Chart: what Republicans got out of the government shutdown

Here’s what Republicans got out of the shutdown, in one chart

Washington Post – Back in September, Republicans released a list of their demands for raising the debt ceiling. Today, the Rachel Maddow show went back to see how they did. And this chart doesn’t even show everything the Republicans lost in the deal… via @EzraKlein


Yesterday, President Obama put the GOP’s hostage-taking and demands in perspective:

CS Monitor —  “To all my friends in Congress, understand that how business is done in this town has to change,” said the president. Obama said that politicians should stop focusing on lobbyists, bloggers, talking heads, and “professional activists who profit from conflict” to focus on creating jobs and getting the nation’s fiscal house in order. Specifically, he said Washington should now focus on a “balanced approach to a responsible budget,” passage of immigration reform, and finishing a farm bill.

[...] Obama went on to praise the work of furloughed government workers, saying they care for seniors and veterans, ensure workplaces, food, and toys are safe, and other numerous vital services. He said he recognizes that some people disagree vehemently with his policies. But disagreement needs to be resolved in the normal democratic process, he said. “You don’t like a particular policy or a particular president, then argue for your position. Go out there and win an election. Push to change it. But don’t break it,” he said.

Obama’s tough tone was hard to miss. He wasn’t singing “Kumbaya” and asking everyone to join hands. His message, in essence, was this: I won fair and square within the normal democratic process. If you don’t like it, take back the Senate in 2014 and the White House in 2016, if you can.

The winners (Ted Cruz) and losers (the rest of us) of the government shutdown

THE WINNERS: Sen. Ted Cruz and his PACs. 

Not only did Ted Cruz retain his paycheck and benefits during the shutdown, but beginning with his 21-hour stand-up routine that included reading Green Eggs and Ham on the Senate floor, Cruz has raised more money for himself and his PACs throughout the shutdown than he’d been able to raise in any quarter previously. No wonder he claims his effort to defund Obamacare was a “victory” even as that effort bombed in both the Senate and then the House. It was a victory… but only for his personal campaign finances:

His state director, John Drogin, emails to note that combining all of the senator’s accounts (including his reelection and leadership PACs) yields a haul of $1.19 million from 12,000 individual donors. — Atlantic Wire

Unfortunately, because of the intelligence levels of our country, this fact will only make the extremists love Cruz even more, meaning more money for his bank accounts and, like Sarah Palin, a much longer “15 minutes” than would otherwise have been earned. ‘Murica!

THE LOSERS: all of us. 

ABC News —The 16-day government shutdown is over, but the country has taken at least a $24 billion hit along the way. The financial ratings agency Standard & Poor’s said Wednesday the shutdown “to date has taken $24 billion out of the economy,” equaling $1.5 billion dollars a day and “shaved at least 0.6 percent off annualized fourth-quarter 2013 GDP growth.” These estimates are for the overall economy, taking into account not just federal wages and productivity, but all the ripple effects and costs as well.


- $3.1 billion in lost government services. Although furloughed workers will get their back pay,  taxpayers won’t see the products.  (Source: I.H.S.)

-  According to the U.S. Travel Association:  There has been $152 million per day in all spending related to travel lost because of the shutdown. As many as 450,000 American workers supported by travel may be affected.

-   According to the National Park Service: They welcome more than 700,000 people per day usually in October and visitors spend an estimated $32 million per day impact in communities near national parks and contribute $76 million each day to the national economy.  Those revenues were lost.

-  According to Destination D.C., the official tourism corporation of D.C.: There is a 9 percent decrease in hotel occupancy from the last week in September before the shutdown to the first week of October during the shutdown. This year, hotel occupancy was down 74.4 percent for the week Sept. 29 to Oct. 5 compared to the 2012 numbers. (Source: Smith Travel Research, Inc.) In 2012, an estimated $6.2 billion of visitor spending supported more than 75,300 jobs.

