With the Boehner bill stalling in the House, Reid is pushing his bill through the Senate. The trillion dollar question for the week is, "are there enough Republican squishes in the House to get the Reid bill approved?" They only need 24 votes. Are there that many GOP members worried enough about a financial meltdown that they might bolt? We can argue ourselves whether such a meltdown would occur but that is not the point. Can we convince those 24 that they should not worry about it? The current atmosphere is not helping either. Members are accused of being RINOs and threatened with primaries just for supporting the Boehner plan. Could there be a temptation to just stick it to those throwing around these threats?
Currently the scorecard reads:
CCB has passed the House but is stalled to dead in the Senate,
the Boehner bill can't even make it out of the House,
and the Reid plan would probably get through the Senate and is anybody's guess in the House.
This does not even factor in Obama's veto threats, although I would be surprise if he doesn't sign anything that reaches his desk. Is he really going to kill something that has made it through the Dem controlled Senate?
In the current situation the probabilities favor the last bill standing and, unfortunately for us, that seems to be the Reid plan. If it passes, especially with a united Democrat support, Reid and the Democrats would look like the sane reasonable adults in the room. They would be the ones given credit for diverting certain economic disaster. The GOP would be left looking like squabbling little children, and we would end up with a fix worse than the Boehner plan.
We are not in a good position even if the Boehner plan passes the House. If it passes it squeaks by with universal Democrat opposition as well as some conservative GOP opposition. It would be easy for the Senate to kill it, again leaving the Reid plan the last one standing and the only GOP alternative would be to risk a financial crisis. Sure, a financial crisis is not a 100% certainty, but it cannot be ruled out with 100% certainty either. Again, it is not what we think will happen, but if there are enough GOP members who are afraid enough.
It is not looking favorable for a conservative solution, but I think there is a way out of the current mess. What we need is a little more time, say one month. A one month extension of the debt ceiling could buy us enough time to smooth out our differences and allow calmer heads to prevail. A one month extension would not add considerable to the debt. It would certainly be less worse than any Reid plan. It would be very defensible to the average voter, especially swing voters. They know that there is no consensus and we are running out of time to reach a reasonable solution. A one month extension would keep those 24 GOP squishes in line. It would prevent a possible market meltdown and relieve their fears. They would not feel the pressure to give in to the Dems.
A one month extension would also have the benefit of everyone showing their cards. What I mean is that the extension isn't proposed until the Reid plan is voted on in the Senate. With the Reid plan we will finally have something from the Dems that has details, is written down, and can be financially scored. Add in a one month extension and we will have time to properly criticize the Democratic plan. We can point out the gimmicks and weaknesses. Now we know what the Dems tactics are. We have a month to better prepare for them. We also have more time to go to the voters to advocate for the strengths of our proposals. We have more time to encourage the public to pressure Democrats to support the GOP policy.
Obama has threatened to veto short term extensions, but I think he is more concerned about short term proposals that would extend the ceiling to just before the next elections. With the current situation and the tensions, he would look extremely irresponsible vetoing a very short term extension like this. That goes double for the Democrat controlled Senate. At worst, even if the extension were rejected, the GOP would regain voter respect as the adults in the room.