I’ve been looking for a full list of the policy riders Republicans attached to their spending bill and it turns out OMB Watch has put one together. There’s some very strange stuff in there: One prohibits the government from funding a database of consumer complaints about financial products. Another blocks the government from enforcing clean-water standards in Florida. A third stops the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives from collecting information “on multiple sales of rifles or shotguns to the same person.” For the record, if someone is stocking up on deadly weaponry, that’s the sort of thing I’d like law-enforcement officials to know.
But, as Brian Beutler reports, there are really two riders standing between John Boehner, Harry Reid and a deal: one that prohibits the government from funding Planned Parenthood and one that prohibits the EPA from regulating carbon (actually, both go a bit further than that, but those are their main purposes). This leaves Boehner in a tough spot: It’s one thing to shut the government down over spending cuts. Republicans ran on those. It’s a whole other to shut it down over Planned Parenthood. That’s a variant of Newt Gingrich complaining that he didn’t get a good seat on the plane — it suggests to voters that the shutdown is not about what the GOP said it was about, and that’s politically very dangerous. For that reason, my hunch is that if negotiators can’t come to a deal on the riders, Boehner will say that talks broke down over the spending cuts.