Politico — States won’t get paid back for reopening national parks: A deal to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling won’t repay the states for kicking in funds to the National Park Service to open the Statue of Liberty, Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore and other national icons during the 16-day shutdown. According to the deals between the Interior Department and the states, Congress would need to specifically authorize the repayment of any money spent that states had donated to fund the sites. “These funds from states are donations, not loans,” an Interior official said. “It would take an act of Congress to authorize any sort of reimbursement.” …These included:

New York’s donation of $369,300 to reopen the Statue of Liberty from last Saturday through Thursday

Arizona’s $651,000 to open Grand Canyon National Park to visitors for a week from last Saturday

South Dakota’s $152,000 to fund Mount Rushmore National Memorial for 10 days starting this past Monday

Utah’s $1,665,720.80 for eight sites that opened for 10 days starting Oct. 11

Colorado’s $362,700 to reopen Rocky Mountain National Park for 10 days starting Oct. 11

Embedded image permalink

Geography of the House votes

Jim Roberts (NY Times): Breakdown of House vote, 285-144, to end fiscal impasse. All “NO” votes came from GOP. 


House votes to reopen government, delay default: 285 to 144

…WITHOUT repealing, defunding, or delaying the Affordable Care Act.

After the past two weeks (and the +40 votes on Obamacare prior to this), tea party relevance can be measured with the following EKG:

This vote could have been held two weeks ago, saving the American public at least $23 billion and much heartache, if not for the Republican House and their “Hastert Rule.”

Also notice over half the Republican House members voted for default and to keep the government shut down. That’s not leadership and it’s certainly not patriotic.

The Senate vote earlier was 81 to 18.

Tea culpa

Sen. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC) pleads for mercy from the Democrats:  

We won’t be the last political party to overplay our hand. It might happen one day on the Democratic side. And if it did, would Republicans, for the good of the country, kinda give a little? We really did go too far. We screwed up. But their response is making things worse, not better.

Seriously, Lindsey? Republicans--for the good of the country--would be kinder to Democrats if they screwed up this badly? You’re just lucky Republicans won’t have to face Republicans with this debacle.

Sen. JOHN McCAIN (R-AZ), remarking on House Republicans inability to get their shit together in advance of Thursday’s debt ceiling deadline.

“It’s very, very serious. Republicans have to understand we have lost this battle, as I predicted weeks ago, that we would not be able to win because we were demanding something that was not achievable.”

Rep. Peter King (R-NY) provides an assessment from the moderate members of the GOP, as the prominent conservative organizations Heritage Action, Red State and FreedomWorks all came out against a last-second GOP leadership plan to avert a crisis that Democrats had warned was too far to the right: 

“This party is going nuts.”

Man of the mighty Tea-God, PAT BUCHANAN, still wants to burn it all down

“Republicans should refuse to raise the white flag and insist on an honorable avenue of retreat. And if Harry Reid’s Senate demands the GOP end the sequester on federal spending, or be blamed for a debt default, the party should, Samson-like, bring down the roof of the temple on everybody’s head.”

Who will be Pat’s holy warrior?

A Senate Republican aide placed the blame on a particular senator from Texas. TED CRUZ (R-TX) reportedly met with a group of House conservatives at Tortilla Coast, a Mexican restaurant in Washington, D.C., to discuss strategy Monday night.

“Ted Cruz and his Tortilla Coast Republicans are leading us to a default.” 

Sen. KELLY AYOTTE (R-NH) says Sen. TED CRUZ (R-TX), could try to gum up the bipartisan effort underway to reopen the government and lift the debt ceiling:

“It’s up to him. I would hope that he wouldn’t. I mean, in the Senate obviously in terms of certain time frames, senators can cause to you run out the clock. But what’s he trying to gain at this point?”

Currently being discussed:

Sorry, Pat.

Tea party ideology as illustrated with fictional villains


The debt ceiling…

There isn’t enough extortion in either the House or Senate proposals to satisfy the tea party

Danny Vinik explains why the House GOP proposal is still extortion while the Senate GOP proposal isn’t.

Here’s how the Senate proposal shapes up:

Republicans get:                                                                Democrats Get:

  • Income verification                                            •  Delay of reinsurance fee

There will also be a budget negotiation that occurs under the McConnell-Reid deal. See how both sides get something from each other?

