Drew Ryun Oped: Not One Penny in New Debt for Obamacare

Friday, January 3rd, 2014 by and is filed under Blog, Issues, News, Obamacare

There has been much acrimony and infighting within the Republican Party of late. But in the coming year, there are many upcoming battles that should be able to unite the party, most prominently, the effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare.

Republicans agree that Obamacare must be repealed and replaced with policies that eliminate the burdensome interventions that drive up the cost of healthcare. And as the national debt continues to soar over $17 trillion, there must be an immediate push to reduce the size of government. That means there is no better opportunity to unite in the fight against both Obamacare and the growing national debt than with the upcoming debt-ceiling deadline in February.

Conservatives will have two key advantages in the fight over the debt ceiling that were missing during October’s budget showdown. First, the messaging over the debt ceiling is much simpler: Everyone understands that as a country we are accruing an irresponsible level of debt. It is more than reasonable to assert that we not raise the debt ceiling until we have a plan to stop this endless spiral. What better way to reduce spending than by cutting funding for the most unpopular entitlement program?

Read the full piece at Politico.
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New Year Opens With Big Spending Bang

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014 by and is filed under Blog, Debt, Taxes

Congress plans to kick off the new legislative session the same way it ended the last one.  They will continue to spend more money.

When Congress voted on the Ryan-Murray budget deal before adjourning for Christmas, members were only signing off on the topline discretionary spending figures, not the individual accounts for all the departments and agencies.  They agreed to repeal part of the sequester for the next two years.  Consequently, discretionary spending will increase from $967 billion to an annualized level of $1.012 trillion for the remainder of FY 2014.  Congress will now work on passing an omnibus bill with 12 appropriations bills rolled up in one massive piece of legislation, which will reflect the topline figure in the Ryan-Murray deal.

Now, as The Hill reports, the appropriator cardinals are working frenetically to divvy up the new spending among their favorite portions of the government pie.

“Congress is set to unveil a giant spending bill next week that staff for appropriators have been preparing on a near daily basis throughout the holiday break.

Aides say progress on the $1 trillion, 12-part omnibus legislation has been better than expected at the subcommittee level, and that their goal remains to pass the bill through both chambers by Jan. 16 to prevent a government shutdown.

The secretive process has members anticipating rushed votes when they return next week, as congressional leaders race the clock.”

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Chamber to Spend $50 Million Defending Unpopular Status Quo

Thursday, December 26th, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, News

Here’s is a thought for a slow vacation week.  Congress’s approval rating has dipped into the single digits.  Anyone with any intellectual honesty – whether liberal or conservative – should agree that we need wholesale change in the ranks of leadership in both parties.  Yet the Chamber of [Government-Run] Commerce is prepared to spend $50 million in order to protect the status quo.

The Wall Street Journal published an extensive story over Christmas detailing some of the efforts of party leadership and their corporate allies to keep the Republican Party a small tent – one which stands for nothing and appeals to nobody:

Republican leaders and their corporate allies have launched an array of efforts aimed at diminishing the clout of the party’s most conservative activists and promoting legislation instead of confrontation next year.

GOP House leaders are taking steps to impose discipline on wavering committee chairmen and tea-party factions. Meanwhile, major donors and advocacy groups, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and American Crossroads, are preparing an aggressive effort to groom and support more centrist Republican candidates for Congress in 2014′s midterm elections. […]

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce early next year plans to roll out an aggressive effort—expected to cost at least $50 million—to support establishment, business-friendly candidates in primaries and the general election, with an aim of trying to win a Republican Senate majority.

“Our No. 1 focus is to make sure, when it comes to the Senate, that we have no loser candidates,” said the business group’s top political strategist, Scott Reed. “That will be our mantra: No fools on our ticket.”

Well, if the Chamber is looking to avoid loser candidates they should start by pulling the plug on their support for Mitch McConnell.  He is losing to a liberal Democrat in a state Republicans carried by 23 points last year.  That’s a loser candidate if I’ve ever seen one.

