Republicans Recalibrate Their Asking Price to End Shutdown

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Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

Representative Paul Ryan and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor on October 1, 2013.

With a week left until the debt crisis hits zero hour, Republicans want to talk—but about what?

The fiscal battles roiling the country have become so tangled, as the government shutdown merges into a deadline to increase the debt ceiling, that not only is a solution nowhere in sight, but the players that provoked the fight can’t even agree on the problem. In recent days, the conservative crusade to gut Barack Obama’s healthcare law has been superseded by a fresh push to enact fiscal reforms.

The switch reflects the widespread belief among Republican Congressional leaders and party strategists that the GOP puts itself on firmer political footing by making familiar fiscal priorities, such as cutting spending and reforming wobbly entitlement programs, the centerpiece of its asking price to reopen the government and increase U.S. borrowing authority.

It also represents an admission that shuttering the government in a doomed bid to defund Obamacare is beginning to boomerang on the party. The strategy, championed by Senate conservatives like Ted Cruz and a passel of Tea Party congressman, has “failed miserably,” says Representative Charlie Dent, a moderate Republican from Pennsylvania.

Senior House Republicans seem to agree, though they would never outright say so. On Wednesday, two top House conservatives—Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, and former Republican vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan—published op-eds in leading newspapers urging Obama to negotiate with the House GOP. Ryan outlined a list of proposals on which the two sides might find common ground, while Cantor assailed the President for his refusal to negotiate. But both pieces were less notable for what they said than for what they didn’t. Ryan did not mention Obamacare, the law over which House Republicans shut down the government. Cantor did so only once, and that was to note that it was just one of many factors at play in the long-building stalemate.

The shift back to fiscal matters makes sense for Republicans, who were able to extract roughly $2 trillion in spending cuts during the 2011 debt ceiling battle. The GOP maintains an advantage with voters on fiscal issues, though the issue has become less important to the public over the last two years as the domestic economic picture brightens. But many of the movement conservatives who picked the fight over Obamacare aren’t ready to let the issue drop.

“We’d give the speaker some flexibility on a short-term debt limit increase to keep the focus where it should be, which is on Obamacare,” Heritage Action CEO Mike Needham told reporters Wednesday morning at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor. “But any CR that doesn’t address Obamacare is something that we’d be very strongly against.”

As the twin fiscal crises begin to bleed together a week before the debt ceiling deadline, some Republicans are fighting to keep them separate. “We lose everything if we merge the continuing resolution and debt ceiling fights,” writes RedState’s Erick Erickson. “The only path to victory in this shutdown is to keep our fire on Obamacare and our focus on the defunding effort. . . . As long as the conversation stays on the debt ceiling, we are not talking about the deeply unpopular Obamacare.”

The convergence of the crises has been driven by the White House, which is trying to tighten the screws on Republicans by tying the painful government shutdown to the potentially catastrophic consequences of a government default. Obama weeks ago branded a failure to raise the debt limit an “economic shutdown,” employing the same phrasing to help push the fiscal fights together. Rolling the two fights together could solve both at once, rather than allow the GOP to try to extract concessions over each individually.

The additional pressure could help Republicans extricate themselves from a dicey political spot. House Speaker John Boehner has the unenviable task of trying to steer his party toward a plausible settlement without inflaming restive backbenchers who are determined to go to the mat on an unwinnable Obamacare.  At least publicly, Boehner is keeping the pressure on both fights. “On the CR, we’re still fighting to reopen the government and fairness for all Americans under Obamacare,” Boehner spokesman Michael Steel wrote in an email to TIME. “On the debt limit is where we’re looking for spending cuts and reforms.”

With reporting by Alex Rogers

98 comments
billbear1961
billbear1961

"The convergence of the crises has been driven by the White House, which is trying to tighten the screws on Republicans by tying the painful government shutdown to the potentially catastrophic consequences of a government default."

Break their traitorous backs, Mr. President!



j45ashton
j45ashton

This is really the Republican party in its death throes.  Not because it deserves to die as an opposition party but because  it is locked in the past and the world is moving on.

