GOP’s “demands” for debt-ceiling hike: Approve the Keystone pipeline or repeal the ObamaCare bailout program

posted at 1:21 pm on February 4, 2014 by Allahpundit

These aren’t demands in the sense of “pass them or we’ll walk.” These are “demands” — scare quotes — in the sense of “we’re going to force Democrats to vote them down so we can use it against them in the midterms, and then we’re going to pass a clean debt-ceiling hike.”

Boehner’s never been willing to risk a technical default before. He’s not going to start now, in an election year when the GOP’s looking at significant gains.

Several House members told The Washington Post on Monday that Republican leaders have narrowed their list of possible debt-limit strategies to two options: trading a one-year extension for approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, or trading a one-year extension for repeal of a provision [the "risk corridor" program] of the Affordable Care Act…

A clean debt-limit extension is not yet on the GOP’s radar, though Boehner has said he would avoid default.

Other proposals, such as requesting a balanced-budget amendment in exchange for an extension, still have broad support in Republican ranks, but have been momentarily shelved, since they are unlikely to win even scattered Democratic support.

If they’re not prepared to hit the ceiling, they should at least make the process as painful as possible for Pryor, Landrieu, and the rest of the red-state Democrats up for reelection this year. Solution: Make them choke on popular populist measures like Keystone approval and an anti-bailout resolution. Vote no on the former and they’re against new jobs; vote no on the latter and they’re for taxpayer giveaways to insurance companies. If they vote yes on both, that’s fine too. Most Democrats will vote no and the GOP can run on that nationally. But how do you make Reid force a vote in the Senate? This way:

Under the plan, discussed by Republicans in a close-door meeting Tuesday, the House would vote on two measures. One of those would permit raising the ceiling on the national debt, which now tops $17 trillion. The other would contain one, two, or more items sought by Republicans in return, such as approval of the Keystone Pipeline or repeal of the so-called “risk corridor” provisions in the Affordable Care Act, which some call a “bail-out” for insurance companies…

Both resolutions would be brought under a rule that allows the Senate to pass just the first measure as a “clean” debt-ceiling increase, but only after they vote on the other resolution, which could contain measures that Republicans believe would be politically difficult for Democrats to reject.

The Keystone and/or “risk corridor” resolution(s) will split 50/50 or 55/45, failing to achieve cloture, and then the clean debt-ceiling hike will be passed. That makes it nice and simple for House Republicans insofar as they won’t be forced to approve a new clean hike after Reid rejects their demands.

One hitch to all of this, though. Remember that the point of the “risk corridor” program is to spread risk among insurers in the volatile first few years of the ObamaCare exchanges. If an insurer comes in under budget on a given plan, it pays the difference to Uncle Sam; if another insurer comes in over budget, Uncle Sam makes up the shortfall. Under the current program, if insurers collectively come in over budget, Uncle Sam’s partially on the hook to cover the excess cost. That’s the bailout fear. According to the new CBO projections today, though, the “risk corridor” program would actually raise $16 billion in revenue for the feds this year versus costing only $8 billion. Repeal it and that’s $8 billion in net revenue for Treasury up in smoke, a fact that’ll be pushed widely by Democrats in defending their eventual “no” votes on the GOP’s repeal resolution. The obvious solution for Republicans is to tweak their resolution so that, instead of repealing the “risk corridor” outright, they make it budget-neutral. I.e. insert a provision that says Uncle Sam will pay out no more to over-budget insurers than it receives from under-budget ones. If CBO’s projection holds, that’s $8 billion for taxpayers. If it doesn’t and insurers collectively end up with a loss, the GOP’s budget-neutral resolution would block a federal bailout to cover those losses. It won’t pass either way, but if they’re worried about the Democrats treating the repeal measure as some sort of money loser, this is a way to take that talking point away.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

I’m waiting for Boehner to threaten to hold his breathe until his face turns blue.

rbj on February 4, 2014 at 1:24 PM

obama will give them the pipeline, excusing his move to the dummie greenies, in order for Boner to cave on the ins. co. bailouts.

To Hades with all who stand with all who stood with obama on obama’care. You are all freedom’s traitors.

Schadenfreude on February 4, 2014 at 1:25 PM

Make sure that you hold hands with Dems on amnesty.

BuckeyeSam on February 4, 2014 at 1:26 PM

Not Or, both! And make them choke all the way to the cliff

AH_C on February 4, 2014 at 1:27 PM

Boehner’s never been willing to risk a technical default before.

There’s that term again. It’s almost like AP has a thing for that buzzword.

Bitter Clinger on February 4, 2014 at 1:28 PM

Before we cave…

d1carter on February 4, 2014 at 1:28 PM

Indeed

Schadenfreude on February 4, 2014 at 1:32 PM

“Time and again, year after year, the Republican leadership in the House and Senate has come to grassroots conservatives, and Tea Party supporters pleading for our money, our volunteers, our time, our energy and our votes,” said ForAmerica Chairman Brent Bozell in a statement to CNN. “In return they have repeatedly promised not just to stop the liberal assault on our freedoms and our national treasury, but to advance our conservative agenda. It’s been years. There is not a single conservative accomplishment this so-called ‘leadership’ can point to.”

