The Senate is ending the government shutdown. By the time you read this, the Senate will likely have voted on a bill to fund the government through January 15 of next year and to raise the Federal debt limit until February 7. The only GOP “win” in the Senate bill involves new requirements that Obamacare buyers seeking government subsidies must prove their qualifications by demonstrating low income.
With a House vote expected later in the evening, President Barack Obama is expected to sign off on the bill before the Thursday debt limit “deadline,” as forecast by the U.S. Treasury.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is not expected to delay or attempt to amend whatever the Senate is passing. “We fought the good fight; we just didn’t win,” he said Wednesday on a Cincinnati radio show. “There’s no reason for our members to vote ‘no’ today,” he said later.
Boehner’s full capitulation comes just a day after House Republicans attempted to counter the Senate bill by cobbling together their own last-minute plan before realizing the votes to see it through simply weren’t there.
Even Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who had stood firm against the debt limit deal unless Congress voted to defund Obamacare, stood aside Wednesday to allow the Senate to expedite a vote – even though Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) cannot bring the measure before the full Senate for consideration today without unanimous consent.
Judging from conservative comments across the internet, there’s a great deal of ambivalence among Republicans as to whether Cruz is to be praised or blamed for his role in the shutdown debate – including Wednesday’s go-along.
On one hand, Cruz mobilized whatever conservative support might have been latent among Congressional GOP leaders and their constituents. He did strike early and often – when tapping into public opinion to defund Obamacare and pressuring Congress to listen to the people’s will would have mattered. He had little GOP support, as the ensuing weeks proved.
On the other hand, there’s no denying that Cruz kept up his tough talk while dialing down his walk, once it became clear that he and Mike Lee (and maybe Rand Paul) were becoming an increasingly isolated three-man army within their own party’s Senate bloc. He or Lee or anyone could filibuster today’s Senate vote and bide more time for leveraged compromise, if leveraged compromise were in the offing.
But the majority of spineless Senate Republicans simply wouldn’t sit at Cruz’ table. A unified pushback against the Democrats never stood a chance of coming together from the balkanized ranks of Republican Senators.
And it’s important to remember there’s little gain in vilifying the few Congressmen who put up a principled fight, when the entire charade was perpetrated from the far left. If Obama and Reid and lock-step Democrats weren’t hell-bent on borrowing more money – Obamacare concessions be damned – there would never have been a fight between the GOP-controlled House and the Democratic-controlled Senate in the first place.
Instead, we’re on track to make debt-ceiling history once again. Now that Obama and the Dems have carte blanche, we should be ticking past the $17 trillion threshold any day now.