Here’s the new House GOP plan:

Republicans get:                                                                    Democrats Get:

  • Income verification
  • Two-year delay of medical device tax
  • Version of Vitter Amendment
  • Ban on extraordinary measures

So, what exactly do Democrats get out of this? Nothing. House Republicans are still demanding concessions in return for funding the government and not defaulting. It’s the same hostage-taking tactics they’ve been using all along. Boehner and Co. have reduced their ransom demands significantly, which is why there is a lot of optimism that a deal will eventually get done, but it’s still ransom. That’s why the White House and Senate Democrats are vehemently against this plan. They are adamant that they will not agree to any deal that sets a precedent for using the debt ceiling as an extortion device and the House GOP plan still does that.

This explains the rejection of the House plan by the Senate / White House—but it also explains why the teahadists in the House would reject both proposals: there’s not enough extortion in either.

Speakership before Country: Boehner won’t take back the fate of the nation from the Crazy 80

Boehner still won’t allow a vote to go to the floor if a majority of the majority can’t pass it. He doesn’t want to face a mutiny on the Good Ship Teabagger. It doesn’t matter if a majority of the House would pass the Senate bill, Boehner’s pandering to the tea crowd extremists who, in reality, are never going to agree to anything that’s remotely acceptable to the Senate / Administration. So.

Meet John Boehner’s new problem. Same as his old problem. — The Fix 

After a more-than-two hour meeting with GOP members, Boeher emerged to tell the press that there was in fact no Republican House plan. “There are a lot of opinions about what direction to go,” Boehner said. ”There have been no decisions about what exactly we will do.”

According to WaPo’s Lori Montgomery, Boehner’s walk-back from a plan that seemed solid enough for the White House to release an official condemnation of it was due to worries that Boehner and the Republican leadership simply couldn’t wrangle the 217 votes they needed from within their own ranks to pass it.

House Republicans Poised To Spurn Senate Debt Deal — TPM

House Republicans look ready to reject a pending bipartisan compromise in the Senate and propose their own plan for re-opening the government and raising the debt limit.

Here are the details of the new House bill that the leadership presented to Republican members at a closed door meeting Tuesday morning, according to multiple House GOP sources.

  • Temporary spending bill to re-open the government until Jan. 15.
  • Increase the debt limit enough to last until Feb. 7.
  • A two-year delay of Obamacare’s medical device tax.
  • A requirement that the Obama administration verify the income of Americans receiving tax subsidies through Obamacare (specifics pending).
  • A revised version of the so-called Vitter Amendment, in this case requiring Congress members and executive department officials like President Obama — but not their staffs — to purchase insurance through the law’s marketplace without federal employer subsidies.
  • Eliminates Treasury Department’s ability to use “extraordinary measures” to avoid default.

The House is expected to vote on the bill today.

Market reaction: 

Down, down, down—which is great news for the tea party.

Pelosi, Reid slam Boehner’s reckless effort to sabotage deal to end shutdown, avoid default — DailyKos

In Pelosi’s words:

What you saw here earlier was a Speaker who did not have the votes for his proposal. So why are they doing this to the American people? Sabotaging a good faith bipartisan effort coming out of the Senate, wasting the public’s time. And in this case, time is money. Time is money. This is going to be very costly to our economy. [...] This Republican habit of sabotaging of any effort to move forward is a luxury our country cannot afford.

Of the GOP’s antics, Reid said it was “hard to comprehend this logically.”

The tea party driven part of the Republican party doesn’t follow logic. Why would they want to close the government for 15 days and have us default on our debt? Introduction of this measure by House Republican leadership is unproductive and a waste of time. Let’s be clear: The House legislation will not pass the Senate.

In case ANYONE doubts that it was House Republicans who shut down the government

Doubt no more.

[Below] Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) confirming with Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) that the Republicans changed the House rule 22 clause 4 on Oct 1, 2013 in order to ensure the federal government would be shut down:


Van Hollen: H. Res. 368 changed the standing rules of the House to take away from any member of the House the privilege of calling up the Senate bill to immediately reopen the government, is that right?

