swallow.
“I will vote for this bill to avoid a senseless shutdown, though I don’t care for this idea of two funding deadlines and double the shutdown risk,” Sen. Patty Murray of Washington said Wednesday before the vote, summing up the general Democratic attitude toward the bill. “It’s always ‘compared to what?’ around here. Compared to the alternatives that some of the far-right House members were pushing for, this is better,” Sen. Chris Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat, told The Washington Post. “I would prefer to see one deadline, but this is better than the alternatives and, yes, we will be back.”
Senate Republicans were less than thrilled with it as well. Sen. Mike Rounds of South Dakota derided the House Republicans, saying, “If it makes the kids happy, then what the heck?” By “kids” he means the nihilistic House GOP. “It’s Thanksgiving, and you know what? If you want to eat your dessert before you eat your turkey, that’s fine. But it will make it a bigger problem down the road,” he added.
That’s the problem Republican Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia has with it as well. “I liked the Christmas date the best,” she told Politico, referring to the Senate’s push to have a CR expire before year’s end as an incentive for Congress to complete work on the permanent funding bills. "But obviously this sounds like it’s congealing. So we’ll just live with it.”
The two-step CR Johnson adopted from the Freedom Caucus does indeed postpone the fight while creating double the shutdown threat. It also failed to appease the maniacs because Johnson didn’t couple it with crippling budget cuts. The hard-liners wanted to shut down the government. They always want to shut down the government. Failure to do so is what really enrages them, and they will now make Johnson’s political life as hellish as they made it for deposed GOP Speaker Kevin McCarthy and, before him, Paul Ryan and John Boehner.
Having kicked that can down the road, everyone is now maneuvering for position in the big fights on spending levels. The maniacs are going to demand massive cuts. The House GOP “moderates” will oppose them, as will House Democrats who Johnson clearly needs to get anything accomplished. A united Senate—Democrats and Republicans there have agreed on spending levels already—will oppose the nihilists, too.
So the House “kids” are completely outnumbered, as they always have been. Now it’s up to Johnson to deal with them, to decide to relegate them to the minority status they deserve, and get on with the jobs Congress is supposed to be doing.
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Republicans are challenging labor leaders to fights and allegedly physically assaulting one another. Donald Trump says he will abolish reproductive rights entirely and is openly calling for the extermination of his detractors, referring to them as “vermin” on Veterans Day. The Republican Party has emerged from its corruption cocoon as a full-blown fascist movement.