Saturday, September 21, 2013

Asylum Update

Congress has had its fair share of crazy moments, but this week something extraordinary has happened even by Congress's standards. Facing zero chance of success, absolutely zero chance, House Republicans have passed a CR to fund the government without any funding for Obamacare. This is not in and of itself stunning news—the GOP has made a habit of wasting everyone's time with ineffectual votes. More interesting are the rifts that have been exposed between right wing House and Senate GOPers. Representative Peter King, for instance, did not mince words about Senator Ted Cruz:
When Ted Cruz and Rand Paul and Mike Lee fail in the Senate next week, maybe finally we Republicans will have ended their influence. We as House Republicans should stop letting Ted Cruz set our agenda for us.
King's frustration stems from Ted Cruz's near constant harping about repealing Obamacare from his consequence-free post as junior Senator from Texas. Because such bills have to originate in the House, Cruz's ideological tantrums are effectively commands for the House to keep attacking the health care law.

It gets weirder. Cruz, called out by his House colleagues, has to do something about this funding bill that will somehow live up to the unrealistic demands he himself has been spouting for months. But he knows that if the bill comes to a vote, it'll get defeated leaving Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid with the ability to cut out the House provision eliminating funding for Obamacare. So here's his plan:
I hope that every Senate Republican will stand together and oppose cloture on the bill in order to keep the House bill intact and not let Harry Reid add Obamacare funding back in.
Yes, Cruz's only option is to filibuster the very House bill that ultra conservatives wanted passed in the first place. Well... it may be his only option. Other reports suggest he won't even be able to launch the filibuster.
We won’t have an opportunity to filibuster,” a Senate GOP aide, presumably to one of the Republicans behind the repeal push, told the Washington Examiner’s Byron York. “It’s going to be a simple majority vote.
The whole course of events has led to a good deal of confusion for other GOP Senators. Lindsay Graham had been talking against the absurdity of the House bill for some time leading up to it. But today Graham tweeted that he supported the bill. Is it a reversal? Possibly... or maybe Graham just wants to get the charade over with as quickly as possible. His aide defended the switch as a continued play against Cruz.
"You don't get the situation we now find ourselves in. Senator Cruz and Senate Conservatives Fund now want to filibuster the House-passed bill," the aide told TPM. "You can't pass defund Obamacare legislation by filibustering defund Obamacare legislation."
Perhaps the best GOP line was reported by the National Review:
“I’ve not heard anyone dare to articulate, here’s what we really want at the end of the day,” said Representative James Lankford, the fifth ranking member of GOP leadership as policy chairman.
No doubt, no doubt.

1 comment:

  1. Isn't this really all just about Cruz's fundraising, and he's probably laughing all the way to the bank? Gross.