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John Boehner on shutdown: Don’t go there

Posted by on Jul. 31, 2013 at 2:29 AM
  • 7 Replies
John Boehner is pictured. | AP Photo

The House speaker isn’t eager to interrupt critical government operations. | AP Photo

Speaker John Boehner will use a private party meeting Wednesday to lay out a new strategy to chip away at Obamacare, brushing back at House and Senate conservatives who have urged a government shutdown if the law is funded.

Boehner (R-Ohio) will give a presentation saying that the House Republican leadership supports continuous votes to build “on the successful, targeted strikes against the law that took place in the House this month and resulted in significant Democratic defections, chipping away at the legislative coalition that keeps the president’s health care law on the books,” a GOP leadership aide said on Tuesday evening.


Government funding runs dry in two months, on Sept. 30 — just a few weeks after the House returns from a five-week August recess. A stopgap measure — known as a continuing resolution — needs to be signed into law to keep the government open.


But House leadership thinks a government shutdown would be treacherous for the GOP majority. Boehner, speaking on Tuesday afternoon at a closed leadership meeting where the strategy was discussedwarned of the political dangers of shutting down the federal government, according to sources both present and familiar with the meeting.

It all comes down to this: internal GOP projections show Republicans keeping — if not expanding — their majority in 2014. And Boehner — a veteran of the 1995 government shutdown — isn’t eager to cement the narrative that his chamber favors interrupting critical government operations.

But roughly sixty House Republicans have written to Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) urging them to use the government funding bill to defund the Affordable Care Act.


When Boehner talks to House Republicans, he will not “rule out the ‘defund’ tactic in any way,” an aide said, and the speaker “will note that [the leadership] strategy is compatible with whatever direction the conference decides to take with respect to upcoming legislation to fund government operations.”

Wednesday is a key moment for Boehner to deliver his message to the conference since lawmakers return to their districts Friday for a five-week long August recess.

In recent days, the private concern about a government shutdown has intensified among House Republican leaders. The GOP leadership meeting Tuesday was filled with complaints that members who want to shut down the government because of the health care law haven’t thought of the consequences, or next strategic steps.

Time, once again, is not on Congress’s side. The House returns from its August recess Sept. 9, just nine legislative days before the government runs out of money. There’s little time for legislative haggling.

But the political environment — roughly one year before the November midterms — makes the government funding fight, and the subsequent debt ceiling debate, politically sensitive issues. The nation is expected to hit its debt limit sometime this fall or winter.

The Wednesday strategy talk isn’t the only sign that Republicans are looking to avoid legislative catastrophes.

House Republican leadership aides have also privately told Democrats that they would be willing to pass a government funding measure at $988 billion — a level slightly higher than some conservatives hoped for.

The pair of fall fights over the debt ceiling and government funding have become two of the most important flashpoints of the 113th Congress. President Barack Obama and Democrats have said at every opportunity that they refuse to negotiate over lifting the debt limit, while House Republicans want to exact some budgetary savings or reforms to existing programs. Republican leaders have discussed new energy policy and mandatory budget savings.


At the same time, Obama comes to Capitol Hill Wednesday to discuss legislative strategy with both Senate and House Democrats, many of whom want to raise the debt cap without corresponding cuts or reforms.

It’s not just the level of funding, or the desire to continue to slice away at Obamacare, that complicates the Capitol Hill debate. Republicans and Democrats on both sides of the aisle want to replace the automatic spending cuts known as the sequester. House Republicans sources say they are open to replacing the reductions with more targeted mandatory spending deductions — but will balk at new revenue.


The most likely government-funding scenario, at this point, is to try to fund the government through early- to mid-December.

Republican leadership has always branded the debt ceiling debate as a moment of leverage for their party. But pent up tensions over the party’s legislative agenda have given the two pieces of legislation outsized importance.

This dynamic has been building since the beginning of 2013. Several Republicans privately tell POLITICO that the first six months of legislating have been too light for their taste. Too small-bore and tailored and that many lawmakers say they need a big win before the New Year to take something home to their constituents.

“I wonder why we’re here most weeks,” one senior House Republican told POLITICOspeaking anonymously to avoid getting on the wrong side of top lawmakers.

The big-idea GOP majority has suddenly shrunken to a smaller size, lawmakers tell POLITICO. Once in endless search of tearing up the tax code, rewriting entitlements and reshaping the federal government, Republicans complain that they have been far less aggressive since January.

For the first time in decades, they passed a farm bill with a nutrition section. They will likely pass just five of 12 appropriations bills before the August recess.

House Republicans passed a budget resolution, but refuse to negotiate a larger fiscal package with the Senate, because they fear not being able to find agreement with Democrats.

They have yet to pass an immigration bill — and leaders have been mostly mum on the kind of legislation they prefer.

The concurrent salivation over the government funding and debt ceiling as a legislative lever is the biggest challenge facing leadership. More than 60 Republicans – emboldened by Senate Republicans — have signed onto a letter penned by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) to urge Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) to defund Obamacare in appropriations bills. The letter, as of now, isn’t specific, and doesn’t say that the House needs to defund the entire law. The letter been endorsed by Club for Growth and Heritage Action.

At this point, it seems like Boehner has room to maneuver.

“The letter says to defund the health care bill,” said Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas), who signed the Meadows letter. “There are many options open to leadership. The point being, those of us who sent the letter, we’re just asking leadership to take Obamacare and defund it….It doesn’t make a difference — all or part.”

Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), a leading critic of Obamacare who serves as vice chairman of the House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee, didn’t sign the letter, because he said “there are some risks involved” with such a staunch position and “I’m not willing to say unequivocally those are risks I’m going to take.”

Burgess added that he doesn’t want to give “one more dime to a program that’s clearly failing.”



Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/07/john-boehner-on-shutdown-dont-go-there-94952_Page2.html#ixzz2abO4ZZ5R

by on Jul. 31, 2013 at 2:29 AM
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Replies (1-7):
Clairwil
by Platinum Member on Jul. 31, 2013 at 2:59 AM
1 mom liked this

If the Republicans were confident health care would be a disaster, they'd be happy to see it play out.

They are desperate to defund it before it comes into effect, precisely because they think it will work.

-Celestial-
by Platinum Member on Jul. 31, 2013 at 3:04 AM

And gawd forbid that ever be a good thing

Quoting Clairwil:

If the Republicans were confident health care would be a disaster, they'd be happy to see it play out.

They are desperate to defund it before it comes into effect, precisely because they think it will work.


Carpy
by Ruby Member on Jul. 31, 2013 at 6:58 AM
1 mom liked this

He needs some balls.

Carpy
by Ruby Member on Jul. 31, 2013 at 6:59 AM
1 mom liked this

No they do not think it will work and several dems have figured that out as well.

Quoting Clairwil:

If the Republicans were confident health care would be a disaster, they'd be happy to see it play out.

They are desperate to defund it before it comes into effect, precisely because they think it will work.


Minnow Slayer

denise3680
by Gold Member on Jul. 31, 2013 at 7:22 AM

They are spending so much time trying to defund this and no time actually trying to get anything done:/ 

Billiejeens
by Emerald Member on Jul. 31, 2013 at 8:13 AM
1 mom liked this

 


Quoting Clairwil:

If the Republicans were confident health care would be a disaster, they'd be happy to see it play out.

They are desperate to defund it before it comes into effect, precisely because they think it will work.

Oh the dumbmasses!

Even the main Democrat that wrote the bill says it is a train wreck, it is not supposed to work, it is supposed to be a gateway drug to Universal Healthcare, so that our Entire Healthcare system will be as fabulous as your Dental Care.

 

grandmab125
by Ruby Member on Jul. 31, 2013 at 12:11 PM
1 mom liked this

 No, they want to defund it now....because they and we are fearful that once it is fully implemented in Jan 2014, we will never be able to get rid of it, even if we control both the House and Senate, and even the Presidency in 2016.  It will be to deeply entrenched into the fabric of our lives, that it would be impossible to ditch it.

You are delusional, if you think any Republican thinks this monstrosity will work.

Quoting Clairwil:

If the Republicans were confident health care would be a disaster, they'd be happy to see it play out.

They are desperate to defund it before it comes into effect, precisely because they think it will work.

 

grandma B

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