Now that the U.S. Senate has returned a continuing budget resolution back to the House of Representatives, without the Obamacare defunding provision demanded by Tea Party radicals like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), there appears to be only two ways America can avoid another costly government shutdown – or worse yet, a disastrous financial default by the federal government.
Luke Russert just reported on Weekends with Alex Witt that House Republicans are considering passing a C.R. that doesn’t include a full defund of the Affordable Care Act, but would include some other poison-pill to Obamacare that might appease their Tea Party members. Another possible option might be to strip out the Obamacare defunding provision into a separate bill and send both back to the Senate. Either of these choices is unlikely to satisfy the ideological Tea Party fervor which has split the GOP into warring factions.
In any case, Democrats are standing firmly united in support of Obamacare. The President has repeatedly stated that he will not negotiate with the hostage-taking tactics of the Tea Party which threaten the “full faith and credit of the United States.”
If these late-hour measures fail – a government shutdown begins on October 1st and government funds start to run out on October 17th – then there are only two ways left to avert an economic crisis which could surpass the depths of the Great Recession. First, Speaker of the House John Boehner could bring up a clean continuing resolution to the floor for a vote. This would probably pass with Democratic and moderate Republican votes, but might trigger a Tea Party rebellion against him and his GOP leadership. It would be an eminently responsible and courageous act by the Speaker, one in which he has shown little indication of pursuing.
Second, a few moderate Republicans could join with Democrats in submitting a discharge petition that would do the same by circumventing the GOP leadership and Boehner’s usual adherence to the Hastert Rule. This would be an equally courageous move by moderates since it would assuredly evoke angry political retribution from the Tea Party.
No one seems to know exactly what will happen, but a very rocky road ahead for the nation is probable. Normal political considerations are not all that relevant when discussing Tea Party extremism. They are ideologically driven to oppose the traditional democratic process as well as the legitimate authority of the federal government. To say they want to insanely “burn the house down” is not an overstatement.