You might recall that Tea Party activism really started over TARP.  But then came Obamacare and that really grew the Tea Party ranks because of GOP organizing behind the scenes.  The big money organizers behind the Tea Party are from the South and they don't care about TARP.   But they care about the ACA because it changes their positions and their homes culturally from states that often try to act independently (like they're a part of a confederation) to states that are a part of a program that fundamentally binds us together as a nation.  The Emancipation proclamation didn't do it, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 didn't do it, but Obamacare will do it because it's a matter of health & self-economic interest that gives us all incentive to benefit and set aside the past

StevePurnell
StevePurnell

I'd like to see the Republican Party pick up the tab for this inexcusable lapse in ethics, timing, leadership and integrity.  Why should the bill go to taxpayers, let the Republican party pay, then jail the traitors who set this up.

ChristopherErwinHogan
ChristopherErwinHogan

What the Republicans want is a nation full of simpletons who will continue to vote against their own interests.  If they can't have that, then they at least want to ignore every election since George W. Bush left office.

angelj4949
angelj4949

THE INCONVENIENT TRUTH: You want to increase our Country’s national debt without spending more money? Answer: Shut the US Govt and not raise the debt ceiling and threaten not to pay our nations bills! Result: Our Credit worthiness is now in question internationally by banks so our interest rates will rise to increase our debt that we must pay. So these leaderless, clueless Tea Party morons whose business has been only to obstruct to put our democracy at financial risk to tank our economy to create another job loss recession.

drudown
drudown

If society is a wave,

Unfounded lies and greed-driven needs

Manifest in malfeasance and impeachable offense

And if injury to the People abides

It must be cured by our Founding Fathers’

Separation of Powers mechanism

To thwart any form- or pull- of Tyranny.

Western Civilization lives in a Ying Yang embrace

With our Eastern partners, sons and daughters

As humanity is a single genome or “race”

Though we differ in mere color and morphology.

Despite the proffered “ideological” justification:

The Speaker of the House

Is no more above the law than you or me.

Never before has the Nation been so unapologetically

Betrayed by a single political party.

By a deliberate “shut down” predicated on coercion

Via a ‘Legislative Veto’ that everyone knows

Contravenes the express language of the Constitution.

For the Speaker of the House

To expressly and unequivocally

Engage in the unlawful ‘Anticipatory Repudiation’

In the manner already done is,

By the orbit of duty and foreseeability of harm

To the People of the United States and all Treasury holders

A High Crime

And impeachable if done by the Speaker

Particularly here

Because of collusion and being planned pre-meditatively.

Playing “dumb” as it unfolds doesn’t mean the GOP

Is not being played and merely bought

With Foreign Super-PAC money.

What is the point of laws already engraved on the Constitution

And therefore taught

As legal authority

If the very protections against such coercive Tyranny

Aren’t even acknowledged by the “conservative” Media

Much less the legal justifications addressed by fellow members of Congress

Or the Independent Judiciary?

Enjoining the Speaker’s conduct thus harming the strategic,

Diplomatic and military interests of the State and People

That the Congress has a Fiduciary Duty to advance

There’s simply no chance

That pre-meditation of impugning

The credit rating of the United States

Does not open the proverbial door investigating

All that touch and concerns or relates

To subversion of the Social Contract by the House

By the Supreme Court and Executive branch.

The Constitution is the Absolute Law of the Land.

What part of the ACA passing through three branches of government

Does your Foreign puppeteer not understand?

