Plan B-2

Pundits had been anticipating a “Plan C” from House Republicans this afternoon. Having lost their “Plan A” of a defunding Obamacare, and their “Plan B” of repealing the ACA’s medical device tax and delaying implementation of the whole law for a year, “Plan C” was reportedly going to focus on the Vitter Amendment stripping Congress, congressional employees, and certain executive-branch political employees of health premium subsidies after they are forced into the Obamacare exchanges.

I’ve discussed the demagogic dishonesty of the Vitter amendment a couple of times. In covering the same ground today, Ezra Klein expressed the hope that Vitter would not prove sufficiently extremist to command a majority of congressional Republicans. It appears that was the case, since the new CR being considered by the House Rules Committee includes the Vitter Amendment and a one-year delay in the individual mandate that makes the Affordable Care Act work.

There’s zero way that’s going to move votes in the Senate; it’s more a Plan B-2 than any real “Plan C.” so now it’s extremely clear that Boehner’s more concerned about keeping House Republicans together than in passing anything that can break the current impasse.

UPDATE: TPM’s Sahil Kapur reports it’s not even clear the new Plan B-2 has the votes to pass the House. But either way, the government’s shutting down.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.