Low, Low, Lower Still
Politico reports Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid remarked of the House of Representatives
They try to send us something back, they’re spinning their wheels. We are not going to change Obamacare. Our negotiation is over with and I’ve said for two weeks:They should pass a CR. They are closing down the government, I don’t know what in the world is wrong with them.
Reid might have said: "I know what is wrong with them. They want to crash the nation's economy." Or at least House Speaker Boehner does. Chris Christie contends, with his signature tough guy expression, "No matter where the partisanship is, the failure is in people not bringing people together to get it done." He did not consult Boehner, who at a fund raiser in Idaho five weeks ago said of resisting raising the debt limit
The president doesn’t think this is fair, thinks I’m being difficult to deal with. But I’ll say this: It may be unfair, but what I’m trying to do here is to leverage the political process to produce more change than what it would produce if left to its own devices. We’re going to have a whale of a fight.
And that lust for "a whale of a fight" comes not from the far, far right but the guy who is portrayed as the Responsible Republican, who was reluctant to shut down the government but is anxious to default and send the American economy into a tailspin. The dangerous Republicans, we are led to believe, are the likes of Senators Mike Lee and Ted Cruz, who may be sufficiently Machiavellian that Suzy Khimm Friday speculated
The House’s meltdown in July seemed to suggest that Senate Democrats might be able to make some headway in raising spending and undoing sequestration cuts. But in the following weeks, Republicans instead turned the budget debate into a quest to defund Obamacare—a campaign that conservatives like Sen. Ted Cruz led, but which House Speaker John Boehner ultimately enabled by attaching defunding to the stopgap budget.
The result has been a battle for the soul of the GOP, as Republicans have turned fiscal deadlines into bargaining chips–a tactic that threatens to imperil the U.S. economy and American credibility in the global marketplace. The fight has also taken all the attention off the budget itself, where the absence of debate threatens to turn sequestration into the new normal.
Most Democrats have grudgingly agreed to six more weeks of funding under 2013 sequestration levels, which the Senate-passed budget preserved on Friday—and that would their best-case scenario at this point. Not everyone is thrilled, but in comparison to altering Obamacare, shutting down the government, or negotiating over the debt ceiling, it is the bare minimum that Congress can and must do, President Obama stressed on Friday.
“My message to Congress is this: Do not shut down the government, do not shut down the economy,” the president said. “Pass a budget on time. Pay our bills on time.”
But whether intentionally or not, it could ultimately help Republicans shift the goalposts in terms of the actual 2014 budget, some Democrats fear. “One could say it is a great bait and switch. We’re talking about Obamacare, which really has no place in this debate at all. In the meantime, they’re giving us a very low number—they’re enshrining sequestration,” said Rep. Jerry Nadler, a New York Democrat. “The Senate number, which is $70 billion higher, that would be the old Ryan budget number, which we used to say was terrible. Now if only we could get that high.”
“I believe we are going to see sequestration made permanent, and I believe quite frankly that’s where so many in the Republican ranks want to go,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro. The fight over Obamacare is ”a sideshow to where we go on sequestration.”
GOP calls for "compromise" would be Democrats compromising from a compromise from a compromise. As the chart below indicates, the "liberal," Senate, resolution is lower than the 2014 Senate Budget,which in turn is lower than the original, punitive budget from Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI). Senate Democrats have gone beyond 10% below the original Ryan budget.
But these are annoying, inconvenient details. There being a God, the Repub Party probably will be more harmed politically than the Democratic Party because the federal government has shut down. But in a classic program of disinformation, Republicans call out for the President to negotiate and there is little chance the traditional media will explain how spurious an argument that really is.