Earlier today, House leadership agreed to advance a budget CR that will completely defund Obamacare, and ship it off to the Senate. Now is the time for Mitch McConnell and Senate leadership to live up to their own promises. They must whip up full support from the conference to stick with the House CR.
However, there are some points to ponder, which might leave you wondering if there is more than meets the eye:
- This CR will only fund the government until December 15. All things equal, why not go for a full year funding bill once you are defunding Obamacare? Isn’t that better messaging? Let that one sink in a bit.
- Even as they officially plan to give us what we want on Friday, they are already talking about the debt ceiling as the “real fight.” Jonathan Strong has a full roundup of the rhetoric and ideas behind this CR/debt ceiling bait-and-switch. Hmmm…if they really plan to fight for defund and stand behind it, why would they immediately begin messaging the debt ceiling fight?
- The demand for raising the debt ceiling is supposedly a mixture of the kitchen sink – delaying Obamacare for a year (I thought we just defunded it in the CR), approving the Keystone pipeline, passing the regulatory reform REINS Act, and some possible tweaks to entitlements. Asks yourself two questions:
1) Simplicity of Message: Isn’t defunding Obamacare a much simpler message? Try messaging this: “Al right boys, if they don’t give us Keystone pipeline, regulatory reform, one-year delay[ but not defund] of Obamacare, entitlement reform, and possibly tax reform, we’re not raising the debt ceiling.”
2) Specter of Default: GOP leaders have said a number of times that they are terrified of the debt ceiling fight because they buy into the notion that we would automatically default on our credit. The only time they are not scared of it is when they want to use the debt ceiling as the carrot to lure us away from fighting on a CR. Ask yourself this question: if these same people are scared to fight something as unpopular as Obamacare on a plain CR, would they really fight something like Medicare reform with the specter of a default?
The bottom line is that conservatives are ready and willing to unite on all leverage points to defund Obamacare. We just have to make sure we are not being set up for another Lucy moment with the football.