Eric Cantor is always looking for new and imaginative ways to screw conservatives. He has Pete Sessions (R-TX), as Rules Chairman, helping him with his latest creative way to screw conservatives. I've already well documented Pete Sessions's increasingly bitter attitude toward Ted Cruz and staggering contempt of his own constituents who want to defund Obamacare.
Cantor and Sessions' latest idea tops even his most absurd shenanigans. The plan is to pass the real CR that fully funds Obamacare, then pass a fake bill that defunds Obamacare. The Senate will pass the CR, and throw the defunding bill in the garbage. But, Cantor and Session’s theory is that conservatives are so stupid that they will clap like trained seals at the fake bill, and meanwhile not notice that the House just fully funded Obamacare.
Let me break down their plan for you. House leadership will pass a continuing resolution in the House. It will fund Obamacare. Cantor and Sessions will also make sure a separate resolution to defund Obamacare gets passed that would amend the CR to defund Obamacare if the Senate votes for it, which they of course will not. These two separate votes will be combined with great fan fare to make it look like House Republicans are voting for a CR that defunds Obamacare. But the Senate will pass the CR that funds Obamacare, sending it to the President, and ignore the defund resolution.
Obamacare will be fully funded, but the GOP will get to tell its voters that it supported defunding Obamacare. Yes, they did. But only because they rigged the defunding effort to fail. This is a head pat to conservatives designed to screw them and the nation at a time more and more Americans are seeing employers shove them to part time work, cutting spousal benefits, or refusing insurance altogether because of Obamacare.
Consequently, conservatives need to rally immediately for House conservatives to vote against the rule on this. Outside groups need to make clear they will score against any rule that does this.
In 2011, the same procedure was used to satisfy promises Obama, Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) had agreed to in the course of averting another shutdown that spring. On a 53-47 vote, the Senate rejected the resolution to defund health care reform. Shortly after, on a more bipartisan 81-19 basis, the funding resolution passed and went to Obama.
The arrangement allows all sides to express themselves, but it surrenders the shutdown leverage that some conservatives hunger for. And given the uncertain support from House Democrats, Boehner could be forced to go further to the right and commit the bill outright to defunding health care reform.
See that — it allows conservatives to get it off their chest without really doing jack. It's the hug it out strategy.
They don't really want to pick a fight. They were hoping to use the Syrian mess as a way to get leverage against the President on delaying a part of Obamacare. But given the way the Syrian mess is collapsing and Republicans are opposing it on their own, Cantor and Boehner's leverage has gone away.
Now they've got to fall back and at least make a show of it.
Much like the other 30 symbolic votes to end Obamacare, they will again vote symbolically to end it, but have no intention of actually fighting to defund it.
This will be a head pat for conservatives. They'll get another symbolic vote, the GOP will work behind the scenes with Democrats to scrap it, then a clean continuing resolution will go forward. Obamacare will be funded because Eric Cantor, Pete Sessions, and John Boehner have given up the fight.