Friday, September 20, 2013

Game On

The end game is on. The House just passed a 90 day CR that defunds Obamacare. In the Senate, Ted Cruz and Company will attempt to filibuster; but Harry Reid should file for cloture before debate opens, shutting Cruz out, since he surely has the needed 60 votes. So the CR with the defunding provision stripped out should arrive back in the House by mid-week. Current rumors are that Boehner may bring it to a vote, after attaching a debt ceiling increase amendment, including a one year Obamacare delay. I presume the Senate would then strip out the Obamacare delay and send it back to the House. Will the Speaker allow a vote, which would surely pass with Democratic votes, and say he did his best? Or would he strip out the debt ceiling language, vote on the clean CR, send it back to the Senate (which would approve it) and wait to fight the debt ceiling end game two weeks later?

I am honestly not sure, but my guess is the latter. For reasons I don't get, Speaker Boehner thinks Obama may blink on the debt ceiling, despite the President's repeated commitments not to bargain over the debt ceiling. Republicans think he will allow a shutdown, since he is confident the GOP will be blamed; but they uniformly seem to think he'll cave on the debt ceiling.

If the Speaker tries to stare the President down on this one, he will lose, either a week from Monday, or 2-3 weeks after that, when the debt limit is reached.

The Speaker, I believe, has the correct calculus on the Shutdown, and the wrong one on the debt ceiling. Obama will not back down.

Will the Speaker realize this in time?

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