Running out of time, House GOP demands more brinkmanship


If the odds of a government shutdown haven’t quite reached 100%, they’re very close.

House Republicans will try again to unravel President Obama’s healthcare law in a stopgap spending bill Monday night, virtually ensuring Congress will miss a midnight deadline to avert a shutdown of the federal government.

During a closed-door, members-only meeting in the Capitol on Monday, party leaders outlined a plan to lawmakers in which the House would seek to attach a one-year delay of ObamaCare’s individual mandate to a stopgap spending bill. The plan would also strip out subsidies in the law for members of Congress and political appointees, lawmakers said.

The last part is Sen. David Viter’s (R-La.) idea, which is intended to hurt Capitol Hill staffers for no particular reason.

I’ve assumed over the last few days that a shutdown is inevitable – House Republicans seem almost desperate to have one – but a small part of me wondered if House GOP leaders would simply accept the reality of the situation and accept the solution that’s both easy and obvious.

House Republicans tried their ridiculous gambit, and it failed. And then House Republicans tried another ridiculous gambit, and it failed, too. It would have made perfect sense for GOP leaders to tell members, “Well, we gave it our best shot. Let’s keep the lights on and live to see another day.” Instead they’re doing the opposite.

The straightforward solution would be for Republicans to simply bring the Senate bill to the floor, let it pass, then claim a “win” since it includes the sequestration cuts that are hurting the economy by design. Any chance GOP lawmakers are considering this blisteringly obvious resolution?

Take a wild guess.

Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas) said, “We haven’t discussed that.” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) added, in reference to the easy resolution to this fiasco, “That’s not going to happen.”

The cowardice among GOP leaders has reached a level that hardly seemed possible.

Shortly after midnight, a whole lot of folks on the right are going to blame Democrats for the shutdown. Those folks will deserve to be laughed at.

Government Shutdowns

Running out of time, House GOP demands more brinkmanship