Thursday, October 17, 2013

It's His Party: He Can Cry if He Wants To

The final (for now) congressional vote on ending the government shutdown and raising the debt limit finally happened, and here are our totals:

The Senate voted 81 to 18 Wednesday night to reopen the federal government and raise the nation's borrowing limit, hours before the Treasury Department faced the possibility of being unable to pay all of America's bills for the first time in modern history. 
The House followed suit, voting 285-144, to end the latest damaging battle of divided government in a polarized Congress.
I wil probably have a lot more to say about this tomorrow, but for now, keep in mind that there were 18 GOP Senators and 144 GOP House members (oh, yes, they were all GOP members), who for some reason thought not raising the debt ceiling would be fine with them. Among the "Nays" were usual suspects for the 2016 GOP presidential primaries--Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul--even Paul Ryan.

That's kind of a disgrace, isn't it?  In a few years, will they be able to defend that? Will they maintain that this was a symbolic vote since they didn't doubt in the least that the votes to pass were there?  I guess we will see how that flies.

But speaking of whether or not the votes were there, I guess Boehner was not accurate when he previously said that the votes to pass a clean CR weren't there.  It's possible he only thought he could get them if his member were under the debt limit gun, so to speak. But when you consider the last 16 days, and $24 billion lost in the economy, it just doesn't seem like this was all that productive. does it?

This also takes us back to the dilemma from the beginning of the year--Boehner might really have only 80-odd reliable votes in his caucus, and Nancy Pelosi has pretty much the Democratic side. He's a pretty weak speaker to begin with, and with yet another violation of the Hastert rule, once again, his Speakership may be in peril.  But once again--who wants it? If Speaker Boehner looks like a man who drinks, he also looks to me like a man with reasons.