So there is a House conference meeting tomorrow. NR reports:
House Republicans will hold a “special” conference meeting tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. No meeting subject was explicitly given in the announcement sent to members, but Republicans face big choices over how to structure their budget fight with President Obama. House budget chairman Paul Ryan is leading the push to focus on the debt ceiling and entitlement reforms while a small group on the right wants to continue fighting over Obamacare with the continuing-resolution bill.
Only a 'small group' willing to fight the good fight? Unfortunate. Here is what they should do:
1. Defuse the debt ceiling threat instantly with a simple debt ceiling increase, by about $200 billion and attach only one requirement: The Full Faith and Credit Act. This is the best way forward as Erick Erickson has outlined. Include that one provision and hold your ground. Defuse Obama's "strap the economy to the vest and blow it up if they dont meet my non-negotiable demands" approach to the debt ceiling. The good news is that the Republican House is considering short-term debt ceiling increase. The Bad news is the 'provision' is some proposal to have talks. That's meaningless. Either we make real solid policies gains or we get ... nothing. Having raised the debt ceiling earlier in the year, then doing it again - if it's clean, it's a blank check and obama knows the score: He just filibusters and waits ... and gets the blank check he wants. So the minimum has to be Full Faith and Credit for the short-term debt ceiling increase.
2. The fight is on Obamacare, dummies. It's the ONE driver of taxation, spending, intrusion and disruption and Government power. Given the fiasco of ACA's rollout a one year delay is MORE than reasonable. Hold your ground. Insist on at least negotiations on this before any give-back on the CR.
3. Pass ALL APPROPRIATIONS NOW. No delay. Get them all done for FY 14 and put it on the Senate. Give Reid NO EXCUSES for what is now clearly the Harry Reid shutdown. He stops the re-opening of the Government. Make him own it 100%.
4. This is the argument we need to be making, and we can make this if we are on a daily basis making new-worthy progress to get the Government open:
The Democrats' no-talk no-negotiate stance has kept the shutdown going. Obama's arbitrary decisions to shut park sites that the federal govt doesnt even spend money on is proof enough they want to make political stances and not solve problems. Democrats run the Senate and the Democrats in the Senate turned down 3 Republican House proposals and compromises to open the Government. Then the Democrats in the Senate said no to house bills to partially reopen. This is Harry Reid's shutdown. He wanted it. Democrat Harry Reid owns it.So Democrats wont fully reopen Government and they won't partially reopen Government. Republicans want the Government to open, they just are not willing to surrender to Obama's dictates to give him a blank check. The Republican stance is more reasonable than the Democrat one.
Rep Ryan and the leadership are trying desperately to pull defeat out of the jaws of victory via a path to 'grand bargain type talks'. The Rep Ryan Op-Ed is a letdown. What's this "move the focus"? We are already in a shutdown, this is our Gettysburg, Iwo Jima, Battle of the Bulge, etc. We will HAVE A default soon as well. You dont MOVE THE FOCUS. You either win or lose on the fight we have now. Obama's position is: I won't negotiate in this situation; and when he's out of the vice of a debt ceiling increase, he only demands more and more Government and won't ever relent. The current strategy of refunding the Government while demanding negotiations is a WINNING strategy because it is the policy-wise correct way forward. Boehner, Reid and Obama need to sit down and get a CR agreement that resolves the spending. Boehner needs to bring defund-or-delay to the table. Continue to FUND THE GOVERNMENT AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE and PUSH TO NEGOTIATE.
You WIN on the debt ceiling the same way. President Obama will not negotiate on the debt ceiling. Why fight him on that? Just give him a simple, short-term, take-it-or-leave-it debt ceiling increase that includes Full Faith and Credit, that takes away it's power to impact the global economy. If he would rather default than take a debt ceiling increase that adds in "We will never default" (by prioritizing interest payments), it's on him.
Rep Ryan's push now on entitlement reform is the dumbest thing possible at this time - given #1, 1 week to default, it's like the house is on fire and he proposes redesigning the kitchen. Who does that? PUT THE FIRE OUT! The Democrats are spendaholics, they wont agree to any real cuts, so any GOP proposal to cut entitlement is a dead-end and fodder for '14 campaign ads, just like when they had Rep Ryan push granny off a cliff. It wont go anywhere positive (see super-committee). And it's not even the argument we are having now! So why bring it up! No wonder Obama, Reid and Pelosi laughed at Boehner when they suggested it. Who are they kidding?
What's happening right now is millions of families - like mine - are getting pushed off the cliff by Obamacare/ACA. We are getting pushed out of healthcare we once enjoyed and pushed into: Higher cost plans, fewer options, worse outcomes. This is what matters now, and the Republicans cannot abandon the field here. Even if they assess (probably correctly in my view) that Obama will never relent on the 'defund' proposal, and that the Senate won't ever pass that, there are cracks in the Democratic party wall regarding compromise on this.
Meanwhile, to pick up that entitlemnt fight, they'd have to drop the fight they are already in. So it not only dumb and politically non-starter, It is bizarre and unfortunate for the House to give up from their solidity and return their bad 'all over the map' throw-it-against-the-wall-and-run-away-on-pushback approach. Does the House GOP leadership expect anything positive in terms of Obamacare delay, defer, defund or repeal? If not, this is just prelude to surrender anyway, so cut the charade and surrender already. Otherwise, HOLD YOUR GROUND.
The fact remains that the debt ceiling is a real third rail and the opportunity and the need to get something done there is most urgent. Senator Reid might thing a blank check debt ceiling increase might pass the Senate, but he forgets that its actually a tough vote: Sen Manchin would like to negotiate. See http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/360709/manchin-debt-limit-youve-got-negotiate-andrew-stiles. Democrats also need to have some cover for when they vote to increase the debt ceiling, to tell the yahoos how serious they are about keeping the debt in check.
Krauthammer thinks Obama is scared of the debt ceiling and sees possibility of a non-clean debt ceiling increase. Via NR's Corner:
Krauthammer said that because of that fear, there will be a short-term, conditional extension of the debt ceiling.
“He is really afraid of that debt ceiling. He says he won’t bend on this—of course he’ll have to at the eleventh hour,” Krauthammer said. “He can’t afford to be remembered as the first president who defaulted or allowed, you know, the conditions in which it can happen.”
So the bottom-line is this: We will either make some policy gains via this fights, or it will end up being a surrender to Obama's spendaholic ways. Winning fleeting gains or 'deals to talk' are not worth much, but permanent law changes are worth something. Whatever happens, we must keep our eye on the prize: The Number One issue, item and policy at stake here is Obamacare/ ACA. That will be the issue in 2014, indeed for many years until it's repealed and replaced or embedded like a tick in the body politic, and the Republicans need to continue to fight it in any vanue and with any tool they have.