September 17, 2013

1. Here’s news from Robert Costa: “[T]he House GOP will soon vote on a continuing resolution that simultatenously funds the federal government and defunds Obamacare,” although he’s also reporting on twitter that it’s not official yet. That’s obviously not getting through the Senate. So next step is either a Democratic version without Obamacare defunding that passes the Senate . . . or a Democratic version without Obama defunding that is stopped by a Republican filibuster. We’ll see.

We’ll see, that is, if John Boehner really does have the votes for it, since it won’t be getting any Democratic votes. Will any moderates refuse to go along? Or, more likely, will some of the Crazy Caucus defect because defunding Obamacare isn’t enough? I guess we’ll see, but there’s no guarantee at all that this thing will see the House floor.

2. Congress scholar Joshua Huder on the rapidly approaching showdown:

There is really no way for the Speaker to win this battle. He’s effectively caught between appeasing a substantial portion, if not a majority of, his caucus and economic calamity. At this point in time, it is virtually impossible to imagine a scenario where Boehner does not again break the Hastert “rule” to avoid a shutdown or credit default.

3. How much of the defund Obamacare strategy is simply a cash cow for conservative organizations? Surely not all of it — but as Steve Benen notes, don’t discount it as a major factor. And remember: If worse comes to worse and a budget debacle costs Republicans in the 2014 election cycle, that’s good for the bottom line of those organizations, too.

4. Tim Fernholz on why the GOP debt talk makes no sense. It’s almost as if they didn’t actually care about the deficit after all.

5. While Harry Stein goes into detail about just how radical the current GOP spending demands have become.

6. How important is SNAP (food stamps)? Sharron Parrott looks at the new census numbers and finds millions out of poverty. And House Republicans want to slash the program . . . why?

7. They’ll try to slash it, that is, but first they have to actually pass severe cuts through the House. Dylan Scott reports on how difficult that one is going to be.

8. Very good to see this: The Examiner’s Tim Mak exposes a conservative myth in the making and tracks down where it came from.

9. Nice one from Jason Linkins on pundits and Syria, following up on Greg’s recent posts. Brutal.

10. While Dan Drezner asks who “won” Syria.

11. Here’s some potential good news: A tea party/liberal alliance for sentencing and prison reform, coming to the Senate. David Dagan and Steven Teles on the surprising development — and why Barack Obama should steer clear of it for now.

12. Ed Kilgore on the DLC and the prospects for Republican reform and revival now.

13. And an important point from Kevin Drum: There’s no such thing as a politically neutral economic policy. That’s right; the idea that any choice one can make, including doing nothing (which in fact is usually not nothing — it entails all sorts of subsidies and structural support) is “not politics” is just wrong.