An editorial in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, “A GOP Shutdown Strategy”, offers good advice to the House Republicans for how to proceed in the shutdown stalemate. “ …the best chance to move Democrats is Louisiana Senator David Vitter’s amendment that would annul the exemption from Obama-Care that the White House carved out for Congressmen and their staff. These professionals will receive special subsidies unavailable to everybody else on the insurance exchanges, and preserving this deeply unpopular privilege would be a brutal vote for Democrats.”
The House Republican Caucus should attempt to line up 218 votes to attach this provision to a continuing resolution to fund the government for all or part of the new fiscal year at the current level. If 218 votes to support this approach cannot be found, then the House should pass a clean funding resolution. Nothing else has a chance of succeeding (the idea of trying to defund Obama-Care for even one year is absurd) and the American people will grow increasingly impatient.
The bigger issue by far is the need to raise the debt limit by October 17th at the latest. Here the Republicans have major leverage, namely the sequester, which takes a bigger bite out of discretionary spending each year for nine more years. The Republican House can give the Democratic Senate a choice: either agree to a sensible long range plan for spending restraint (including entitlements), or else we’ll agree to raise the debt limit for six months or so, into early 2014, and then revisit the debt limit issue after the 2014 tighter sequester limits take effect.
This is what I suggest. Now we’ll wait and see what happens!