I know it’s officially a busy news day when something I wrote a n hour ago has already morphed into something else. I just published an article on the problems that the Freedom caucus revolt in yesterdays shoulda been ho-hum procedural vote to name members of the House to the committee to reconcile the differences in the tax bill was going to cost the House GOP dearly. I was thinking more along the lines of negotiations in committee, and a House vote on the final bill, but Paul Ryan is already taking it in the shorts.
The House Rules committee was supposed to meet today to craft a bill to extend the debt ceiling limit and keep the government running. The bill was to be crafted today, for a House vote tomorrow, to give the Senate time to pass it before the funding deadline expires at midnight Friday night, forcing a government shutdown.But so much for Paul Ryan’s best laid plans.
Ryan had to announce this morning that the Rules committee had canceled today’s meeting, and that they would not meet until tomorrow afternoon to draft the bill. Last I checked, tomorrow is Wednesday. Once the bill is drafted, it has to be brought to the floor, debated, and voted on. If it passes, which as it stands now is no sure thing, then it has to go to the Senate, which has to debate it and vote on it. And then Trump has to swallow his massive pride and sign it. And all before midnight Friday night.
This is a direct consequence of the revold that almost scuttled the House vote to go to conference on the tax bill yesterday. The House Freedom caucus engineered the vote to increase their influence on budgetary matters, including the continuing resolution negotiations. And now they’ve come to collect their pound of flesh.
The original plan that Ryan and McConnell was to pass two very short term continuing resolutions, one to take the government through up until midnight on December 22nd, and then pass another tw week resolution that would take them through the rest of the year. This was to allow them breathing space to put up a united front as to what they could extract for a longer term continuing resolution, hopefully taking them through the midterm elections. But the Freedom caucus smells a rat, and he looks like Eddie Munster. The Freedom caucus wants an extension of at least a month, force the Democrats to cave to keep the government open, and once the holidays pass, the Democrats lose the leverage of a holiday shutdown in negotiating over things like DACA and ACA cost sharing payments. They don’t trust Paul Ryan to follow through down the road on promises any more than the Democrats do. And as a result, they just spiked the probability of a government shutdown because they will very likely run out the clock before they can get their legislative shit together and pass the damn bill.
The funny thing is that the Freedom Caucus’ logic is flawed. Ryan already know it, but the Freedom caucus are the kids that always had to go to summer school.The GOP can’t pass a continuing resolution to fund the government on their own. If the Freedom caucus gets what they want, they’ll lose the Tuesday group. And even if they did get a GOP only House bill through, it wold die in the Senate, because unlike jcabinet and judicial nominations, and reconciliation bills, the Democrats can filibuster a vote on the debt ceiling. And they will.
The other miscalculation that the Freedom caucus has made springs directly from the above issue. Mainly, it doesn’t really matter what the length of the debt extension is, 2 weeks, 4 weeks, 11 months, the simple fact is that they can’t pass the fucking thing without the Democrats. And the only thing they’re accomplishing by diddle dicking around with this thing is to increase the leverage of the Democrats to demand and get more concessions from the GOP to free the hostage. DACA, ACA cost sharing payments, CHIP, the longer the GOP delays, the more stuff that’s popular with the public the Democrats pile on, and the only way that the GOP can pass it is to shoot the bird to the Freedom caucus, and bite the bullet for Democratic support. And once that happens, how do you think the House Freedom caucus mood is going to be when it’s time to vote on the final version of the tax cut bill. When it comes down to it, the Freedom caucus is no different than Trump. They couldn’t give a shit less about the Republican party, they’re driven by their own agenda. And if they act like it, his own political me-first strategy may cost Trump dearly when the Freedom caucus does the same thing in regards to his tax cuts.
The funny thing is that Obama thought he was living through hell because of GOP obstruction to raising the debt limit nd funding the government. Trump actually has it worse, before he can even get to the part where the Democrats try to fuck him over, he has to sit there and watch a part of his own party do it to him first. Ain’t karma wonderful?
A note from the author: If you enjoyed this article, you might also enjoy my books, including the brand new President Evil II: A Clodwork Orange: