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Thursday, September 22, 2011

GOP Disaster Relief Hostage Scheme Backfires

It's all but official; the House Republican Caucus is in a state of leaderless chaos.

The Hill:

Houses destroyed by IreneThe House stunned Republican leaders Wednesday by rejecting a temporary spending bill that would have funded the government through Nov. 18.

The vote failed, 195-230, after Democrats pulled their support for the bill and Republican leaders were forced to scramble for enough votes entirely within their own ranks. Four dozen conservatives voted against the bill because it left spending levels for 2012 higher than the cap set in the House GOP budget.

The defeat hands leverage to congressional Democrats in a dispute over federal disaster funding. Democratic leaders objected to a GOP provision cutting funding from a Department of Energy manufacturing loan program to offset additional money for disaster relief.

The House and Senate must pass a spending bill by Sept. 30 to keep the government running into the next fiscal year. Both chambers are scheduled to be out on recess next week.


The piece goes on to describe this as a "stinging loss for Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who pitched the measure to his conference as the lowest spending number they could get." By now, he should know he's not going to get anywhere with the tea-drunk nuts with a reality-based appeal.


The pressure from an angry Speaker John Boehner didn't work -- he even threatened to strip committee assignments. Four dozen Republicans -- mostly conservatives -- wanted more cuts, and they just said no, creating an uncomfortable scene on the House floor as the funding bill failed on a 195-230 vote. Democrats showed a rare moment of unity in overwhelmingly opposing the continuing resolution, which would keep the government funded through Nov. 18.

Now, to prevent a government shutdown, Republicans will have to rewrite the bill and figure out how to get the votes.

Keep in mind, this is all over disaster relief funding. People and communities may suffer, because the 'bagger caucus -- for reasons that are difficult to explain -- don't want vehicles to get better gas mileage. Or something. It's never extremely clear with these nuts. I'm not even sure they know what they want. But now we have eight days until a government shutdown -- over a loan program for the production of fuel-efficient vehicles that's responsible for as many as 39,000 jobs and disaster relief for people who, in the words of Ron Paul, "do dumb things" like live in places where there's high probably of an eventual natural disaster (for the record, that's pretty much anywhere).

At least Boehner had a clue as to what this would mean; disaster for the GOP. According to Republican Rep. Bobby Schilling, Boehner put the vote in terms of electoral politics. "Boehner just broke it down pretty simple," Schilling told The Hill. "He goes, 'I know there are some of you out here who don't want to vote for this thing, but if you don't, you think this is a big number? Wait until you see what we get back, and we're not in the driver's seat then.'" In other words, "If you think this is a lot of money, hand control of the House back to Democrats and see what happens."

The clock is ticking. The House teabagger club has just eight days to accept reality or there will be a government shutdown. Frankly, it's hard to see that happening. Which means that John Boehner's only other real option is to cut the nuts loose and strike a deal that puts Democrats on board -- which means that an already brewing Tea Party revolt becomes just that much more likely.

Nice corner you've painted us all into there, John.


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