Saturday, February 28, 2015

Kicking the Can Down the Road


Well at least John Boehner managed to get a stay of execution. With the DHS set to shut down at midnight, the House passed a one-week funding extension. In other words, they kicked the can down the road. Unable to muster the votes needed to get a three-week extension and fearful that putting the Senate bill to an up and down vote would mean the end of his speakership, Boehner, with the help of House Democrats, bought some time for his conference to come up with an alternate strategy.

Of course the problem for him and House leadership is that any such alternate strategy has zero chance of passing both houses. For starters, he'll need House Democrats to vote for it - not likely; then, assuming it passes, he'll have to hope that Senate Democrats don't filibuster it like they did on the last funding bill the House passed - even more unlikely.  Like it or not, Boehner's only real choice is to cave and allow the Senate bill to come to a vote.

To underscore the bind that Boehner is in, minority leader Nancy Pelosi instructed her caucus to vote "no" on the three-week extension, but then vote "yes" on the one-week extension. The first vote failed  203 - 224; the second passed 357 - 60. Even with the largest majority in 80 years, the beleagered Speaker still can't pass legislation without his Democratic assistance.

My guess here is that, after a lot of haranguing, Republicans will swallow hard and capitulate to a clean funding bill. Showboating aside, leadership doesn't have the stomach for a repeat of 2013. There are just enough of them who remember the beating they took. Peter King was quite, shall we say, eloquent in his thoughts. "I've had it with this self-righteous delusional wing of the party that leads us over the cliff."

The real question is what happens to Boehner. Does he survive or is he ousted? My gut tells me that he will survive. Not because he's popular with the base - far from it - but because a successor is unlikely to gather the needed votes to capture the position.  And, let's face it, after watching the beating Boehner has taken the last four years, who in their right mind would want the job?

Of course the term "right mind" is the major issue for the GOP. Let's not forget, Boehner barely got reelected as speaker this year - 25 members of his conference voted against him, forcing a second round vote for the first time since 1923. And that was after a resounding Republican wave in November. Just imagine what will happen once the GOP finally caves here. What I wouldn't give to be a fly on the wall inside that room.

I have to admit, I'm enjoying this shit. It's been a real hoot watching this comedy show masquerading as a political party.

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