This is written early morning on the day the Continuing Resolution comes up for a vote in the House Of Representatives.
On Thursday the House voted to cut SNAP by 40 billion dollars over 10 years. The House ignored a veto threat from President Obama. Surprising no one the arguments were this is a burden on working middle class families A polite way to say those on SNAP are lazy and picking your pocket?. If the tax code didn't coddle the wealthiest the burden wouldn't be as great. Had the House not obstructed the recovery there would be less need for SNAP. Compassionate Christians that they are the House decided cutting food aid is a political winner. That is why is was separated from the Farm Bill. That way SNAP can be gutted while maintaining the massive farm subsidies for corporate farms which are collected by many House Members. It is good they take so much vacation time as they do incredible harm during the limited time they are in session.
Since returning from recess the House has held two symbolic votes to repeal the ACA. This brings the total to 41.Today, Friday the 20th day of September they plan vote 42. They're ready to hit on 20. Any gambler that plays Blackjack will tell you that's a loser.
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH-08), is between a rock and a hard place. As a politician he knows the chances of defunding or repealing the ACA. He has allowed more than forty meaningless votes to repeal to placate the reactionary, rabid right members of his Caucus. These votes let them go home and rail to the base they are stymied in repeal by the Socialist Senate and the Muslim Kenyan will veto it anyway. It's a fundraising tool and a way to ensure there will be no attack from the right come primary season
Egged on by a few Senators who are positioning themselves for a Presidential bid in 2016 more than 80 House Members demanded that a vote on the Continuing Resolution have a provision to defund the ACA. The leadership in the House and inside the beltway knew this is a loser. The idea the Democratic Senate and a Democratic President would sign on to this is, to say it kindly, fucking crazy.
The Democrats in the Senate have the votes to strip the defunding language, pass the CR and send it back to the House.At the moment Boehner and Cantor seem to have no plan B. The Caucus sees plan B as a shut down of the Federal Government. Always a good move.
So, why now?
On October first, enrollment in the State Insurance Exchanges starts. Much of the law kicks in in 2014. This is seen as the last chance to stop it. The right realizes time is running out. Under time constraints and pressure bad decisions are routinely made. The decisions are even worse when they are ideologically driven. You are willing to do anything when God is on your side.
The political pressure being brought from the reactionary right is intense. The most far right leaning groups are being vocal. During the recess these groups ran ads on Republican Districts as a reminder of possible consequences. We've seen Sarah Palin weigh in and imply there would be Primary Challenges on those who vote no on defunding.
These groups include The Club For Growth, Heritage Action the action arm of the Heritage Foundation and FreedomWorks to name a few. Heritage Action held rallies in several cities across America in an attempt to gin up the base. The assorted groups are pouring money into ads and outreach to whip the fringe into a frenzy. The ire is directed at Republicans who aren't vocal about wanting to be a lemming.
These groups and the Rabid Right Members of the House see the previous votes as what they are, A sham. The push now is to do anything to stop the implementation of the ACA. Since many see the Government as the problem shutting it down is actually a good thing to them.The action is directed at those who fail the purity tests. Those who have caved to keep the Nation working. Some see any cooperation as heresy. So any GOP member that exhibits any political sanity will be metaphorically burned at the stake.
They do realize the future of the Republican Party is at stake. The far right see this as an opportunity. A chance to purge the Party of non believers. They see this as the last best chance to reshape the GOP into the reactionary force they actually believe America craves. This is their Fort Sumter against the Establishment GOP who they view as sell outs and no better than the Democrats.
Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Minority leader of the Senate, is facing a Primary challenge from the right. He is taking flack from The Heritage Foundation and others for not coming out for defunding.
Senator Ted Cruz(R-TX) mentioned there weren't the votes in the Senate to defund. He did this after months of declaring this as a goal and a glorious last stand for freedom. He called on the House to stand firm. He was immediately slammed by House Members as surrendering without a fight. The House doe not want to go all Kamikaze all alone. They want the Senate GOP to crash and burn also.
Many of these people see the shutdown in '95 as a moral victory. Usual Right Wing revisionism as far as history is concerned. The truth is there were huge losses in the House in '96. A Democratic President was convincingly reelected. Speaker Gingrich was replaced in a Palace Coup. Yeah, it all worked out so very well.
You know there is division and things are bad when Karl Rove is a voice of reason. He and others are saying this is a massive mistake. They say the best thing to do is take the Senate then repeal. In the poisonous atmosphere on the Hill these pleas for reason are falling on deaf ears.
The very policy of extortion as political strategy has led them here to the abyss. The previous impasses resulted in limited compromise. This disappointed the the far right who were willing to disobey a Constitutional mandate to protect the full faith and credit of The United States. They have decided no more compromise of any kind. They will burn down the country to get there way.
The most likely scenario is when the CR with the defunding passes the House today the Senate will face a filibuster. That will cause a minor delay until the more sane GOP Senators jump ship and vote for cloture. The defunding language will be stripped and the resolution will be sent back to the House. Boehner and Cantor will have a choice. Shut the Government down until the voters storm the chamber with torches, pitchforks, tat and feathers. Or, more likely, pass it using a coalition of still sane Republicans and Democrats.
I am sure Boehner also knows he will face a mutiny that will likely cost him his position as Speaker. To avoid this he may try damage control by doing it over with the Spending Limit. That too is doomed to failure.
In the coming days we will see who the real patriots are. Claiming yourself as one as you work to attempt to stage a coup isn't the way. Good people will stand up and get us past this extortion. Only to do it again. Perhaps next time with one of the inmates running the asylum.