Nor does the law of Judicial Estoppel

Allow a party such as the Speaker to argue a position

Only to flip flop on “strict construction”

In an attempt to weaken and topple

Our system of government

With abiding Faith in the solemn duty to follow legal precedent

Our Supreme Court will hold

That the Legislative process has become defiled

By a “secret” cache of disguised payments

To plan and effectuate the harmful  “default” and imaginary “debt ceiling” misery

Purchased with vast amounts of Foreign gold

O Angel, this “shutdown” harms the strategic interests

Of the People and Social Contract giving the Speaker

Any such imaginary, self-perceived discretion

To pour acid or Hemlock over our Constitution

This abrogation of lawful duties under Article I, Section 8 constitute a dereliction

Of Congress’ plenary authority

To raise the necessary revenue

And collect unrealized taxes on illegal donations from Foreign Governments

That are lawfully due

To the State that grants the corporate fiction

And any Subject Matter Jurisdiction

To try your naked Treason

If not before a Court and sword

Merely here

In your ear

And in the Court of Public Opinion.

I dissent.

“Your idol is shattered in the dust to prove that God’s dust is greater than your idol.” – Rabindranath Tagore

j45ashton
j45ashton

Wait.  Don't worry,  They're going to meet & discuss now.  Yeah...dat's nice.  They're meeting to discuss things 'cause they never discussed  these things before 'cause of the democrats.  And really...those democrats...you can't trust  them 'cause...'cause....oh, wait, wait.  Check out this link to a clip from the Jon Stewart show.  Can't be but maybe something about the Republicans just don't smell right: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNMWh_m2mtQ


Paul,nnto
Paul,nnto

So the end game becomes BHO agreeing to "serious conversations" and the Weakest Speaker in History and the republicans can claim victory.


dunedweller
dunedweller

“But any CR that doesn’t address Obamacare is something that we’d be very strongly against.”  – Heritage Action CEO Mike Needham

The TeaPublican leader has spoken.

ChrisWyman
ChrisWyman

No one has any idea what any of this is about. Obamacare sucks and no one likes it.

ChesterMarx
ChesterMarx

We are engaged in 2 wars, and have put that cost on our "charge card", and now we're threatening to quit paying.  Should there be a test for holding public office?

romano70
romano70

Hey Mr President, NOW, during the republican retreat is exactly when you hit them. Now, at their weakest! Show NO MERCY, and treat the conservative movement like the traitors they are to our country...they need to know, especially the Tea Party that they are TWO INCHES away from being on constitutional grounds to be declared traitors and EXECUTED

HudsonValleyTim
HudsonValleyTim

I'm just wondering...with whom is the ACA ("Obamacare") "deeply unpopular"?  I have a healthcare plan through my employer, and would theoretically be the one to be unhappy with it (as I already get health coverage as a benefit).  However, I am very pleased with the provision that allows me to keep my daughters on my insurance until they turn 25.  This provision allowed my daughter to stay in-school until she got her master's degree, contributing to the creation of a higher-informed workforce.  Without this provision, she would have been forced to either buy COBRA at exhorbitant rates, or become uninsured...using the local emergency room for any medical care (at great cost to the public).

It seems that the people most-opposed to the ACA are low-informed voters anyway, who would naturally be opposed to the very provision that allowed my kid to continue receiving health insurance while pursuing an advanced degree.

pbgd
pbgd

Republicans now expect to be rewarded for opening up the government they shut down. 

Republicans cannot expect to obtain surreptitiously by extortion what the voters denied them in the election.

jsfox
jsfox

We are shutting down the government because we want Obamacare repealed! No wait that's not it. We are shutting down the government because we want to defund Obamacare! No wait that's not it. We are shutting down the government because we want to delay Obamacare!, No wait that's not it. We are shutting down the government because of out-of-control spending! Yup that's it! 


What the deficit has been cut in half and Obama has already agreed to our spending levels? Hmm well we have decided to move the goal posts . . . yet again and we want to cut more! So we are shutting down the government. 


Dear President Obama -


Would you please tell these fiscal morons and frauds to please go pound sand.


Thanks ever so much

Thinking America




SDj
SDj

I'm wondering if the Tea Party will allow the Republican leadership to redirect the negotiations away from Obamacare. Here's an explanation of the Tea Party obsession with Obamacare:http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/10/08/the-left-thinks-business-controls-the-republican-party-theyre-wrong/

"The refrain we heard all over the country is I don't recognize what America is becoming. Our country is being taken away from us. At the grass roots it’s a fear of a changing society. Obama personally and Obamacare generally are seen as symbols of that change. That’s part of why people get so worked up about the health-care law."



