Everybody’s happy-ish: The GOP gets $4 billion in cuts, the Democrats get to pretend that this was all their idea, and the federal leviathan keeps chugging along until March 18, when the funding from this bill runs out and we play another game of chicken.
The Senate hasn’t taken up the bill yet but there’s no suspense about what they’ll do. Reid emerged from today’s caucus meeting to say that the votes are there.
The vote was 335-91, with six Republicans opposing the GOP-authored measure. On the other side of the aisle, 104 Democrats voted for it, while 85 voted against the bill.
The Republican-backed stopgap bill was considered palatable by many Democrats because it drew on suggestions made by President Barack Obama in his budget for this year…
Some GOP House members opposed the bill because it did not include more controversial measures to defund Planned Parenthood and the implementation of the Obama-backed health care plan.
Here’s the roll. The six Republicans voting no: Amash, Bachmann, Gohmert, Jones, Steve King, and of course Ron Paul. How come Reid didn’t throw a screaming fit about how “draconian” it is to slice $4 billion from the budget in just two weeks? Well, as noted last Friday, these cuts all come from Obama’s 2012 budget; the GOP proposed them now knowing that Reid would choke on them rather than accuse The One of being “draconian.” Beyond that, though, the polling on whom to blame for a shutdown isn’t there for them this time like it was in 1995. Or at least, not yet:
Thirty-six percent say Republicans would be at fault if the two sides cannot reach a budget deal in time to avert a temporary stoppage of government services, and just about as many, 35 percent, say primary responsibility would rest with the Obama administration. Nearly one in five say the two camps would be equally culpable…
But in 1995, when Bill Clinton was president, 46 percent said they would blame House Speaker Newt Gingrich and congressional Republicans for the impending stoppage, compared with 27 percent who said Clinton would be at fault.
If there is a government shutdown, the decisive group to watch would be independent voters, who form the bulk of those who said they had not decided who would be to blame. On the question of blame, conducted jointly by The Post and the Pew Research Center, about three-quarters of conservative Republicans fault Obama; a similar proportion of liberal Democrats blame the GOP. Independents tilt marginally toward blaming Obama, 37 to 32 percent.
Rasmussen has a new poll out too showing that 58 percent of likely voters prefer a shutdown if it would result in cuts versus 33 percent who’d accept a spending freeze to keep the government running. Now that the short-term battle is over and the next shutdown looms, the GOP has to hammer two “messaging” points above all. One: This chart. Circulate it widely and show just how ridiculously narrow that sliver of $61 billion in cuts is (roughly one-third of the gray sliver). No one who sees it will ever take the “draconian” meme seriously again. And two: Emphasize the fact that many critical services wouldn’t be affected by a shutdown, from the military to Social Security payments to even the post office. For all the left’s shrieking about the “politics of fear,” there’ll be plenty of fearmongering (as usual) on their side over the next 17 days. Counter that and you win the argument.