The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

John Boehner is being even more irresponsible than Ted Cruz

The House just voted for a "continuing resolution" that defunds Obamacare (though it wouldn't actually stop Obamacare from being implemented). Here's what House Speaker John Boehner hopes will happen next:

1) The action moves to the Senate, and reporters stop reporting that Boehner doesn't have a shadow of control over his Republican members;

2) Sen. Ted Cruz tries and fails to defund Obamacare in the Senate's continuing resolution;

3) The Democrat-led Senate sends the House a continuing resolution that doesn't defund Obamacare;

4) Boehner shrugs, says he tried, and persuades his members to let him bring the Senate's bill to the floor;

5) The House passes the Senate's measure, President Obama signs it, and everyone moves onto the next crisis.

That's actually pretty likely to happen. There'll be turbulence between here and there, of course, and Cruz might attempt a Rand Paul-style filibuster on the Senate floor, but this isn't a particularly farfetched plan.

Or, at least, most of it isn't.

The problem comes in No. 4. Boehner isn't going to simply shrug, say he tried, and bring the Senate bill to the floor. He'll shrug, say he tried, and tell his members that they should let him bring the Senate bill to the floor. He'll say it's because they need to save their fire for the debt ceiling fight, where they can force the White House to delay Obamacare for a year by threatening to trigger a global financial crisis. In fact, this is already the message he's delivering to his members.

There's been a lot of talk -- much of it among Republicans -- about how irresponsible Ted Cruz is being in his fight to defund Obamacare or shut the government down trying. But Boehner and the rest of the House GOP leadership is being much more irresponsible in their promises to delay Obamacare or cause a global financial crisis while trying. And the way they're going to get past Cruz's irresponsible threats is to double down on their own, even more irresponsible, threats.