ForAmerica, which describes itself as “an online army of over 4.5 million people,” is a conservative non-profit group which has often criticized congressional GOP leaders.

Schadenfreude on February 4, 2014 at 1:35 PM

I’m waiting for Boehner to threaten to hold his breathe until his face turns blue.

rbj on February 4, 2014 at 1:24 PM

Or at least bluish-orange.

SacredFire on February 4, 2014 at 1:40 PM

Why “or” you damned wusses?

redware on February 4, 2014 at 1:40 PM

Schadenfreude on February 4, 2014 at 1:32 PM
great read…tyvm….
Sowell and William are both national treasures,
that don’t get the respect they deserve..

going2mars on February 4, 2014 at 1:44 PM

Both resolutions would be brought under a rule that allows the Senate to pass just the first measure as a “clean” debt-ceiling increase, but only after they vote on the other resolution, which could contain measures that Republicans believe would be politically difficult for Democrats to reject.

These kinds of games disgust me. They are too clever by half and essentially are giving the lazy stupid coward in the White House exactly what he is demanding- a clean debt ceiling increase. And Congress gets to go on the campaign trail claiming a voting record that isn’t true and everybody knows isn’t true before they even cast their votes!

If Obama and the Dems want to raise the debt ceiling yet again, it is time for more than just shucking and jiving. Make the bastards pay dearly.

Happy Nomad on February 4, 2014 at 1:45 PM

Williams…+ an S..sorry Walter..

going2mars on February 4, 2014 at 1:47 PM

How about Both!!!

Barred on February 4, 2014 at 1:47 PM

the dems want the debt raised, make them show their hand and say no after that like Reid did

DanMan on February 4, 2014 at 1:48 PM

going2mars on February 4, 2014 at 1:44 PM

Yw, and indeed, indeed.

Schadenfreude on February 4, 2014 at 1:50 PM

Raise your hand high so we can all see if you believe and/or think Republican leadership has the brains and the moral courage to pull this off without stringing their Claymores with the business end facing towards & not away from, the GOP camp.

anyone, anyone at all?

Sacramento on February 4, 2014 at 1:55 PM

Dagny: Check the new place.

LegendHasIt on February 4, 2014 at 1:58 PM

Raise your hand high so we can all see if you believe and/or think Republican leadership has the brains and the moral courage to pull this off without stringing their Claymores with the business end facing towards & not away from, the GOP camp.

anyone, anyone at all?

Sacramento on February 4, 2014 at 1:55 PM

Not me. No way. Even when they accidentally stumble into a partial win the way they did with the sequester, they still manage to figure out a way to turn it into a loss.

fadetogray on February 4, 2014 at 2:01 PM

This kind of deal making never seems to work out for the Rs. Maybe it’s because the Ds know the Rs will cave, again. This is the only line drawn in the sand that dear leader won’t cross.

Kissmygrits on February 4, 2014 at 2:06 PM

There’s that term again. It’s almost like AP has a thing for that buzzword.

Bitter Clinger on February 4, 2014 at 1:28 PM

The term’s there because it’s accurate. See Keith Hennessey, former Bush economist, for an explanation. Hitting the ceiling wouldn’t cause an actual default because Treasury would have revenue to pay creditors, but yes, it would cause a technical default. Sorry if the “buzzword” doesn’t help your agenda.

Allahpundit on February 4, 2014 at 2:10 PM

At this point the only thing that will help the average citizen is for Washington to hang out a sign stating, “CLOSED FOR REPAIRS”.

DDay on February 4, 2014 at 2:14 PM

Both resolutions would be brought under a rule that allows the Senate to pass just the first measure as a “clean” debt-ceiling increase, but only after they vote on the other resolution, which could contain measures that Republicans believe would be politically difficult for Democrats to reject.

What makes them think Reid will obey the rules? Look what he did to filibustering nominations. Reid will just vote on the clean debt hike first and let the other bill die.

Wethal on February 4, 2014 at 2:17 PM

Pass a House bill that has Keystone or the risk corridor included. If Reid amends either bill, refuse to conference.

Senate rules forbid (or at least did) a conference if one senator objects. That’s how DeMint stopped a conference on Obamacare, resulting in the budget reconciliation method.

Unfortunately, Paul Ryan will start talking to Patty Murray or Chuck Schumer just before the default date….

Wethal on February 4, 2014 at 2:22 PM

“Look I’m all about compromise AFTER we make deal that give me everything I want.”

“The GOP refuses to give up everything to me and that is plain old obstructionist.”

“If it weren’t fro that Fox TV station I would get everything I want with no compromise.”

B. Heusein Obama

jukin3 on February 4, 2014 at 2:26 PM

The Boehner strategy…

Phase I: Make Demands
Phase II: Fold like a cheap suit

cajunpatriot on February 4, 2014 at 2:32 PM

The Boehner strategy…

Phase I: Make Demands
Phase II: Fold like a cheap suit

cajunpatriot on February 4, 2014 at 2:32 PM

You forgot Phase III: Defend folding like a cheap suit by stupid platitudes such as “live to fight another day” and “a hill too high.”

