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October 16, 2013 08:31 AM UTC

This Is What Broken Government Looks Like

  • by: Colorado Pols

UPDATE #2: Washington Post:

"We've been locked into a fight over here, trying to bring government down to size, trying to do our best to stop Obamacare," Boehner said. "We fought the good fight; we just didn't win."

Boehner also said he would "absolutely" allow a vote on the Senate plan even if a majority of House Republicans don't support the bill.


UPDATE: ThinkProgress on the terms of the deal about to be approved by the United States Senate:

After shutting down the government for three weeks, Republicans appear to have secured just one concession from a Senate-crafted deal to raise the debt ceiling and re-open the federal government: an income verification system for individuals who earn above 400 percent of the federal poverty line and qualify for premium and cost-sharing subsidies under the Affordable Care Act.

Under the emerging agreement, when subsidies begin to flow on Jan. 1, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will have to certify that the department has established an income verification system as part of the eligibility process. Six months later, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Inspector General (OIG) will conduct a more comprehensive audit of the program. It was not immediately clear what changes the Department would have to make before certification.

In other words, not very damn much for the GOP to claim victory with.


Reps. Cory Gardner, Mike Coffman, Scott Tipton, and Doug Lamborn.
Reps. Cory Gardner, Mike Coffman, Scott Tipton, and Doug Lamborn.


In the end, it wasn’t only hard-line GOP conservatives that sank Speaker John Boehner’s plan to reopen the federal government and lift the $16.7 trillion debt limit.

The Ohio Republican, battered from three years of intra-party battles, was caught between at least three different GOP factions as he tried to craft a compromise agreement: Republicans who didn’t want to slash government health care contributions for Capitol Hill aides, members who thought repealing the medical device tax was a giveaway to corporate America and conservatives, who thought Republican leaders were too soft on Obamacare.

Boehner was unable to craft a deal that would satisfy all of the groups, forcing him to shelve his plan and show the world — again — just how hard it is for him to rule the raucous House Republican Conference.

Reportedly, GOP House leadership did not even attempt a whip count to gauge support for their latest "offer" to reopen the government, which included nonstarters like the repeal of the Affordable Care Act's medical device tax, and were dismayed to learn they didn't have the votes to pass it. The medical device tax has been floated a few times in negotiations with Democrats, but in each case it has come off the table as too great a concession. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's negotiations with Republican leader Mitch McConnell are once again on the front burner–a deal that will contain far less in the way of concessions to Republicans. It's an unknown whether House Speaker John Boehner will allow that bill a floor vote, though it would likely pass with mostly Democratic support in the form presently described.

Boehner's failure to pass a bill articulating a clear Republican position, with only hours remaining before the ongoing GOP-engineered fiscal crisis dramatically worsens with the expiration of the nation's borrowing authority, lays bare the enormous political disaster this situation has become for the Republican Party. The tactic of shutting down the government and threatening to default on the nation's credit obligations, over a law passed three years ago and upheld by the Supreme Court, was never considered legitimate by the public. As the shutdown wore on, vulnerable Republicans like Colorado's Rep. Mike Coffman tried to publicly back away, but couldn't ultimately do so while simultaneously maintaining the party line in Washington, DC. And now, each successive poll shows the public turning more lopsidedly against Republicans.

Today, Boehner can't even get the House Republicans who brought us to this moment to pass a bill. They can't agree on what they want in order to end the crisis the voting public believes they manufactured, but we now wait with the government shut for over two weeks, and default around the corner, for them to figure it out. Or agree to what grownups in the Senate cobble together to let them save face. Or go home and cry to their local "Tea Party." Or whatever. We're not sure how you describe what's happening, but it's the antonym of the word "leadership."

What they need to do most, either on their own or with voters' help next November, is get out of the way.


17 thoughts on “This Is What Broken Government Looks Like

  1. As far as I'm concerned it's a natural result of having no inclination to ,or competence for, actual governance.When you wish only to rule these are the sorts of petards one finds oneself hoist with.

    1. Just as soon as some sensible Republicans start getting elected out of those gerrymandered nutbag enclaves . . . ??

      Just as soon as a few Republicans start to realize what a fucking numbskull —  their 1980's Ronald Reagan really was (and what damage his "government is the problem" meme unleashed) . . . ??

