For the record, let’s simply note that the idea that this Republican Congress could actually pass a budget went out the window a long time ago. What’s on the table right now is a short-term continuing resolution (CR) that would maintain funding at it’s current level. Since coming back from the August recess, the Republican lunatic caucus in the House has demanded that the CR defund Planned Parenthood or they’ll allow the government to shut down on October 1st.
Furthermore, the lunatic caucus has said that if Boehner tries to pass a CR that does not defund Planned Parenthood, they will initiate a procedure to remove him as Speaker. Apparently they had a least the threat of 30 votes that would throw his re-election into question.
On Wednesday, Democratic leaders in the House made it clear that Boehner couldn’t depend on their votes to save his speakership.
“It’s not our responsibility to try to solve their divisions,” Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told reporters in the Capitol on Wednesday…
Rep. Xavier Becerra (Calif.), chairman of the Democratic Caucus, echoed that message Wednesday, saying it’s “their war” and the Democrats aren’t ready to engage. He further suggested that it remains unclear if the Democrats stand to benefit by picking one GOP division over another.
“Like the Syrian Civil War, I’m not sure it’s easy to discern which side anyone is on,” Becerra said by phone.
What Boehner was facing was the choice between a coup or a shutdown. That led him to make a deal with the lunatic caucus: if he stepped down as Speaker, they would vote for a “clean” continuing resolution and avoid a government shutdown.
Following Boehner’s announcement, House Republicans said there was agreement to pass a clean spending bill to keep the government open though mid-December while broader negotiations on spending levels are held. Several members of the Freedom Caucus, the conservative group that led the revolt against Boehner’s leadership, said they will now support the spending bill without demands that it include language to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood.
“The commitment has been made that there will be no shutdown,” said Rep. John Fleming (R-La.).
Boehner leaves at the end of October and the CR keeps the government functioning through mid-December. In the meantime, House Republicans will have to settle on a new Speaker while the lunatics try to defund both Planned Parenthood and Obamacare via budget reconciliation legislation (which they know President Obama will veto), or we face another government shutdown just in time for the holidays.
So Boehner got himself out of a jam. I guess that’s what passes for progress with this Republican Congress.