All of a sudden, the Democrats would be the ones in a box: If they were to refuse, then instead of Republicans shutting down the government over a law they don’t like (Obamacare), the Democrats would be shutting down the government over a law they don’t like (the Budget Control Act).
Think about it: Reid has been deriding the GOP as a bunch of “Tea Party anarchists who deny the mere fact that Obamacare is the law.” Well, the Budget Control Act is also the law. In fact, it is a law that Democrats voted for and President Obama signed. Are Democrats now “anarchists who deny the mere fact that the Budget Control Act is the law?” Are they going to (in Obama’s words) “hold the economy hostage over ideological demands” to increase federal spending? Are they going to “hurt our economy and millions of innocent people” in order to repeal “a law that passed both houses of Congress; a law that bears my signature”? Are Democrats going to “burn the house down simply because you haven’t gotten 100 percent of your way” on increasing spending?
Marc A. Thiessen
A fellow with the American Enterprise Institute, Thiessen writes a weekly column for The Post.
The Democrats are not going to keep the government closed in order to bust spending caps they voted for and their president signed into law. That would be a politically unsustainable position. They would lose the moral high ground. The GOP can say, we are agreeing to live under current law — and continue under existing funding levels and the automatic spending cuts that both parties agreed to. Overnight, the GOP would trade a losing hand for a winning one.
Republicans could then pocket that victory and use the debt limit (where they have real leverage) to fight for further spending reductions. In that fight, they would have the backing of a supermajority of Americans who believe that there should be deep spending cuts in exchange for any debt-limit increase.
Will Republicans do this? Or will they continue the Seinfeld Shutdown? It depends on whether they want to continue putting on a show about nothing — or whether they want a win.
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