      When lizards grow tits . . . ??

      1. I think this whole episode exposes the fact that Boehner is more exposed on his left flank than his right. all it takes is 18 Republicans to jump ship and Boehner is a goner. 

    2. AJB, the only thing Ifear is that boehner's the most pragmatic republican in the House. I do believe the devil we don't know would be worse.

      And they have to get rid of HR368. More than anything else, that turd in the punch bowl allmost sank the Federal Government.

  2. This whole fiasco is revealing how the Republican Party is becoming increasingly irrelevant, as they are unable to get anything of substance in negotiations with the WH and Senate.  They would be better off letting the nation go into a planned default this year rather than a much more cataclysmic default a few years hence when we're in the same condition as Greece.  

    1. Haven't seen the Greece bogeyman argument for a while particularly since the deficit is projected to decline by over $400 billion this year but now that Republicans have thrown a wrench into the recovery I guess it's OK to talk about austerity being all the rage again.  Or it could be just more BS by clueless people.

  3. Let's not forget:

    1) Mike Coffman was like a mischievous child who pulled the fire alarm and smiled whiled everyone fled the building.  Then, when he got heat from the Aurora Sentinel, he said he'd like the crisis to end, but did absolutely nothing concrete, like sign a discharge petition, to end the madness.  Someone here said the commercials against Coffman will write themselves.  Perhaps the above analogy would work. (I'd like to see an old, bald guy dressed in schoolboy attire like Angus Young from AC/DC play the role of Coffman.)

    2) The Republican War on Christmas.  One of the GOP's proposals was to end the shutdown — until, December 15.  Ten days before Christmas.

    That would have been a real War on Christmas, directly affecting over 800,000 federal workers and the ancillary effects on millions of businesses and the entire US economy.  Ten days before Christmas.

    Will this attack end the fake War on Christmas waged on Fox News this year?  We can only hope.

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!


    1. I'm getting ads against Coffman in Spanish all the time now.  Roughtly translated:  Extreme extremist, bad for education, bad for families and bad for jobs.  I like them.  Google used to think I was a Republican.  Now Google thinks I'm a Spanish speaking Dem.  A huge improvement.

      Great post, you told us so.

  4. Disgusted.

    How ridiculous that we keep tying weights to our body and not realize that we’ll eventually drown and die. Our debt is outrageous, and ObamaCare may just be the anvil that takes us to the bottom of the ocean. That may sound dramatic, but it’s just true. What’s going on right now is historic and horrifying.

    Where are the patriots that we need? Who will fight to insure our liberty and financial security? Americans don’t want ObamaCare, so the one silver bullet we had to stop or slow it down is replaced with a pop gun.

    When the going gets tough the weenies hand over their buns. When it gets hot in the kitchen the pansies cry into their aprons.

    Obama and ObamaCare will ruin this country if someone doesn’t take a stand. This is the worst president with the worst policies in our history. Now he’s pledging to work on immigration reform. Unfortunately, amnesty for illegal aliens will likely be his next goal in which case we might as well all join Richard Branson and move to an island somewhere.

    1. n3b — suck on this:

      Part of what undergirded Democratic unity went beyond a (correct) calculation that it would be dangerous to pay any ransom at all. Democrats seemed to share a genuine moral revulsion at the tactics and audacity of a party that had lost a presidential election by 5 million votes, lost another chance to win a favorable Senate map, and lost the national House vote demanding the winning party give them its way without compromise.

      Probably the single biggest Republican mistake was in failing to understand the way its behavior would create unity in the opposing party. Not until the very end, when the crisis was well under way, did any conservatives even acknowledge the Democratic view that the GOP had threatened basic governing norms. Ted Cruz and his minions may have undertaken a hopeless crusade, but they dragged along the Paul Ryan Republicans who all along seemed to think their extortion scheme was a simple business deal. Its collapse is one of the brightest days Washington has seen in a grim era.

  5. So I walk into work this morning and I'm immediately over-loaded. A couple of critical meetings and we have a show-stopper issue on getting the next build out. Non-stop work till a little bit ago.

    So I missed it all. Started work with nothing happening in Washington. Check in and it's all solved. The economy was not held hostage to legislation a minority wanted. And n3b is despondent. All in all, a great day for the country!

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