Happy Nomad on February 4, 2014 at 2:36 PM

Republicans trying to play hardball, it just doesn’t work. This is going to go down like this:

Boehner: This or that Mr. President.
0: Umm, no. Give me what I want
Boehner: OK, I thought I would ask first.

tommer74 on February 4, 2014 at 2:46 PM

…let’s quit calling them Republicans…and call them Cavemen!

KOOLAID2 on February 4, 2014 at 2:57 PM

Great post, AP.

cdog0613 on February 4, 2014 at 3:03 PM

One must understand that Obama couldn’t give a rat’s backside about the debt or anything else, other than his unstoppable march towards a pure Marxist State. These demands by the GOP are useless and foolish.

rplat on February 4, 2014 at 3:11 PM

Obama song dedication to Boehner:
SAD EYES
Sad eyes,
turn the other way,
I don’t want to see
you crying

Marcola on February 4, 2014 at 3:13 PM

You forgot Phase III: Defend folding like a cheap suit by stupid platitudes such as “live to fight another day” and “a hill too high.”

Happy Nomad on February 4, 2014 at 2:36 PM

That about pegs it.

All this does is confirm that come the next session of Congress in January 2015, we need a complete refresh of the GOP leadership.

It won’t pass either way, but if they’re worried about the Democrats treating the repeal measure as some sort of money loser, this is a way to take that talking point away.

AP – that’s an excellent solution / recommendation. One of the problems that the GOP is having is that the House has been passing a number of bills – that just disappear, untouched, undebated, and unremarked upon in Harry Reid’s circular file.

There’s been next to no messaging done, or being done, about the reality of the ‘do-nothing Congress’ is centered right in the Senate and Harry Reid’s office.

But until that changes, Boehner will continue to do the three step as defined by cajunpatriot and Happy Nomad.

Athos on February 4, 2014 at 3:17 PM

This is all Fox New’s fault

Deafdog on February 4, 2014 at 3:19 PM

Boehner’s problem is that he is playing poker with crooks. Reid is a lying sack of shiite and King Putt is the narcissist from Hell. Both Dingy Harry and Obowmao are playing with ‘house money’.

Old rule of poker: If you’re in a ‘not so friendly’ game and you don’t know who the mark is … you’re the mark.

And in the case of Ryan going to Chuckie Schumer for help or cooperation on ANYTHING, Paul better understand that he’ll get taken to the cleaners big time.

Missilengr on February 4, 2014 at 3:25 PM

“I love listening to Republicans talk tough. It makes me laugh. If Reagan were here, he’d laugh too.” – a variation on a movie quote that fits this story nicely.

Jack_Burton on February 4, 2014 at 3:28 PM

Allah,

If you or Hennessey create the definition for tech default, of course you’re right. I think you always miss the point that the other commenters raised: hitting the debt ceiling is not the same as a default AND would more importantly automatically cut spending. Many of us believe this to be good medicine regardless of politics.

kpguru on February 4, 2014 at 4:04 PM

Just force a vote in the Senate on Ocare bailout………the GOP would win the vote. There isn’t a Dem who would vote against it who is up for re-election.

Tater Salad on February 4, 2014 at 5:35 PM

Under the plan… the House would vote on two measures. One of those would permit raising the ceiling on the national debt, which now tops $17 trillion. The other would contain one, two, or more items sought by Republicans in return…

Both resolutions would be brought under a rule that allows the Senate to pass just the first measure as a “clean” debt-ceiling increase, but only after they vote on the other resolution, which could contain measures that Republicans believe would be politically difficult for Democrats to reject.

Um, guys, that’s all clever and whatnot, but Harry Reid and the Senate Dems just change the rules as they like. So they would just change this rule and only bring the clean debt limit hike to the floor, and it would pass easily. No embarrassing Keystone or bailout votes.

Zumkopf on February 4, 2014 at 6:04 PM

technical default

FFS, AP.

If you continue to use that, we must simply understand that you’re using it *KNOWING* that it’s bullshit, and you’re just bleating that talking point in furtherance of covering the collective a$$es of the people using any old bullshit excuse because they – and you – *WANT* to increase the ceiling, spending, and the debt.

There’s no way that you’re not aware that it’s bullshit at this point.

Midas on February 4, 2014 at 6:53 PM

The term’s there because it’s accurate. See Keith Hennessey, former Bush economist, for an explanation. Hitting the ceiling wouldn’t cause an actual default because Treasury would have revenue to pay creditors, but yes, it would cause a technical default. Sorry if the “buzzword” doesn’t help your agenda.

Allahpundit on February 4, 2014 at 2:10 PM

Sorry, just saw this.

And… it’s bullshit. There’s no ‘agenda’ in accurate terminology. LOL

It’s *you* that’s using a “buzzword” that helps *your* agenda.

Congratulations – you’ve achieved ‘technical default’ in word usage.

Midas on February 4, 2014 at 6:59 PM