RicardoRivera
RicardoRivera

The GOP retreat from blackmailing begins. President still wont allow the GOP blackmailers to set up the board leaving him only to agree sorry not happening even if they finally giving up their attack on the new healthcare law! In the end if it wasn't Obamacare it be something else the GOP would blackmail us with. If we haven't learned anything when it comes to the GOP we have learned that every approach they have taken since the president took office has been the unfair way.  They all about taking and adding suffering to people outside their circles so they can not be trusted! All this shows is they giving in and are trying to find a way to do it without offending their tea party puppeteers. They have less than a week to end this shutdown!

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

The business interests that control the GOP have swatted them on the nose and told them to stop jeopardizing profits. Now the GOP just needs to get control of the Tea Party Jihadists.

RicardoRivera
RicardoRivera

GOP retreat begins! I swear these people just enjoy lying and are like the energize bunny they can't stop with the bull! I say keep letting them go down the rabbit hole because, in the end we will have the power over the process by we I mean any one for equality. This sadly has to happen for what's to come. It doesn't surprise me one bit how crazy the GOP is and they chose this path when they realized their monopoly with in government is coming to an end. We just have to stay strong, counter the lies with truth and remember time is not our enemy it's theirs.

Hollywooddeed
Hollywooddeed

When I saw the picture of that little twerp Paul Ryan at the top of the article, I knew this was gonna be good.

tommyudo
tommyudo

Repealing Obamacare was always a smoke screen that was   doomed to failure. The real plan (The Ryan Plan) here is not to “reform” SS, Medicare and Medicaid, but to gut them as much as they can. Obama can choose to do what he did in 2011 and go along by saying “reform” can be negotiable, or he can show some heretofore unseen fortitude (like get a backbone) and tell the GOP to find cuts elsewhere, such as the DOD and cut the subsidies to the oil and gas industry, as well as the other goodies that are given to their corporate donors. If Obama gives in to entitlement reform then he has proven himself to be totally useless. The 1% can afford the cuts, whereby the 99% can't.

ThomasHall
ThomasHall

Having failed to extort the repeal, de-funding, or delay (to kill later) of the ACA, the House GOP are trying to push further Romney-Ryan budgetary programs that the American electorate rejected in 2012 despite their campaign run entirely on outright lies, misinformation, or vague budgetary proposals and fueled by millions of conservative special interest money. Where have these GOP "regulars" been as their freshman baggy spawn like Cruz, Paul, etc. hijacked the GOP? Did they think that after all the enormous time,effort and uphill battles to approve the ACA and finally bring it into operation that Democrats and the President would simply walk away and submit to the GOP bullies who always put partisan politics ahead of the country? 

The GOP's racist hatred of the President and their obsession to block, water-down, or de-fund everything the President and Democrats have tried to accomplish has resulted in an all-time record of 430+ blocked bills, blocked presidential appointments, and 60-vote super majorities that blocked legislation that the majority of Americans want like sensible gun legislation--so much for listening to the American people, 70% of which also opposed using the government shutdown as a bargaining tactic. The GOP once again have painted themselves into a corner while hurting the American people and our economy. Notice how the GOP have not created jobs but repeatedly have cost jobs as they did with the steep sequester cuts. By now, even the dullest, most bigoted working class GOPeon should realize that the GOP has historically NEVER represented the working class.

jmac
jmac

@dunedweller The Koch brothers and the Chamber of Commerce are saying something different.  This is one confused party.  

Antidot_Nyarlat
Antidot_Nyarlat

They should be regarded as "Terrorists" and be droned. The "Tea Party" is obviously a Taliban sleeper cell. ;)

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@ChrisWyman Sure it does, that is why the GOP is panicked about how people will vote after they see its benefits.

demz.taters
demz.taters

@ChrisWyman You could tell how much Americans hated it by the way they overwhelmingly voted for the guy who promised to repeal it. Oh wait...

