Opinion: Morning Examiner

Morning Examiner: The Republican shutdown, debt limit kabuki

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Beltway Confidential,Conn Carroll,Morning Examiner,Republican Party,Democratic Party,Federal Budget,Debt Ceiling,Analysis,Government Shutdown

Republicans and Democrats may seem far apart as deadlines approach for legislation to authorize federal government spending and borrowing for the next fiscal year, but a closer look at both parties’ priorities and past practices shows any significant disruption is unlikely, and the fiscal status quo will continue uninterrupted through next year.

What Republicans want
Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., have led a grassroots conservative charge for delaying Obamacare through the continuing resolution that must be passed before October 1, to keep the most of the federal government running through the next fiscal year.

Establishment Republicans, on the other hand, believe that any change to the 2011 Budget Control Act deal with Democrats would be a political loser, and are therefore desperately trying to convince rank-and-file Republicans to rubber stamp a continuation of current federal government spending levels. These Republicans also believe that sequestration has been a huge policy win for conservatives, and they do not want to risk a situation where that accomplishment could be undone.

What Democrats want
Above all else, Democrats want to see Obamacare implemented with as little disruption from Republicans as possible. They also want a debt limit passed without any conditions from Congress, but they would also like to see the non-defense portions of sequestration undone.

You’ll get two votes and you’ll like it
Since both establishments value stability over their parties’ other priorities (rolling back Obamacare for conservatives, rolling back sequestration for liberals) the CR should pass relatively smoothly, with at most some show-votes defunding Obamacare in the House and Senate.

House Republican leaders have made some noise about possibly fighting for Obamacare delays in the debt limit fight, but considering how they blinked and punted on the issue in January, it is far more likely that they will settle for much less. Talking Points Memo‘s Sahil Kapur outlines a likely outcome:

The likelier endgame is that Republicans ultimately come up with a shiny object to distract their base and portray it as a concession by Democrats. That could include symbolic moves like Senate Democrats permitting a vote on House GOP legislation to delay parts of Obamacare, such as the individual mandate. Of course, Democrats would vote down such a bill, but it’d give Republicans a political weapon to use against vulnerable red-state Democrats in the 2014 elections, when they hope to win the Senate majority.

It is also possible that House Republicans could cut a deal with the White House on some mini-grand bargain that cuts Social Security and raises taxes by adopting the chained CPI method of measuring inflation. But the bases of both parties would rebel against such a move, so the more likely path of least resistance is show-votes on defunding Obamacare in both chambers that make it easier for Republicans to take the Senate in 2014.

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In Other News
Gallup, Obama’s Economic Approval Slips to 35%: Despite President Barack Obama’s renewed focus on the nation’s economy this summer, crisscrossing the country to talk about job creation, he scores worse with Americans on the economy than he did in June.
The New York Times, Hundreds Die as Egyptian Forces Attack Islamist Protesters: The scale and brutality of the attack on supporters of the ousted president, Mohamed Morsi, was the clearest sign yet that the old Egyptian police state was re-emerging in full force.
McClatchy Newspapers, Obama’s surveillance revisions omit limits on warrantless email searches: In pledging to make changes that could curtail the federal government’s ability to spy on Americans, President Barack Obama failed to address calls by lawmakers and experts to overhaul a law that allows the National Security Agency to search vast databases of individual Americans’ emails without court warrants.
The Wall Street Journal, Nurse Practitioners Seek Right To Treat Patients on Their Own: Nurse practitioners in five states are fighting for the right to treat patients without oversight from doctors, as they can in many parts of the country.
The Spokesman Review, Labrador to seek third term in Congress, not run for governor: 1st District Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador announced this afternoon that he’ll seek a third term in Congress, not run for governor.

Lefty Playbook
Sahil Kapur lists Five Reasons To Fear Shutdown, Default.
Sam Stein says Sequestration is Ushering In A Dark Age For Science In America
Jonathan Cohn on the The Big Savings Obamacare Critics Miss
Think Progress notes that Almost Half Of All Americans With Individual Health Plans Will Get Subsidies Under Obamacare.

Righty Playbook
Robert Costa on Ted Cruz’s very real 2016 hopes.
George Will says Obama’s unconstitutional steps worse than Nixon’s.
Joel Pollack reports that turnout at amnesty rally’s has failed to meet organizer expectations.
Peter Suderman on the End of Policy.
Erick Stakelbeck on Egypt’s Unraveling and the Coming Chaos.

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