(Update Senate Majority leader Harry Reid confirmed our suspicions. "Today's vote by House Republicans is pointless," he said. Reid went on to clarify that the Senate will reject both the Obamacare delay and the medical device tax, saying the House and Senate "are still at square one." Reid said the House must accept the Senate's CR, "or force a Republican government shutdown.")
At this point, a government shutdown on Tuesday is close to a sure thing. Well, until Tuesday, when the government does shut down and everyone spends their time criticizing the House and watching that one episode of The West Wing.
The House will, eventually, vote on a bill to continue funding the government beyond October 1 in an effort to avert a shutdown. Hashed out in a set of rare Saturday meetings among House Republicans, fuelled by Qdoba, that bill, called a continuing resolution (or CR, if you're hip to the lingo), will include some caveats. Per Politico's Josh Breshanan and Jake Sherman and the National Review's Jonathan Strong and Andrew Stiles, the GOP's terms for averting a government shutdown:
- Obamacare is delayed for an entire year.
- The medical device tax is repealed.
- A bill is passed that would ensure troops continue receiving pay in the event of a shutdown.
On Friday, the Senate passed a bill to avert a shutdown that didn't include any Obamacare measures. Senate majority leader Harry Reid and President Obama have said they will not support any continuing resolution that involves Obamacare concessions. That means, in the simplest terms, that we're definitely heading for the first government shutdown since 1995:
Odds of a shutdown just went to around 100%— Jonathan Strong (@j_strong) September 28, 2013
Yup. Odds of a government shutdown now approaching 100%— Josh Barro (@jbarro) September 28, 2013
You can follow The Atlantic Wire's official countdown clock here.
This move, doomed to fail, is entirely the work of the Republican's party's new splinter group, led by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and his devout followers, that is infuriating the Republican party's established leadership. In a testy exchange with a reporter on Saturday, Rep. Darrell Issa unloaded some of his frustration on a reporter:
Reporter question to Issa, "When this fails..." Issa in his face: "How dare you assume failure. How dare you! How dare you! How dare you!"— Chris Moody (@Chris_Moody) September 28, 2013
The effort to force a government shutdown also seems to be driving Speaker of the House John Boehner, the group's biggest adversary not named Obama, towards madness. Or, at least, he seems strangely serene in the face of party discord and looming legislative chaos:
After smoke break, @SpeakerBoehner asked about shutdown. Instead, he blows kisses at a reporter— Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) September 28, 2013
John Boehner in pretty good spirits today. He made fun of my shirt/tie combination.— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) September 28, 2013
But no one is getting more attention than Texas Rep. John Culberson, who apparently views the House's foolhardy attempt to avoid a shutdown and eliminate Obamacare as analogous to the Americans who fought back against the terrorists on United Flight 93:
Rep. Culberson (R-TX) on the big applause moment after GOP resolved to vote for CR: "I said, like 9/11, 'lets roll!'"— Benjy Sarlin (@BenjySarlin) September 28, 2013
"Let's roll," were the last words Todd Beamer spoke to a telephone dispatcher before fighting off hijackers who directed United 93 off course, towards Washington, on September 11. It was a rallying cry and, just, what. This really doesn't work:
So the House GOP will heroically crash the airplane of government, which has been taken over by extremists bent on universal healthcare?— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) September 28, 2013
Sure, why not. Anything is possible.