In the last few weeks, few if any reporters have been as connected to the thinking among House Republicans as National Review’s Robert Costa. He tells C-SPAN in this interview that Speaker John Boehner is trying to strike a balance between the different factions in his caucus by making sure that expectations are not out of line with what can realistically be achieved. Can one chamber of Congress force the Senate and White House to reverse course on ObamaCare and the mandate? Highly unlikely, but Boehner wants actual gains for the GOP as part of a deal, or else will not agree to end the shutdown:
The House returns today to pass yet another continuing resolution that would reopen at least parts of the government, despite refusals of Harry Reid and the Senate to consider piece-by-piece appropriations. Instead, this will allow Republicans to add more items to the list of constituents that Reid refuses to service in order to dictate to the House how the budget should be presented:
On Friday, the Republican-led House was keeping up a drive to finance certain agencies and programs on a piecemeal basis — a strategy rejected by Obama and the Democratic-led Senate.
“We are not picking winners and losers,” Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., said Friday on MSNBC. “I think what we are doing is exercising stewardship over the taxpayers’ dollars. …I’m ready to go to work today and get it done.”
The House planned a vote to fund a popular program providing food aid to pregnant women and their children, as well as ongoing disaster relief.
Furloughed federal workers were expected to get some relief with legislation authorizing back pay due for a vote on Friday or Saturday in the House. Some top Democrats have supported that idea alongside Republicans.
Again, Americans are pretty clear that they want all sides to negotiate, rather than issue ultimatums. So far, though, Democrats aren’t listening, and as Costa notes, Republicans don’t really have a leader emerging who can define and unite the party. The result will be brinksmanship all the way down to October 17th — and perhaps beyond. On the other hand, though, the continuing debacle of ObamaCare’s rollout may force Obama to start cutting a deal just to stop the intense focus on its failure.