Chaffetz: It did change the operation of the standing rule.


Remember this bit of GOP gamesmanship when you think about Cruz and Palin at their tea party rally on Sundayusing veterans as cover, pseudo-raging about closed memorials. Cruz and Palin were there to represent one thing only: the tea party and everything it stands for. Their only purpose was to try to deflect blame for the shutdown to the President and Democrats in Congress, to call for Obama’s impeachment, and to celebrate the usual racist tripe that we’ve all come to expect from the ridiculous individuals who comprise this group of losers.


TPM: The House GOP’s Little Rule Change That Guaranteed A Shutdown

Here’s the rule in question:

When the stage of disagreement has been reached on a bill or resolution with House or Senate amendments, a motion to dispose of any amendment shall be privileged.

In other words, if the House and Senate are gridlocked as they were on the eve of the shutdown, any motion from any member to end that gridlock should be allowed to proceed. Like, for example, a motion to vote on the Senate bill. That’s how House Democrats read it.

But the House Rules Committee voted the night of Sept. 30 to change that rule for this specific bill. They added language dictating that any motion “may be offered only by the majority Leader or his designee.”

So unless House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) wanted the Senate spending bill to come to the floor, it wasn’t going to happen. And it didn’t.

“I’ve never seen this rule used. I’m not even sure they were certain we would have found it,” a House Democratic aide told TPM. “This was an overabundance of caution on their part. ‘We’ve got to find every single crack in the dam that water can get through and plug it.'”

Congressional historians agreed that it was highly unusual for the House to reserve such power solely for the leadership.

“I’ve never heard of anything like that before,” Norm Ornstein, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, told TPM.

“It is absolutely true that House rules tend to not have any explicit parliamentary rights guaranteed and narrowed to explicit party leaders,” Sarah Binder, a congressional expert at the Brookings Institution, told TPM. “That’s not typically how the rules are written.”

Republican staff on the House Rules Committee did not respond to multiple requests for comment. But here’s what House Rules Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX) told Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) when she raised those concerns before the rule change was approved.

“What we’re attempting to do is to actually get our people together rather than trying to make a decision,” Sessions said. “We’re trying to actually have a conference and the gentlewoman knows that there are rules related to privileged motions that could take place almost effective immediately, and we’re trying to go to conference.”

“You know that there could be a privileged motion at any time…,” Sessions continued as Slaughter continued to press the issue.

“To call for the vote on the Senate resolution,” Slaughter interjected. “I think you’ve taken that away.”

“I said you were correct. We took it away,” Sessions said, “and the reason why is because we want to go to conference.”



Morning coffee: Tuesday / Day 15

shitshilariousmeredith, how do i open a new tab

Current Senate and White House negotiations cause markets to rebound

3 p.m. meeting postponedHuffPo

The White House says a meeting between Obama and congressional leaders has been postponed to give Senate leaders more time to resolve a standoff over the nation’s debt and the partial government shutdown.

From Slate’s Shutdown Liveblog:

12:05 p.m.: Afternoon Action as Congressional Leaders Head to the White House, via WaPo:

President Obama and Vice President Biden will meet with the top-ranking House and Senate leaders in both parties this afternoon at 3 p.m., a White House official said. Obama will huddle at the White House with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

12 p.m.: Reid Makes an Offer, via Politico:

Harry Reid has privately offered Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell a deal that would reopen the government until mid-to-late December while extending the U.S. debt ceiling until next year, according to several sources familiar with the talks.

The proposal would set up a framework for larger budget negotiations with the House over the automatic sequestration spending cuts and and other major deficit issues, the sources said. Moreover, Senate Democrats are open to delaying Obamacare’s medical device tax and a requirement that those receiving Obamacare subsidies be subject to income verification — but they would have to get something from Republicans in return, sources said.

McConnell is still reviewing the offer and is privately huddling with groups of GOP senators Monday who could be key to providing enough votes in the Senate. On Monday morning, McConnell met with Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mike Johanns of Nebraska and Mark Kirk of Illinois.

And, Markets, any comment?


