Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Shutdown Fight

Greg Sargent from a couple of days ago Do `moderate’ Republicans really want to vote to fund the government?

ABC News’ Rick Klein, speaking about John Boehner’s refusal to allow a House vote on a ‘clean CR,’ asked a good question today: ‘Did Boehner make a strategic error in saying votes aren’t in the House for a clean CR?’ Klein noted that this ‘invites calls to prove it.’

That’s true, but unfortunately, Boehner won’t allow such a vote, precisely because it probably would reveal the votes are there to reopen the government. And so we have to settle for something short of that: If Boehner won’t allow a House vote, then moderate Republicans who claim they want such a vote should be pressed to say whether they will support a discharge petition that would force it.

Remember, House Democrats announced last week that they had found a way of using a previously existing bill funding the government to move a discharge petition, which would force a vote on reopening the government if it garners 218 signatures. At last count, some two dozen House Republicans appeared prepared to vote for a clean CR.

I remember seeing something about why a discharge petition won't work, but if this talk about a short term debt ceiling raise becomes real, then a Nov 1 vote isn't too late.

The NY Times says this is A Federal Budget Crisis Months in the Planning. "To many Americans, the shutdown came out of nowhere. But interviews with a wide array of conservatives show that the confrontation that precipitated the crisis was the outgrowth of a long-running effort to undo the law, the Affordable Care Act, since its passage in 2010 — waged by a galaxy of conservative groups with more money, organized tactics and interconnections than is commonly known."

"In an interview, Mr. DeMint, who left the Senate to join the Heritage Foundation in January, said he had been thinking about it since the law’s passage, in part because Republican leaders were not more aggressive. “They’ve been through a series of C.R.s and debt limits,” Mr. DeMint said, referring to continuing resolutions on spending, “and all the time there was discussion of ‘O.K., we’re not going to fight the Obamacare fight, we’ll do it next time.’ The conservatives who ran in 2010 promising to repeal it kept hearing, ‘This is not the right time to fight this battle.’ ”"

Ezra Klein lists The 13 reasons Washington is failing and it's a good list.

Bruce Bartlett explains what happens When the Treasury Runs Out of Cash. "It is common to hear Republicans pooh-pooh the danger of default by saying that the Treasury has much more cash coming in from tax withholding on a monthly basis than it owes bondholders. It can simply prioritize payments, they say. (But Republicans have also passed the Full Faith and Credit Act, giving the president authority to prioritize payments, which strongly suggests he can’t now do so.) Those who say this are either ignorant or mendacious. There are two problems with this theory, legal and practical."

Last night I heard someone explain on Chris Hayes' show that if there is a default it's not clear how the market would react. Sure they'd want there to be a big selloff, but in times of uncertainty traders move money into US Treasuries. If treasuries are the problem, it's not clear where they would park the money. I'd guess in cash, but they didn't describe things further.

And finally, Republicans could lose their House majority because of the shutdown. "It's been recently claimed (for instance, at RealClearPolitics and The New Republic) that the GOP is at little risk of losing its majority in the House. New surveys suggest that thanks to the shutdown and debt ceiling battle, the situation has changed."

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