JanetLeClainche
JanetLeClainche

@ChrisWyman I know people who like: no caps on lifetime or annual medical costs, keeping their kids on their policies till 26 (through higher ed), no pre-existing condition denial, women's health covered, routine checkups and screenings covered.  What don't YOU like?  I also like the fact that my medical coverage (me and spouse) went DOWN this year.  What don't YOU like?  Oh I guess the fact that you HAVE to buy coverage now instead of relying on the community to cover your unexpected accident or illness while you declare medical bankruptcy.  Just sayin'...

judg2101
judg2101

@ChrisWyman "No one"?  I guess you mean by that "no one in your bubble".  I personally know 25 families that love it.

jsfox
jsfox

@ChrisWyman Come on Chris you must be able to give me something resembling a fact.

jmac
jmac

@ChrisWyman  It's true that Republicans have no idea that this is about not funding Obamacare and shutting down the government in order not to fund it . . . 

when the leadership refuses to tell them that Obamacare is financed  by its own appropriations and "will continue unimpeded."   Ignorance is bliss.  

jsfox
jsfox

@ChrisWyman No one? Well thats is blatantly not true. 

However please enlighten us to what is wrong with it. Facts please not speculation.

tom.litton
tom.litton

@HudsonValleyTim First a small correction:  If you are getting insurance through your employer nothing changes, and therefore you shouldn't care one way or the other.

Second, a large percentage of those against obamacare are misinformed.  However, there are some people that do get screwed:

Young people that either have no insurance or a lower class insurance.  They will be required to get a reasonable amount of insurance now, and it will be more expensive (although less then what was expected).  I'm sure there are those that dislike being forced to by insurance regardless of the circumstances. 

Part time workers have that have seen their hours cut to get them under the 36(?) hours per week that would require the employers to provide insurance.  Not only do they have to purchase it for themselves now, but they also earn less.

Rich people who may see their taxes rise on their current ubber insurance plans.

However, it helps far more people then it hurts.  I for one am glad i don't have to worry about per-existing conditions in the future anymore.

hummingbird
hummingbird

@ThomasHall This pertains to your last two sentences. It indeed baffles us that there are many poor and middle class Americans who support the GOP. I think it's hopeless at this point to expect them to see the light. They wear bigoted-rimmed glasses. They can't see that the GOP drives us into recessions constantly. They can't see that their red states are poorer and lesser educated than the blue states. I've seen some reports about how poor many of them are in the South and Midwest yet they continually vote for the GOP that does nothing for them.

The rest of us will just have to do our part to make sure the GOP doesn't regain the WH. We also need them to lose the House so that America can prosper once again.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@ThomasHall Do not use the race card, i doubt this is a race issue, and if it is it would be Obama who is the racist. 

barneydidit
barneydidit

@jsfox @ChrisWyman It's Marxist...yeah...that's it...it's Marxist and....hold on a second my sound just went out on Fox News. 

judg2101
judg2101

@tom.litton @HudsonValleyTim 

You yourself said that young people are now required to get a "reasonable amount of insurance"...that is exactly right and how it should be.  When young people do not buy insurance and get in an auto accident, who pays for that?  WE ALL DO. In higher premiums and paying for state hospitals.  How is it a Conservative value to encourage people to not get insurance and basically encourage them to be freeloaders? 

As for your part-time talking point, that has been proven to be false.  Companies are regularly cutting hours and when looking at the historical trends, today is no different than what is normal.

mjshep
mjshep

@tom.litton @HudsonValleyTim @tom.litton@HudsonValleyTim I also agree with your points, but with one caveat - As regards the young people who either have no insurance or really crappy policies, for most of them the cost of a plan under the ACA after subsidies will be significantly less than their cell phone bill. A small price to pay, especially if you drive a motorcycle! And they're not "forced to buy insurance, but if they are foolish enough to go uninsured they face a penalty.  No jail time.  They also face the prospect of bankruptcy if they do need expensive medical care.


