I know that sometimes “good news is hard to find”, but this is getting ridiculous. Politico.com is reporting that Mark Meaows (R-Teahadistan), the Grand Exalted Poobah of the House Freedom Caucus, came out of a closed door meeting with House Speaker Paul Ryan and said that they’re nearing agreement on the mechanics of a short term Cr to fund the government. His statement itself was rather revealing. According to Politico;
“I think the real focus for all of us is tax reform and getting tax reform done,” Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said exiting the meeting. “That was the crux of the conversation we had today: that we gotta get across the finish line on tax reform. Any distraction from that is a problem.”
The old adage is that “You can’t lay down until the money is on the dresser”, and apparently at this point, the House Republicans are willing to take the risk of stealing money from their wife’s purse to get into this particular bed.
The rift between the two sides was not minor. Ryan wanted a short term extension that ended on December 22nd, when members would be scheduled to already be home on their holiday break. Meadows and the Freedom caucus wanted an extension that ran until December 30th. Their reasoning was that getting the extension past Christmas would somehow or other remove some Democratic leverage on the deal. This was the whole reason behind the Freedom caucus power play in almost capsizing the vote to appoint a tax committee slate. But apparently Meadows is on the verge of caving to a shorter term extension, in order to hopefully get taxes through the committee and voted on in the next two weeks.
It is so adorable watching the House Republicans sometimes. It’s like sitting and watching six year olds in the back yard, running around the yard with dish towels tied around their necks, thinking their Superman or something. But, just like your six year old, they’re forgetting one little thing. Reality.
The GOP is ignoring one little fact. It doesn’t really matter if they come to an agreement in the House or not, and it doesn’t matter if it’s a two week or a four week, or a six week extension, they’re going to need Democratic votes. The GOP couldn’t even scratch their 7 year itch by overturning Obamacare by themselves. Even if they managed to get their shit sufficiently together in the house, which is doubtful because not every deficit hawk in the House is aligned with the Freedom caucus, the Democrats in the Senate can derail the bill with a filibuster. The Democrats, not the Republicans hold the upper hand here.
And don’t think that “Chuck and Nancy” don’t know it. This is the reason they were able to blow off last weeks meeting with Trump, Ryan and McConnell at the White House. They made it very clear by example that Ryan and McConnell were going to have to put their pet howler monkey back in his cage if they wanted Chuck and Nancy to come over for a chat. Even if the GOP wanted to try the dubious tactic of trying to ram a clean extension through on reconciliation, since the bill would deal with the debt ceiling, the Senate would have to pass an alternate bill, and then they’d have to go to conference to hammer out the difference, and then both chambers would have to pass the unified bill. This would be impossible to do by midnight Friday night.
Are you starting to see the pattern here? The GOP deluded themselves for 7 years into thinking that if they ever got back in charge, they could kill the ACA, and look how that worked out. It’s always nice when you can stick both of the kids into the same sandbox to play, but if they just throw sand at each other, Chuck and Nancy from next store are not going to come over to play. And if your kids do promise to play nice, Chuck and Nancy are going to want a couple of the toys, like a shove and a pail. And that’s when we’ll see just how nice the Elephant twins can be in polite company.