Countdown to Shutdown (live blog)Posted: September 30, 2013
There are 233 Republicans in the House. Insiders estimate that three-quarters of them, or about 175 GOP lawmakers, are willing, and perhaps even eager, to vote for a continuing resolution that funds the government without pressing the Republican goal of defunding or delaying Obamacare.
On the other side, insiders estimate about 30 House Republicans believe strongly that Obamacare is such a far-reaching and harmful law that the GOP should do everything it can — everything — to stop it or slow it down. That includes precipitating a standoff leading to a government shutdown. “This isn’t just another bill,” Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., one of the most vocal of the 30, told me. “This isn’t load limits on turnip trucks that we’re talking about. This is … an extremely consequential bill that will impact every American, and that’s why you have such passionate opinions.”
Another 20 to 30 GOP members sympathize with that position but might be willing to compromise, except for the fact that they fear a primary challenge from the Right.
In the continuing resolution fight, it is the 30 most committed members, along with their 20-30 allies in the next-most-committed group, who are setting the House Republican agenda. The ones pushing for a fight over Obamacare, even if it leads to a shutdown, are controlling what the House does.
Which has led to the question: How can 30 Republicans beat 200 Republicans? How does that work?
Polls consistently show that Americans aren’t happy with Obamacare. They think the law will make health care more expensive, and decrease its quality. But a new survey of 1,976 registered votersfinds that only 33 percent believe that the health law should be repealed, delayed, or defunded. 29 percent believe that “Congress should make changes to improve the law,” 26 percent believe that “Congress should let the law take effect” and see what happens, and 12 percent believe that the law should be expanded. The bottom line? Voters are skeptical that Obamacare will live up to Democrats’ hype. But they also believe that it should be given a chance to succeed.
The new poll was conducted by the Morning Consult, a healthcare media company founded by Michael Ramlet. Ramlet, in evaluating the results of his survey, finds that voters are “unmoved by three months of the defund argument,” and that a majority would “blame congressional Republicans a lot for a government shutdown.”
How’s that working for Speaker Boehner? He really has to choose between his country and his tea party caucus. Many Republicans aren’t with him either. Does he really think he can keep his speakership either way?
Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK): Asked on MSNBC on Monday if a shutdown was “going to hurt the Republicans,” Cole said, “I do, but more importantly I think it’s going to hurt the American people.”
Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA): “I’m prepared to vote for a clean resolution tomorrow… It’s time to govern. I don’t intend to support a fool’s errand at this point.”
Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ): “Obamacare is definitely not ready for prime time. But I do not want the government to shut down. I think after voting against it some 40 times, we have represented our constituents and made our point.”
Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY): “From my perspective, the desired end state remains the same — a delay of the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare and a temporary lifting of the sequester — both to January 2015… However, we need a successful strategy to get that implemented, and this approach will not do it.”
Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY): “The circus created the past few days isn’t reflective of mainstream Republicans — it projects an image of not being reasonable. The vast majority of Republicans are pretty level-headed and are here to govern.”
Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY): “[A]s a lifelong and consistent supporter of women’s rights and health care, I do not support addressing divisive social issues such as access to birth control on a last-minute continuing resolution.’’
Rep. Peter King (R-NY): “We should not be closing down the government under any circumstances… That doesn’t work, it’s wrong, and, you know, Obamacare passed. We have to try to defund it, we have to try to find ways to repeal it. But the fact is, we shouldn’t be using it as a threat to shut down the government.”
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA): “We’re pretty much out of options at this point. They’re all giddy about it. You know who benefits the most here from a shutdown? The Democrats benefit and they know that.”
Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL): “The shutdown doesn’t do anything to help our reputation as an incompetent Congress,.. People hire us not to get to this point in the first place.”
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI): “We have to stay on the right side of public opinion…Shutting down the government puts us on the wrong side. The fight is on the debt limit.”
Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA): Wolf warned that his party will be blamed in the case of a shutdown. “That’s the battle that’s going on in my party. There are some that are saying, ‘shut it down! … If we shut the government down, who’s going to fund the [Veteran Affairs] Hospital? Who’s going to fund the veteran who doesn’t have a leg? Who’s going to fund the FBI who’s working on a counter-terrorism case? Who’s going to fund cancer research?”
Republicans and Democrats in Congress are trading blame ahead of Tuesday’s government shutdown, but there’s another culprit in DC’s latest dysfunction whose offices are not to be found in the gilded suites of the Capitol, but in a drab, fluorescent-lit office five blocks away. There, a team of organizers, lobbyists and 20-something social media specialists are harnessing the power of the Tea Party to drive a wrench into Congress’ gears. Heritage Action for America, the political arm of the once esteemed Heritage Foundation, has been working day and night for years to bring about just the crisis now gripping DC.
Since its founding in 2010, Heritage Action has worked aggressively to influence lawmakers on issues from immigration to agriculture to the budget. It uses a three-pronged strategy to twist arms on Capitol Hill: lobbying members on hot-button issues, ranking them publicly on how they vote, and getting word out far and wide when lawmakers buck the conservative line. That combination—unparalleled in either party—has given Heritage the ammo to take on the leadership of its own party, widening the gap between the conservative grassroots and their leaders in Congress. As Heritage’s clout accumulates, the group’s divisive style offers a window into the new way of doing business in Washington, where, thanks to redistricting, lawmakers are more worried about primary challengers than the opposition
I guess this is the revenge of outcasts like Demint and Grover Norquist who seem like prime candidates for the sociopath of the month club.
How long do you think this will last?