Yes, indeed the Chamber is full of many ironies.  They supposedly represent business interests, yet they continue to perpetuate the powers that be in Washington – the very same forces that stifle business growth.  With their candidates, they help perpetuate Obamacare, which kills small businesses.  With their candidates, they help Democrats win on every debt ceiling fight, so that the federal government has unlimited money to propagate job-killing regulations.  And with their candidates, they ensure that we re-elect the current crop of failed GOP leaders who have given Democrats a defacto super-majority in the Senate.

Most amazingly, they are also spending millions of dollars pushing for amnesty and an unlimited supply of Democrat voters. These voters will help defeat their chosen Republican incumbents, thereby countermanding this year’s $50 million campaign.

In reality, the Chamber doesn’t stand for free markets or limited government.  They stand with the special interests and venture socialists as long as it helps the bottom line of their clients.  They are attracted to the strongest political forces on the block like flies are attracted to cow pies.  Hence, they will do anything in their power to protect the status quo.

Folks, if you like the status quo in Washington, the Chamber of Commerce has $50 million in banal political ads to sell you in the upcoming primary season.  Are you buying?

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Mitch ‘The Magician’ McConnell

Monday, December 23rd, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Issues

Senator Mitch McConnell would make an excellent magician.  He has a penchant for disappearing during the toughest moments of a battle and deftly distracting attention to an issue not in contention at the time.

During the summer, when conservatives were marshaling support for a unified message of funding the government minus Obamacare, McConnell was completely absent. When cornered by the media to comment on the defund fight, he would always talk about the importance of keeping the spending cuts from the Budget Control Act – the issue that was not in dispute at the moment.

Over the past few weeks, the point of contention indeed revolved around the replacement of sequestration.  From day one, it was clear that there was a bipartisan agreement to countermand the spending cuts, with the only dispute centering on which offsets would be used in the budget chicanery.  After speaking so strongly about the importance of the sequester cuts during the defund fight, one would have expected McConnell to use his magnificent power to stop this deal in its tracks.

Yet, not only did he decline to say a word during the formulation of the deal, he waited until after the bill passed the House and Senate (at least the critical cloture vote) to even put out a statement opposing it.  Needless to say, he never whipped against the vote, allowing Democrats to easily pick off enough Republicans to ensure that the spending cuts would be eliminated, paving the road for a permanent repeal of the sequester in the future.

How else do we know that McConnell’s no vote on Ryan-Murray was more a function of a ‘hope yes, vote no’ strategy?  At the same time he is telling defense contractors to help him beat back tea party challengers who will cut defense spending, McConnell votes against the deal that will reinstate some funding for defense contractors (on the backs of disabled veterans)!

Now after disappearing from the scene of the crime during the fight over the budget, McConnell is feeling the pressure to, once again, project illusions onto a future battle.  He is actually saying that Republicans will fight hard on the debt ceiling:

“I doubt if the House, or for that matter the Senate, is willing to give the president a clean debt-ceiling increase,” McConnell, the top Republican in the Senate, said. “The debt ceiling legislation is a time that brings everyone together and gets the president’s attention.”

This is akin to the arsonist giving advice on how to extinguish a fire.  McConnell completely destroyed our leverage with Democrats in October.  He has made it clear that he is so scared of brinkmanship he is even willing to clamp down on those in the party who push for it.  He created the “McConnell plan,” which gives members a defacto non-binding protest vote against the debt ceiling as a popular concession for giving Obama what he wants.  Democrats have already made it clear that the McConnell plan will serve as the baseline for future negotiations.

Either way, why should Democrats fear a fight with McConnell when they know his Wall Street bundlers are pushing their very own fallacious talking points about defaulting on our credit and crashing the stock market?