Stock markets rebound as budget talks continue - via Politico

The stock market rebounded Monday afternoon following a weak opening, amid renewed hope that Congress was nearing an agreement to re-open the government and raise the debt ceiling, which the Treasury Department says needs to be done by Thursday.

By early afternoon trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up more than 20 points, having made up the ground it had lost in early morning trading when it was down as much as 100 points. The Nasdaq, which had also dipped in the morning, was up more than 12 points, while the S&P 500 was also up more than 2 points.

The bounce in the stock market followed new signals from the Senate Monday that an agreement could be reached soon. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) — who had rejected a proposal from Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) over the weekend — has offered Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) a plan that would re-open the government and raise the debt ceiling until next year, POLITICO reported.

Morning coffee: Monday / Day 14


This week we begin a journey down a road we’ve never traveled before.

Can we finally stop pretending the Tea Party cares about “fiscal conservatism”?

Shouldn’t that be especially obvious after this shutdown / debt ceiling hostage drama? These anti-government extremists do not give Fuck All about the government, its budget, or anyone else but themselves. Obamacare will be worse than slavery? Birth control is “abortifacients”? What does that even…. These people are charismatic grifters, dishonest clowns, and practiced charlatans.

Amanda Marcotte writes,

It’s not just that the rogue’s gallery of congress people who are pushing the hardest for hostage-taking as a negotiation tactic also happens to be a bench full of Bible thumpers. Pew Research shows that people who align with the Tea Party are more likely to not only agree with the views of religious conservatives, but are likely to cite religious belief as their prime motivation for their political views.  White evangelicals are the religious group most likely to approve of the Tea Party. Looking over the data, it becomes evident that the “Tea Party” is just a new name for the same old white fundamentalists who would rather burn this country to the ground than share it with everyone else, and this latest power play from the Republicans is, in essence, a move from that demographic to assert their “right” to control the country, even if their politicians aren’t in power.

It’s no surprise, under the circumstances, that a movement controlled by fundamentalist Christians would be oblivious to the very real dangers that their actions present. Fundamentalist religion is extremely good at convincing its followers to be more afraid of imaginary threats than real ones, and to engage in downright magical thinking about the possibility that their own choices could work out very badly. When you believe that forcing the government into default in an attempt to derail Obamacare is the Lord’s work, it’s very difficult for you to see that it could have very real, negative effects.

It should also come as no surprise that the Tea Party’s very own Freedomworks is reportedly going broke because the teabagger hypocrites who run it have spent all the money. Turns out the people who want to lecture everyone else in the country about spending and debt and responsibility can’t seem to manage their own house:

The conservative nonprofit, which raised more than $40 million in 2012, has brought in less than $10 million this year, according to the sources. And former employees say the group’s rank and file have grown increasingly frustrated with what they view as management’s exorbitant expenditures, including a pricey craft beer bar and fancy Las Vegas hotel rooms that rack up thousands of dollars a night in charges.

[...] FreedomWorks is “top heavy on management and personnel and perks,” the former high-level employee said. The source cited, for example, an $8,000 hotel bill Kibbe ran up in Las Vegas. Bodnar did not deny the charge.

Some former employees also questioned the value in FreedomWorks’ sponsorship of Glenn Beck’s network The Blaze, which one source said cost the organization $1 million last year. (A spokesperson for Beck declined to comment on the specifics of the arrangement.)

FreedomWorks’ money problems culminated in taking out a $1 million line of credit earlier this year. [...] Sources describe a culture where fiscal conservatism is ostensibly prized, but staff dine out at fancy restaurants on the company’s dollar and a microbrew bar in the office with four kegs (Kibbe is a craft beer aficionado) is paid for with FreedomWorks money.

“At every conference they go to they stay in the best hotels, and it just doesn’t seem appropriate,” one former employee said.

It doesn’t seem appropriate? Did the former employee not get the memo that the rules for everyone else don’t apply to them?

The most disgusting thing here is that not only do they imagine they’re doing the work of an imaginary, weird, fundamentalist God—who conveniently rewards greed, hypocrisy and selfishness—but they believe they’re going to take over the government any day now.  Their magical thinking allows them to rationalize that IF they destroy the country or the world… who cares? Paradise awaits elsewhere.  Nothing matters but their own rewards, immediate or future, real or imaginary.

