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Grand Bargain must cut spending, end Obamacare’s Hunger Games-exemption

Speaker Boehner must not be spooked, by President Obama’s debt ceiling-default threat, to grab defeat from the jaws of government shutdown-victory.

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This wacko bird-tea partier conservative couldn’t have written the GOP’s continuing budget resolution (CR)-script, nor executed the strategy, better than it has played out…thus far. Large majorities of elected Republicans have remained united on insisting that any bill to fully fund the non-Obamacare portion of federal government obligations and departments, must amend the Affordable Care Act.

Speaker John Boehner’s Republican Party-controlled House of Representatives voted first to defund; then to delay the entire ACA and repeal the Medical Device Tax; and finally to delay the individual mandate and repeal Capitol Hill and White House staff exemptions. The GOP shamed the Democrats into appropriating funding for the military and have passed several other separate appropriation bills for national parks, veterans benefits, NIH cancer patient funding that Barack Obama and Harry Reid’s Democrats have held hostage to Obamacare.

This shutdown-showdown strategy of refusing to cave with no concessions and affirmatively and separately funding government departments to counteract Democratic Media highlights of shutdown “victims”, has been the desired course of tea partiers since they handed John Boehner the Speaker’s gavel after the 2010 Republican landslide, that was fueled primarily by opposition to Obamacare.

So far, the GOP in D.C. has not gone wobbly.

But now, with the shutdown in its fourth day and the national debt ceiling purportedly scheduled to be reached in 13 days, we hear talk that Speaker Boehner is seeking a “grand bargain” with President Obama on both the CR and the Debt Ceiling, behind the scenes, in order to prevent “default”. Of course, the present House strategy of regular order bills that put the spotlight on the Democratic Party-controlled Senate; and the poor results of past back door-deals at the supposed-last hour to avoid a supposed “crisis” with President Obama, is precisely the reason conservatives favor the present strategy that allowed the government to shut down in the first place.

There should be no inherent aversion to behind the scene deals, even on a “grand bargain” to resolve government spending and borrowing per se, so long as the following elements obtain:

Obamacare must be amended to deny Hunger Games/Capitol City-like exemptions to White House staffers as well as members of Congress and their staff members. The Boehner Rule that requires new spending cuts equal to any increase in the debt ceiling must be met. This means that the total cuts from the sequester must be maintained as a baseline from which new cuts are added, even if the military sequester cuts are restored. We favor restoration of the latter as well as many pre-sequester Democratic Party cuts that gutted the U.S. Navy and Marines before the GOP reclaimed the House in 2011.

We would prefer that Republicans also insist that individuals receive the same one year delay, albeit via the constitutionally legal route of the budget process, that the Chief Executive unilaterally and illegally granted to Big Business via presidential edict. But the GOP can only claim victory in this shutdown-showdown if we extract some concession on Obamacare, and clearly the Capitol City-exemption codified in the amendment of Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) would be the most politically potent bargaining chip.

Moreover, the GOP should not accept President Obama’s “default” paradigm that he has desperately conflated to actually try and precipitate a crisis on Wall Street. Republicans should be on the media 25/7 pointing out that President Obama would have sufficient funds available for years, after the debt ceiling is reached, to pay bondholders. Only by choosing not to pay that interest on debt would the United States “default” for the first time in history. Additionally, President Obama would also have sufficient funds for many months after the debt ceiling is reached to pay the military, NIH, veterans and Social Security beneficiaries. Only if he decides, in his discretion, to not pay old age, child survivors, and disabled benefits would those “obligations” be in some sort of other-defined “default”. Much as President Obama is solely responsible for determining that U.S. Army grocers, WWII memorials and military pay is not “essential”, but that Obamacare exchange navigators are.

The Party of Lincoln and Reagan are winning the government shutdown just now, as many of us have insisted they could, despite the nervous nellies in the GOP surrender caucus that live with the myth that then-Speaker Newt Gingrich lost the 1995-6 shutdown-showdowns with then-President Bill Clinton. Republicans held the House for a decade after that so-called “loss”.

Given the 21-hour Ted Cruz un-filibuster and the backbone Boehner has shown since, this tea partier envisions our next shutdown-showdown “loss” as an-anti-Obamacare return to the majority in the Senate after the 2014 mid-term election.

Mr. Speaker, stay the course…please.

Mike DeVine‘s Right.com

“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson

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