Even as their hardliners refuse to let up, senior Republicans have all but conceded that they won’t end up defunding Obamacare in a continuing resolution to keep the federal government open after the money runs out on Sept. 30. And even if they do shut down the government, top Republicans observe, it won’t actually stop Obamacare. The strategy makes little sense.
But House Republican leaders are taking so much fire from conservative advocates that they’re weighing a more dangerous gambit: taking the United States’ ability to pay its bills hostage to advance the party’s goal of disrupting and dismantling the Affordable Care Act. The country’s borrowing authority is set to expire later this fall and senior Republicans made a series of promises to their members in January that appear likely to culminate in a showdown.
GOP leaders don’t see a way to persuade their members to lift the debt ceiling without extracting ideological concessions. So a strategy they’re considering, first reported in the conservative news outlets National Review and Washington Examiner, is to pass a two-month continuing resolution to keep government funded at existing levels until, roughly, the debt limit is reached. Then they would offer a sequester replacement in exchange for delaying or defunding Obamacare in order to avoid economic disaster.
A House Republican leadership aide described this plan as an option, but cautioned TPM that no decisions have been made yet. “I do, however, expect that the President’s health care law will certainly come up — in some form or fashion — in the debt limit debate,” said the aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal strategy.
Let me repeat this for those of you who don't remember the last time: Republicans will fold on the debt ceiling. They will fold because the hedge fund titans and the Sheldon Adelsons and the other big money GOP donors will not allow the debt ceiling to collapse and the US to default.
These people have money, and they have access. They will call up the Republicans and they will say "If you default on the debt and crash our economy again, I'll use what money I have left to fund your opponent." The Republicans will listen very, very closely when that happens.
And just like last year, they will fold.
...on the other hand, Steve Benen has a point: Orange Julius is the most incompetent House Speaker in modern American history, and Republicans are 100% sure any economic damage cause by messing with the debt ceiling will be perceived as wholly Obama's fault.
So they will fold...the question is after how long, and how much damage will it cause in the meantime?