Nel's New Day

October 10, 2013

Day Ten of Government Shutdown: Will GOP Cave?

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 8:02 PM
Tags: , ,

The House GOP members have a new plan to solve the government shutdown crisis: keep it going. They are offering President Obama a six-week extension of the debt limit if he commits to negotiate a longer-term budget plan—but not re-open the government. That keeps the government closed and promises the return of the new debt limit crisis before November 22, the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

On the Senate side, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced plans for a procedural vote Saturday on legislation to raise the debt ceiling by $1 trillion and through the end of 2014. GOP senators might vote for a year’s funding at the $967 billion level set by the 2011 Budget Control Act if the 2.3 percent medical-device tax were repealed and income for Obamacare applicants were verified. Once again the GOP is protecting corporations, in this case the ones who charge over $13,000 for a medical device that costs them about $350 to manufacture.

Conservatives are trying to persuade their constituents that they are not caving. “We haven’t changed our position—only the timeline,” Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) said. The less far-right members want to stop the shutdown. “I want to see a reopening of the government on a temporary basis, but I don’t want to undermine what happens at the White House today,” Rep. Peter King (R-NY) said. Conservative Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) wants more cuts in spending.

Dow Jones stock average soared after the announcement, going up over 2 percent, once again rising above 15,000. It would be interesting to see if the House GOP members did any personal trading after their plans became public.

The GOP, led by House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), have bitterly complained about the president’ unwillingness to talk with them. Sunday Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) wrote the following in an op-ed piece: “The president not only has refused to negotiate on issues of debt and spending but also has mocked the very idea of engaging with Congress.” President Obama invited all 232 Republicans to the White House today to talk with him. Only 20 of these 232 attended. No one was willing to say anything more after the meeting other than that it was “constructive,” which means that the GOP didn’t succeed.

If the GOP gives up, it will be because of disapproval of big business. Billionaires like the Koch Brothers have already indicated their distress with the possibility of not raising the debt ceiling. Influential business executives stated that their millions of dollars in campaign contributions are not paying off. Yesterday, several trade association officials warned that they would campaign against GOP lawmakers who engineered the political standoff in Washington. The only way that Tea Party extremist legislators have won has been help from these big donations.

Although federal and state Tea Party legislators have said wacko things about not raising the debt ceiling, others have been far more rational. Even Ronald Reagan understood the problems of defaulting, shown by his 1987 statement:

“Unfortunately, Congress consistently brings us to the edge of default before facing its responsibility. This brinkmanship threatens the holders of government bonds and those who rely on Social Security and veterans benefits. Interest rates would skyrocket. Instability would occur in financial markets and the federal deficit would soar. The United States has a special responsibility to itself and the world to meet its obligations. It means we have a well-earned reputation for reliability and credibility – two things that set us apart in much of the world.”

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) blamed tea partiers for the current national fiasco when he spoke yesterday to Wolf Blitzer on CNN. “We started this on a fool’s errand, convincing so many millions of Americans and our supporters that we could defund Obamacare,” McCain said. He didn’t name any colleagues, but he did say, “[It was] the people that convinced so many millions of Americans, tea partiers specifically we’re talking about, that there was some way to defund Obamacare. We can’t.”

Cruz isn’t giving up. After assuring the GOP party that a “tsunami” of public support would back their government shutdown, he argues that his campaign to defund Obamacare has only bolstered the GOP’s political position. Yet a poll that he paid for puts more blame on the GOP than the Democrats or the president. According to today’s NBC survey, a higher percentage of voters blame Republicans for the current shutdown than they did in the last round of shutdowns in 1995-96.

Cruz’s argument that the GOP is in a better position than during the 1995 shutdown because this time the issue is defined by Obamacare funding rather than a general disagreement about government spending doesn’t hold water.

Ultra-conservative Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform and godfather of “no new taxes,” also blames Cruz. “I think it was very possible for us to delay the implementation of Obamacare for a year until Cruz came along and crashed and burned,” Norquist said, referencing Cruz’s 21-hour anti-Obamacare speech on the Senate floor. Other GOP politicians have declared opposition to Cruz so strongly that people described it as a “lynch mob.”

World War II veteran Redge Ranyard said:

“Last week, John Boehner said that Republicans were locked in an ‘epic battle’ to keep the government shutdown going. As a World War II veteran, I fought in six epic battles. I helped fight the Nazis in the North African seas, and took part in operations that liberated Italy and the South of France, from Germany. The Tea Party Shutdown is not an epic battle — it is bad governance.”

Ranyard added that he felt “disgust with the Republican Party’s politicization of the World War II Memorial shortly after the shutdown began.” He concluded by saying, “I served this nation with honor. Today, I can’t say the same thing about most Republicans in Congress.”

The comments to an article in the conservative newspaper The Hill made excellent points in the frustration about the GOP behavior.

“The Republicans pulled this political stunt, which the majority of Americans oppose, in order to force right wing changes to “Obamacare”? And the result has been massive losses of money that is no longer going into Republican majority states, most of which covers contractor salaries, said contractors have by now been laid off and have no salary, thus cannot afford health coverage or may not have any available to them, so they will have to go to…..”Obamacare”???? Those Republicans sure did take careful aim at their feet. Did they not know that the gun would go off?”

“Six weeks or six years the GOP has no idea what to do… So is Kill Obamacare dead? are they back to lets make granny eat cat food?”

“Last month the House worked about nine days. Cantor figured out how to take Fridays off for long weekends. My own Rep complains about not working and has written articles to the fact. Come in on late Monday, work Tuesday afternoon and finish up on Wed. Gone by Thursday night. Work 32 weeks out of 52. Twenty weeks off with full time salaries. Of course, they say they see constituents at home….ummmm.”

“The good thing about the shutdown is that it shows the GOP is no longer one party fighting but two parties.. The GOP has been saying they want another party and that will help with elections… Well they got it.,.. Old school GOP and Tea Party…will one be gone next year or will it just break off and be two?

“The Christian Brotherhood is destroying this country. Barry Goldwater saw it coming: ‘Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they’re sure trying to do so, it’s going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can’t and won’t compromise. I know, I’ve tried to deal with them.’~Barry Goldwater”

[In answer to ‘Don’t extend anything. The debt limit is there for a reason: duh, to limit the debt’:] “Not raising the debt ceiling is akin to not paying your bills. If you think the US should default on its debt, maybe you should try it first for a few months and see how things work out. Do a little research before you embarrass yourself further.”

Other responses pointed out that the “Republican majority states are losing almost $8 BILLION per day.” Right-wing states “are losing 75% … of each and every kind of federal spending, whether DOD, or SS or Medicare, or SNAP. So, I agree we MUST stay within our means, and our means DO NOT INCLUDE continuing to send all that money to right wing states. We simply cannot afford it.”

“After only 10 days of shutdown, the Republican majority states have already lost almost $74 BILLION. That’s enough to fund over 1.1 MILLION average American jobs for a year. Hasn’t touched you? Look around. With your neighbors losing their jobs, who is going to provide the revenue to pay for your state and local government?”

“Reagan raised taxes 13 times and the debt ceiling 18 times. Bush raised the debt ceiling 7 times. Obama has raised the debt ceiling only three times.”

Nine-year-old Meredith Gold said it best in a letter to Congress: “At my school when we get into disagreements we compromise, work as a team, use leadership, have a positive attitude, and respect each other. I encourage you to do the same in Washington, D.C.”

Members of Congress are still getting paid even if they don’t follow Gold’s advice.

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