Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., may have prevented the Senate from passing a Continuing Resolution that would keep the government open through September yesterday, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., filed cloture on the bill Tuesday night and final passage is expected to come either today or tomorrow. As Talking Points Memo Brian Beutler reports, passing the CR without any tax hikes would be a huge victory for conservatives:
Since it’s become clear that GOP leaders would rather pocket sequestration’s spending cuts — however suboptimal — than pony up any new tax increases, the parties’ affects have changed significantly.
Democrats, following the White House’s lead, decided not to roll the fight over turning off sequestration into the separate but related fight over avoiding a government shutdown. Instead, Senate appropriators used the process to protect whatever categories of domestic spending Republicans would allow from the worst consequences of sequestration — a tacit admission that sequestration isn’t going to break the GOP’s anti-tax absolutism anytime soon. … Republicans, by contrast, have become emboldened.
If anything, Republicans may have become a little too emboldened. The U.S. Treasury will reach its legal borrowing limit sometime in May and Obama administration efforts to work around the limit are expected to be exhausted sometime in July. That means House Republicans will have to vote to raise the debt limit again sometime between now and July, and with the sequester already in full effect there is nothing left to cut from discretionary spending. “You can’t do this forever based on discretionary spending,” Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., told Politico. “You’re going to have to get to entitlements.”
But Obama has made two things clear: 1) he is not going to negotiate over the debt limit; and 2) he is not going to cut entitlement spending without new tax hikes. Two weeks ago, House Republican leadership sources told The Washington Examiner that there were no plans on how to get a new debt limit hike out of the House. But according to Politico that has changed. Yesterday, in a closed door meeting, House Speaker John Boehner announced Republicans will hold a meeting in early April to discuss the party’s strategy. “GOP leaders want everyone’s buy-in on the strategy, even if leadership is already mulling paths forward,” Politico reports.
Among those paths: 1) tying tax reform to the debt ceiling; 2) tying entitlement reform to the debt ceiling; and 3) a $2 trillion budget “savings” deal.
It is hard to see how any of these paths would pass muster in Harry Reid’s Senate or Obama’s White House. House Republicans basically have three options: 1) give Obama his “Grand Bargain” on debt complete with a debt limit increase and tax hikes; 2) raise the debt limit with little to no concessions from the White House; or 3) breach the debt limit, causing at least a 40 percent cut in all government spending.
From The Washington Examiner
Examiner Editorial: Nobody’s property is safe when bailouts begin
Mark Tapscott: Washington Examiner shifts business model from daily newspaper to political site and weekly print magazine
Tim Carney: The District’s loss
Byron York: Key GOP senators seek immigration reform slowdown
Michael Barone: Republicans need to show support for Hispanic dreams
Conn Carroll: Rand Paul’s amnesty plan is worse than Rubio’s
In Other News
The Wall Street Journal, Cyprus Rejects Rescue Plan: Cyprus’s parliament rejected its government’s bailout deal with the euro zone without a single vote in its favor, a move that could hasten the potential collapse of its banks and send the tiny island nation hurtling out of the euro zone.
The New York Times, G.O.P. Opposition to Immigration Law Is Falling Away: Republican opposition to legalizing the status of millions of illegal immigrants is crumbling in the nation’s capital as leading lawmakers in the party scramble to halt eroding support among Hispanic voters — a shift that is providing strong momentum for an overhaul of immigration laws.
The Washington Post, From the Front Line to the Unemployment Line: This is what the end of a decade of war looked like in Oklahoma a few weeks ago: ex-soldiers in cheap new business suits; human resources managers with salesman smiles and stacks of glossy fliers; a former Marine speaking to a television news crew about the “tough times” and “nightmares” he has had since coming home.
The Los Angeles Times, L.A. moves to end use of coal energy by 2025: Los Angeles officials are speeding up plans to end the city’s reliance on coal-powered energy, a move that could help Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s drive to burnish his legacy as an environmental leader.
Politico, CR stalls in Senate: Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., has stalled the Continuing Resolution bill that would keep the government open past March 27th. Moran is demanding a vote on his amendment to protect funding for air traffic controllers at rural airports.
The Hill, Reid guts Senate gun control bill: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has decided the federal assault weapons ban will not be a part of the base bill and warned Tuesday an expansion of background checks to cover private sales might not make the cut, either.
CNN, Colbert Busch wins Democratic primary in S.C. special election: CNN projects Elizabeth Colbert Busch, sister of comedian Stephen Colbert, will win Tuesday’s Democratic primary for the the South Carolina special election to represent the state’s 1st Congressional District.
Kevin Drum urges economists to support unions.
Brian Beutler admits Democrats have come up short in sequestration standoff.
Think Progress attacks Rand Paul for flip-flopping on abortion.
Ben Domenech advises conservatives to identify an ETSY Earner Agenda.
Michael Walsh urges Republicans to fight, not re-brand.
Rand Paul talks to Hugh Hewitt about his amnesty plan.
Mark Krikorian calls Rand Paul’s immigration speech an “embarrassing, amateurish foray into a policy area he knows nothing about.”