Underneath everything they’re not good people, in the sense that most of us understand what makes someone a good person.  Their “favorite” personas at any given moment (Bachmann, Cruz, Palin, Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Paul Ryan, Coulter) are those individuals who are willing to say the nuttiest, most outlandish, hateful, and bizarre things. Because, as a group, these people are nutty, outlandish, hateful and bizarre.

Every single day, they are the ones on Fox News taking the Lord’s name in vain and calling it Fair and Balanced. And here in America, in the year 2013, they want religious law to override secular law as a means of power and control over all of us.

They are America’s Taliban and they are currently holding our government hostage.

Shame on moneyed elites like the Koch brothers for spreading this virus to save themselves some taxes, and shame on mainstream Republicans for allowing themselves to be pushed around for political gain.  Never forget.

Who’s deserting the Good Ship Teabag?

The American public

Just 28 percent of Americans have a favorable impression of the GOP, according to the latest monthly Gallup tracking poll. The number “is the lowest favorable rating measured for either party since Gallup began asking this question in 1992,” the polling company stated.

John McCain (who should be commended for speaking up, which is something many in his party have no spine for): 

“We started this on a fool’s errand, convincing so many millions of Americans and our supporters that we could defund Obamacare,” McCain said. While McCain didn’t name names, he faulted members of Congress — “tea partiers specifically” — for wrongly telling “millions of Americans” that Obamacare can be defunded. That “obviously wouldn’t happen until we had 67 Republican senators to override a presidential veto.”  McCain denounced the fight to defund Obamacare at the cost of a fiscal impasse even before the government shut down last week. McCain called out Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) for his anti-Obamacare speech, and said “the people spoke” when they reelected President Barack Obama in 2012.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business leaders: 

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other groups have actively engaged lawmakers for weeks and say that while they agree with the need for reforms, the top priority should be avoiding the default that a failure to OK another debt ceiling increase would bring. “Our top lobbyists are continuing to talk to scores of members of Congress and their staff urging them to address this and stop kicking the can down the road,” U.S. Chamber spokeswoman Blair Latoff Holmes told Yahoo News. “It is up to lawmakers and the administration to find common ground and reach a deal that will fund the government and raise the debt limit to avoid default. We will continue to make that case to everyone who will listen.”

Wall Street

Peter King (R-NY), who has been urging his party to drop the fight against Obamacare and pass a bill to fund the government, told POLITICO that if his Republicans colleagues continue to tie Obamacare measures to a continuing resolution, this could “hurt” the GOP’s ability to “raise money from Wall Street and the business community” in the future. “This threat of government shutdown and not paying debt and defaulting, it’s going to have a real impact first of all economically, and it’s going to have a follow-up effect of Wall Street wondering why they support Republicans,” King said. As the government shutdown continued into Wednesday, market analysts warned that concerns about a debt default — initially dismissed by Wall Street as improbable, if not unimaginable — were beginning to intensify.

The ones who brought the Teaparty to the dance, but were left in the corner without a dancing partner – The Koch Brothers: 

The billionaire industrialists have funded a sprawling empire of libertarian-conservative activism; they’ve been dubbed the bankrollers of the Tea Party. Liberals frequently accuse them of seeking deregulatory policies to further their company’s financial interests. But what happens when the Tea Party’s ideological warfare threatens to plunge the U.S. economy into chaos?

The answer: The Kochs appear to be distancing themselves from the movement they’ve helped to create. In a letter released Wednesday, Koch Industries’ chief lobbyist, Philip Ellender, says the company does not favor the House’s push to defund Obamacare as a condition of keeping the government open. Koch Industries would prefer to see Congress focus on fiscal issues: “We believe that Congress should, at a minimum, keep to sequester-level spending guidelines, and develop a plan for more significant and widespread spending reductions in the future,” Ellender writes.

