Yet another House GOP plan has gone kaput.
Conservatives didn’t like Republican leadership’s initial continuing resolution and debt limit proposal. So leadership amended it. But even after changes were made, conservatives appear to have once again derailed the bill…
Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Texas, said, “We will be prepared tomorrow to make some decisions.”
Hard-line conservatives and more pragmatic Republicans were nearing open revolt Tuesday evening, after House Republican leadership rushed out a new bill in the afternoon, forcing a postponement of any vote on the measure. With the latest delay, chances increased that a resolution would not be reached before the Treasury exhausted its borrowing authority on Thursday…
“It’s very, very serious,” said Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona. “Republicans have to understand we have lost this battle, as I predicted weeks ago, that we would not be able to win because we were demanding something that was not achievable.”…
Representative Adam Kinzinger, Republican of Illinois, said that if House Republicans could not rally behind a proposal from their leadership, they would most likely be forced to accept the plan taking shape in the Senate — something many Republican House members have already said is unacceptable.
“If our party can’t pass this, then there’s no doubt we’re going to end up with what the Senate sends us,” Mr. Kinzinger said. “Look, if my colleagues can’t muster together and sometimes accept good because they’re waiting for perfect, then that’s on them.”
Heritage Action said the deal would do nothing to stop the implementation of ObamaCare.
“Unfortunately, the proposed deal will do nothing to stop ObamaCare’s massive new entitlements from taking root — radically changing the nature of American healthcare,” the group said in a statement…
“Last month, Republicans in the House took a principled stand to defund this law, offering merely to delay it for a year. President Obama, Senator Harry Reid, and congressional Democrats have refused to consider any changes to the unpopular healthcare law,” [FreedomWorks’s Matt] Kibbe wrote.
“Now House Republicans are contemplating an amendment that would life the debt ceiling and fund ObamaCare in return for essentially nothing. It’s basically a full surrender to the intransigent left and another win for the insulated Beltway elites.”
Referring to his plan to preemptively send the Senate a House-passed bill, Speaker John Boehner told his conference this morning that he’d “rather throw a grenade than catch a grenade.” But with his right-wing troops abandoning him again, it was the speaker who was left holding the bomb…
“It’s all over. We’ll take the Senate deal,” says a senior GOP aide. Senator Mitch McConnell’s office quickly noted to reporters that the Kentucky Republican would be taking back the lead.
A key moment in the fight came when Heritage Action announced it was “key voting” against the bill. Support was already flagging, and the decision made up the minds of many members sitting on the fence.
“People are thinking about primaries, they really are,” says a GOP chief of staff.
The tea party’s future as an influential Washington player is at stake in the showdown over the debt limit and federal budget.
If Democrats and establishment Republicans seal a deal without making any major changes to the new Affordable Care Act, the battle over the debt limit and reopening the government could marginalize the tea party as a force within the government, if not the country.
Tea party leaders vehemently disagree. A deal without significant changes in the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, would energize them even further, said Jenny Beth Martin, Tea Party Patriots co-founder. “If they cut a deal that does not include Obamacare, you’ll see us more organized than ever for the next election,” she said.
If Obamacare was a piñata, that would be like walking away after you’ve lightly whacked the tail a couple of times. Tea party groups were hoping to keep smashing it until it broke.
“This fight is a fight worth having so that millions of Americans can get relief from Obamacare,” said Jenny Beth Martin, national coordinator of the Tea Party Patriots. “This fight is not worth having on issues that are smaller than that.”…
Even some tea party leaders, however, say the Obamacare protest has probably gone as far as it can go — since it has failed, so far, to peel away any of the red-state Senate Democrats the anti-Obamacare forces needed on their side.
“I would take progress, knowing that we can fix some of the problems,” said Sal Russo, co-founder and chief strategist of the Tea Party Express. “I mean, we’re not going to be happy, but most of the tea party people, we fought the good fight.”
It’s helped to make clear the divide between staunch conservatives and anti-government right-wingers. Gov. Rick Perry, even Jim DeMint would admit (I think), is no squishy moderate. Yet he candidly acknowledged that defunding Obamacare just isn’t happening: “I think that’s a bit of a stretch for us on the outside looking in, but the president of the United States and the Senate hold the cards here. We understand that, and the Republicans are going to have to hold their ground and try to get as much as they can.” As with some rock-ribbed conservatives, such as Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), who opposed the shutdown from the start, the divide is not between moderate and conservative Republicans, but between reality-based ones and those who are unwilling or unable to combine conservative ideology with real-world political strategy. It has been useful to separate the political gadflies and naive followers from the sober, results-oriented Republicans…
The shutdown strategy’s complete flop should demonstrate to all but those determined to create their own counter-reality that the shutdown squad doesn’t represent the views of voters or even of GOP voters. Certainly mainstream Republicans can’t afford to lose many voters, but the far right wing is powerless without a more broad-based GOP. Likewise, when the far right speaks, it should not be taken as “the Republican” position; the far right really doesn’t speak for the party as a whole.
This is the quality of thinking—or lack thereof—that has afflicted many GOP conservatives from the beginning of this budget showdown. They picked a goal they couldn’t achieve in defunding ObamaCare, and then they picked a means they couldn’t politically sustain by pursuing a long government shutdown and threatening to blow through the debt limit.
President Obama called their bluff, no doubt in part to blame the disruption on the GOP and further tarnish the party’s public image. Now the most Republicans will get from all of this is lower public approval, the pleasure of imposing ObamaCare on Congress and the promise of more budget negotiations with Mr. Obama before another debt limit deadline is reached early next year.
At least that’s better than getting the blame for whatever happens if Treasury stops sending out Social Security checks in order to prioritize debt repayments. The politics of that are no better than defaulting on debt. Republicans can best help their cause now by supporting Speaker John Boehner and moving on to fight more intelligently another day.
The tea party is Jacksonian America, aroused, angry and above all fearful, in full revolt against a new elite—backed by the new American demography—that threatens its interests and scorns its values…
ObamaCare is the tipping point, the tea party believes. Unless the law is defunded, the land of limited government, individual liberty and personal responsibility will be gone forever, and the new America, dominated by dependent minorities who assert their “rights” without accepting their responsibilities, will have no place for people like them.
For the tea party, ObamaCare is much more than a policy dispute; it is an existential struggle…
It’s no coincidence that the strengthening influence of the tea party is driving a wedge between corporate America and the Republican Party. It’s hard to see how the U.S. can govern itself unless corporate America pushes the Republican establishment to fight back against the tea party—or switches sides.