Politics Magazine

Shutdown Looms As Boehner Gives In To The Congressional Teabaggers

Posted on the 19 September 2013 by Jobsanger
Shutdown Looms As Boehner Gives In To The Congressional Teabaggers (This caricature of Speaker John Boehner is by the inimitable DonkeyHotey.)
Speaker of the House John Boehner was hoping to avoid a government shutdown, knowing that the Republican brand would again be damaged by it. He had wanted to please everyone by sending two separate bills to the Senate -- one to continue funding the government past the September 30th deadline, and a second to defund Obamacare (knowing this second bill would die an ugly death in the Senate).
Unfortunately, that was not good enough for the teabagger element in the House. They wanted more than another anti-Obamacare bill that could be easily tossed out by the Senate (as more than 30 such bills have already been killed there). They demanded that the two bills be combined, with no funding of the government past September 30th unless all funds for Obamacare were eliminated. And Boehner, who hasn't had control of the Republican caucus in the House for quite a while now, gave in to those teabaggers.
He has announced that the bill to continue funding the government will have a clause that eliminates all funding for Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act) when it goes to the Senate. Of course that bill has absolutely zero chance of passing the Senate (and if it did, it would be vetoed by the president). There is no way the Democrats or the president can agree to defund (or repeal) the Affordable Care Act -- and that means the chances of another government shutdown have grown much larger.
The Republicans are counting on being able to blame the Democratic-controlled Senate (or the president) for the shutdown of the government. But that's not going to happen. The public knows the Republicans will be to blame, and because of that the Republicans are going to once again put themselves between a rock and a hard place. If they don't back down, the public will blame them for the problems caused by a government shutdown -- and when they do back down (as they will have to do), their teabagger base will be angered (and possibly punish them in next year's primaries).
And the really crazy part of this whole mess is that even if they are forced to back down, they might try the whole shutdown thing again next month, when the debt ceiling will need to be raised. The teabagger caucuses of the House and Senate seem to be living in a dream world. They actually think they can get the president and the Democrats to give in on Obamacare, and either defund or repeal it. They are wrong. Although it is not a perfect solution to health care reform, Obamacare is the signature accomplishment of the Obama administration. Neither the president nor the Democrats can give in on Obamacare.
That means we are probably going to have a government shutdown -- either this month or next month. It won't work, and it will damage the Republican brand -- but the congressional teabaggers don't care. They aren't interested in what's good for the country or their party -- but only in what keeps the lunatics in their base happy.

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