You might want to read the New York Times article that described the significant financial investment the Kochs made to stir up the torch-waving villagers against Obamacare, shortly after Obama started his second term: Freedomworks’ Blueprint to Defunding Obamacare. Maybe the Kochs thought they had pointed the villagers in one direction, but the villagers shambled off in their own direction. Whoops!

The Kochs Favorite Man-Boy, Paul Ryan: 

Ryan laid out a package focused on an overhaul of Medicare and a path toward a comprehensive simplification of the tax code.

[Flashback: this is a rehash of the "entitlement reform" granny-starving nonsense that helped Romney lose the last election.]

Ryan also wrote an op-ed in the WSJ on Tuesday without once mentioning the repeal or delay or defunding of Obamacare / ACA—as was his mission (see Koch Brothers above). He will now be considered a traitor to the Crazy 80 even as he tries to walk it back today, which only creates a longer list of ransom demands for his party.

[Another flashback: remember when Ryan and the Republicans refused any new tax revenues during the "grand bargain" negotiations with Democrats in 2011, even though Democrats were willing to bend on entitlements, and S&P downgraded the U.S. bond rating from AAA to AA? Remember how S&P assigned blame for the downgrade to Republicans refusal to compromise on new revenue? More good times with Paul Ryan!]

Finally, maybe John Boehner …at long last?

President Obama, who invited House Democrats on Wednesday, asked all House Republicans to the White House on Thursday, an invitation Speaker John A. Boehner whittled down to a short list of attendees he wants to negotiate a compromise.

The good news about the whittled down list is that not one of the attendees is from the “Crazy 80″ suicide caucus, which seems to be some kind of message. Of course, Boehner’s familiar bookends (Cantor & Ryan) will be there:

Elected Leaders:
McMorris Rodgers

Hal Rogers

This morning it’s been reported that Boehner is considering a six-week debt ceiling increase. So it seems the Koch Brothers have indeed dropped anchor on the sinking Good Ship Teabag, and are now looking for any transport that’s heading for safer waters.

GOP House considers temporarily releasing a hostage: a six-week debt ceiling increase


The Washington Post reports:

House Republican leaders are pushing a short-term increase in the debt limit, without any conservative strings attached, to calm jittery financial markets, according to senior GOP advisers.

The plan, which is being presented to the House GOP caucus Thursday morning, coincides with a warning to lawmakers from Treasury Secretary Jack Lew that he will be unable to guarantee payments to any group — whether Social Security recipients or U.S. bondholders — unless Congress approves an increase in the federal debt limit.

If the GOP plan goes over well with rank-and-file Republicans, Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) could put the legislation on the floor for a vote late Thursday.

Financial markets soared on the first sign of optimistic news out of Washington in almost a month, with the Dow Jones industrial average up 169 points in the first 15 minutes of trading. The emerging plan would not deal with the now 10-day-old shutdown of the federal government, an issue that would move onto a separate track of talks.

The plan would meet President Obama’s demand for an increase in Treasury’s borrowing authority without any legislative riders, meaning Democrats would likely support the plan and it could be signed into law. But it would set the stage for tough negotiations, possibly until Thanksgiving, over bigger fiscal matters, since the tentative plan calls for a six-week increase of the debt limit.

Jonathan Chait explains how Boehner and Republican leadership might be able to spin this into a win for their side, rather than the “unconditional surrender” that Boehner has called such a compromise all along:

But the current Republican line does suggest a way out: if Republicans “win” a promise to negotiate the budget, with the debt ceiling not being subject to the outcome of the negotiations. That this has actually been Obama’s goal all along, and the thing Republicans have been trying to avoid, does not mean Republicans can’t talk themselves into it. The negotiation would probably end in a stalemate, or possibly a few small changes, but by the time it was finished the crisis would be over and conservative activists would have moved on to other issues — a new Obama scandal, maybe.

The insistent talking point that Obama won’t negotiate is a preposterous form of propaganda. But it has been taken up by a number of eager conservative pundits who seem to actually believe it. What if conservatives can be made to believe their own talking point — to believe that forcing Obama to negotiate the budget is the party’s actual goal here? Conservative self-delusion got us into this crisis. It could also get us out.