HudsonValleyTim
HudsonValleyTim

@tom.litton @HudsonValleyTim 

I agree with your points...but mine is that I, as an upper-middle class wage earner will be shouldering extra costs of universal health insurance.  But, as you also indicate, there is enough of a benefit to me that I still win.  Never mind that the current health-insurance model is a perfect example of a 2-class system in this country...those who can afford healthcare, and those who cannot.

tommyudo
tommyudo

@allthingsinaname 


I'm taking a "wait and see" attitude. I have a small minutiae of hope that he and the Dems stand strong this time around. If not, then we can expect more of the same spinelessness when Hillary eneters the WH, even more so, imo.

ThomasHall
ThomasHall

@Openminded1 @ThomasHall If you fail to see the exception obstructionist and unreasoning hatred that has been aimed at the President since 2008, the birthers, the references to Kenya, the questioned legitimacy, all the race-baiting talk by the GOP and primary candidates and Fox News and conservatives demagogues, the "food-stamp president" the Romney campaign big lie that Pres. Obama was doing away with the work requirement in the Welfare to Work program, or that blacks and Hispanics only voted for Pres. Obama because he was giving them handouts, etc. 

The GOP are unAmerican and unpatriotic since they always put partisan politics ahead of the country and though they love wrapping themselves in the American flag, few have ever served in the military or served their God or country in any way. They are indeed racist, or bigoted if you prefer, since they only care about those in their 90% white party on the wrong side of demographics and morality. 

The GOP has caused most of the problems that America and working class Americans face today--from the crippling National Debt, which was less than $800 billion through Carter, to the deregulated banks and the Phil Gramm legislation that enabled the subprime mortgage bankster fraud that took down our economy, left the bulk of the unpaid-for bills from previous GOP administrations, and have killed and wounded most US and Coalition soldiers since Vietnam based upon lies, arrogance, incompetence, and greed. Think the GOP are soul-searching, introspective, altruistic, truly spiritual people? Their actions speak for themselves. The GOP Greed On Parade folks will drag their dull GOPeon supporters down with them, no amount of GOP spin or burdening wealth will help them. We all get what we deserve in the end. 

ARTRaveler
ARTRaveler

You meant the FAUX Comedy Channel?????

tom.litton
tom.litton

@HudsonValleyTim @tom.litton Yes, i thought you were for it.  I just think it's important to be honest about the consequences of policy (both negative and positive) when discussing it.  

I also feel that it's important to admit to the valid points the other side brings up, otherwise they tend not to even listen to your points. 

Openminded1
Openminded1

@greyngold @Openminded1 @Hollywooddeed Well I still do not know where you stand, you will need to spell it out a little more. I also think you do not know where I really stand, I can not speak for Hollywood dog. I will also tell you that everyone has opinions,they are like rear ends, everyone has one, only some are better then others.

ThomasHall
ThomasHall

@Openminded1 @ThomasHall Openairminded--I am white, been working for 43 since college, the Virginia Military Institute, served as an USAF Social Actions helping service personnel, have a MSJ, 12 years with the AP, KRTN, UPI and newspapers, and work as an employment specialist helping veterans, and inner-city poor in Baltimore and, no, I have never been on welfare or even qualify for all the Bush bribery tax cuts that add daily to our National Debt that the GOP suddenly after 40 years have noticed they created.

The GOP are beyond racist. They care about nobody but themselves. Attend college, serve in the military, serve your God or country in any way.

mjshep
mjshep

@Openminded1 @ThomasHall Well, chew on this, "Openminded1," I feel pretty much the way Thomas Hall does, and it seems to me a lot of GOP derangement towards Obama,  especially the whole crazy birther issue, stems from the fact that he is - at least- half black and also a Democrat and therefore illegitimate, regardless of two overwhelming electoral victories. 

And I'm white, just like mom and dad were.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@ThomasHall @Openminded1 Well everyone knows how you feel about the GOP. I have a question for you, are you black? when you answer I will have a response for you to help enlighten you.