Get ready for another weak ground out into a double play in the upcoming budget battle.
Shortly before the August recess, we reported that Republicans planned to pass a clean 6-month CR which funds Obamacare and appropriates $1.047 trillion in spending – commensurate with Obama’s request instead of the House budget. The idea behind the “deferment” strategy was twofold; to delay the major battles to 2013 in the hopes of winning back the Senate and to preclude the need for the lame duck session, when wayward members would use the must-pass budget bill to pass extraneous bad legislation.
At the time, we weighed both the pros and cons of this strategy. Now we learn that some of our concerns have come to fruition, as the proposed CR is neither clean nor will it prevent the lame duck session. Here are some things to consider.
Instead, House Republicans have cooked up a ‘dirty’ CR that contains a ‘clean’ extension of TANF without the work requirement provision. This will allow Democrats in the Senate to pass the CR, while concurrently consummating Obama’s violation of welfare reform without engaging in a standalone fight on the issue.
But fear not, House Republicans plan a cover vote next week on a resolution of disapproval of Obama’s HHS waiver. That would be fine if they wouldn’t be approving it this week. We’ve seen this rodeo a million times before. They punt on their only consequential opportunity to force an issue, while opting for a vacuous gesture that won’t go anywhere, especially without a parallel commitment from McConnell to bring up the resolution in the Senate. This resolution vote provides House Republicans with a worthless talking point. They can make believe they are fighting against the Obama Administration’s waive of work requirements, when they are actually surrendering the policy at a time when they have the power to undo the waiver.
The House plans to vote on this bill some time this Thursday. Please call your Republican members and tell them to abide by their promise to cut spending. More importantly, ask them if they are willing to stand up to Obama on welfare reform.
Some people are saying that Republicans should close up shop if they can’t win in this environment. More aptly said, they should close up shop if they are unwilling to embrace a fight against Obama on an 80/20 issue – one that cuts to core of the election.
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