My must read of the day is “House Republicans explore strategy to avoid a federal government shutdown,” in the Washington Post. The Washington Post reports:
With federal agencies set to close their doors in five days, House Republicans began exploring a potential detour on the path to a shutdown: shifting the fight over President Obama’s health-care law to a separate bill that would raise the nation’s debt limit.
If it works, the strategy could clear the way for the House to approve a simple measure to keep the government open into the new fiscal year, which will begin Tuesday, without hotly contested provisions to defund the Affordable Care Act.
The debt-limit measure delays the implementation of the Affordable Care Act for one year, but it also addresses numerous conservative causes. The causes, according to the article, range from “establishing a timetable for tax reform… [cutting] federal civil service pensions… [and approving] construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline,” ultimately making the measure something of a “grand conservative wish list.”
The legislation is chockfull of so much stuff it has the appearance of an ill-planned, last-ditch effort, but its practicality likely lies in being a first step.
It’s a lofty bill to pass before Oct. 17, but it could serve the purpose of uniting a fragmented GOP and exploiting a weak spot where the administration will likely need to compromise.
The key advantage lies in the vote count. Unlike the Continuing Resolution, a super majority—60 votes—is needed to pass a debt-ceiling increase.
With 52 Democrats, and two independents caucusing with them, Senate Democrats actually do need Republican support.
If this is a negotiating tactic of asking for what you know is not possible, with the intention of accepting something a little more reasonable, the plan could work.