The Fecklessness Of The GOP House Leadership
The House GOP leadership, led by House Speaker John Boehner, finally announced a decision on how his caucus would deal with the looming fight over full implementation of the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare).
As is par for the course with this gang, it’s a day late and a dollar short.
The manner in which Boehner made the announcement and promptly dumped responsibility for it’s success or failure in the lap of the Senate GOP caucus. You know, the one in the minority that can’t actually force Majority Leader Harry Reid to do anything.
This is dishonest at best. The House standing firm was always going to be the pressure point in this fight. Ultimately the Senate and House will have to reach a deal. Having the Speaker pawn his responsibility for enabling the House to get the best deal it can from the Senate majority off on the Senate minority is not fighting for a cause, it’s avoiding blame. Quite the profile in courage.
The bigger problem was the timing of the decision. We are less than two weeks away from the end of the fiscal year. This fight was always going to be about creating popular support for undoing as much of the ACA as possible. Polls constantly show the public opposes the bill and there’s been plenty of bad news that could be used to create public pressure. Unfortunately, conservatives committed to undoing ObamaCare have been fighting not with Obama for the past year or so but with Boehner and Cantor over the strategy to pursue. Having wasted valuable months (including the August recess) avoiding a decision Boehner has decided to send in his back up quarterback in to the game with 2 seconds left, down by 17 points and told him, “go win the game or the responsibility for the loss is on you”.
Earlier this year Boehner promised to follow “regular order“. Of course Boehner says lots of things that never happen. Yet instead of passing a CR early enough to go to conference with the Senate and buy time to build the anti-ACA case with the public, we’re back to a last second, backroom deal that leaves no time to build support. Of course it was impossible to avoid a CR because the House couldn’t muster the courage to pass any appropriations bills that actually cut spending as required by the Ryan Plan.
Now conservatives wanted this fight so they will have to make the best of it but let’s not pretend Boehener’s last second decision, his instant pawning off of responsibility and public signaling he thinks this is a bad move has really given the supporters of the CR fight the best chance to win.