In any event, the small-bore bills are just a small-bore solution to part of the problem. There is still no government funding, and beyond the targeted measures, Republicans have no new ideas about what to do. One possibility is to pass yet another continuing resolution, this one with just one Obamacare measure attached to it. Perhaps it would be the repeal of the medical device tax, or perhaps it would be some variant of the Vitter Amendment, to forbid members of Congress and staff from receiving special subsidies when they purchase health insurance on the Obamacare exchanges. Maybe Democrats will finally accept one of those, some Republicans think, since there is clear and substantial Senate Democratic support for repealing the device tax, and clear and substantial public opposition to Congress making special deals for itself…
So what now? House Speaker John Boehner and leading Republicans like Paul Ryan and Dave Camp are apparently reviving the old goal of a “grand bargain” — a budget deal that would include entitlement reforms, tax reform, and a new budget agreement, while also restoring government spending and raising the debt ceiling. The idea is that with the debt ceiling deadline coming up on Oct. 17, Republicans and Democrats could fix all, or at least many, of their problems in one fell swoop.
Such “grand bargain” attempts have failed in the past, and there is little reason to believe one will succeed now. And not just because Obama and Democrats are intransigent, which they are. The fact is, this is Oct. 3, meaning there are just two weeks before the nation hits the debt ceiling. Could Republicans get even their end of a “grand bargain” together in time? “Look at tax reform,” said the GOP strategist. “If you took Democrats out of the mix entirely, I don’t think Republicans could come up with a tax reform package by Oct. 17. There is a huge range of opinion on what direction to take.” The first “grand bargain” Republicans would have to reach would be among themselves.
Nevertheless, some Republicans are grasping at the idea that a “grand bargain” will somehow solve their problems. Meanwhile the shutdown goes on.