Moreover, when McConnell surrendered to Harry Reid in October and gave him a clean debt ceiling increase, he failed to ask for one concession – that the Treasury be denied the ability to circumvent the debt ceiling law with “extraordinary measures.”  Consequently, the real deadline is not on February 7, but as late as June or July.  There is no way in the world McConnell would have the moxie to pick a fight that close to the midterm elections.  And assuming the debt ceiling goes past McConnell’s May 20 primary, he will have no need to pretend to be conservative anyway.

But fear not, wait until the summer and Mitch McConnell will have another trick up his sleeve to distract from his capricious leadership.

Cross-posted from RedState.com

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Putting 2013 in Perspective

Friday, December 20th, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Issues

2013 has been a rough year for conservatives.

This year began with the passage of the $620 billion tax hike, along with $332 billion in stimulus spending.  It ended with Republicans in both houses helping pass a bill that raises taxes, raises spending, makes it easier to raise taxes in the future, destroys our leverage for two years, screws disabled veterans, and paves the road for amnesty.

Worst of all, despite Harry Reid’s egregious assault on the filibuster, Republicans obsequiously gave him the votes for all of the end-of-year votes needed to adjourn for Christmas.  Despite the fact that Harry Reid has completely shut down the amendment process Republicans were all too eager to give him 60 votes on every piece of legislation this month.  Between the unified Democrat front and the lack of leadership among Senate Republicans, 2013 has turned out to be the year of the Democrat supermajority.

Republicans have helped Democrats pass tax increases, debt ceiling increases, funding for Obamacare, the unconstitutional Violence Against Women Act, an internet sales tax, amnesty, special rights for sundry sexual identities (ENDA), a massive farm bill, and some radical nominees.

In October, when House Republicans stood strong in the effort to defund Obamacare, Senate Republicans openly scoffed at them and joined with Senate Democrats to sabotage the fight.

Senate Republicans were so amiable to Harry Reid’s every whim that he decided to go for the kill at the end of the year.  He pulled the nuclear option and abolished the filibuster on almost all presidential nominees.  Republicans responded by working with him to pass the raw budget deal and the NDAA.

We thought the House was much better than the Senate, but amazingly, only 62 Republicans voted against a deal that was so easy to oppose.

In theory, one can accept the establishment’s argument about this year’s failures.  With only control of the House of Representatives, we shouldn’t have high expectations.  But if we win back more control in 2014 and 2016, things will change.

However, in order to accept that excuse one would have to buy into the lie that the schism within the party is only over strategy, not ideology.  What lays waste to that notion is the inexplicable, yet inexorable, push for amnesty legislation on the part of the GOP establishment.

Along with Cantor’s vocal action on the Dream Act and Boehner’s hiring of a new pro-amnesty immigration staffer, we now have confirmation from Paul Ryan that the budget deal will indeed clear the lane for amnesty next year.

Let’s engage in a thought exercise for a moment – one which is predicated on the assumption that Republican leaders share our values but are merely hamstrung by control of just one branch of government.  GOP leadership contends that we cannot block and tackle bad pieces of legislation and pernicious government programs with their current scope of power in Washington.  Yet, somehow, we are to believe that Republicans can actively pass new immigration reform built upon conservative principles with Barack Obama in the White House?

To paraphrase Speaker Boehner, ARE YOU KIDDING ME???

Even if you are sympathetic to some form of amnesty under the right circumstances, if you had any shred of conservatism in your soul you would wait until we have someone in the White House who can be trusted to faithfully execute the law and not seek a political victory.

So why would Republicans push amnesty above every other priority?  Why not work on something more unifying, such as repealing the ethanol mandate, an endeavor which has bipartisan support?

Sadly, it is quite evident that these people do not share our values.  Immigration is just one issue, but it exposes the great establishment lie that the entire intra-party squabble revolves around strategy.  It revolves around core values.  Our core values are liberty, free markets, a strong civil society, strong national sovereignty, and following the Constitution as it was originally conceived.  Their values are money and power. When the two competing ideals overlap, they will be happy to join us.  But when those two goals clash, which they often do, they will give voice to the other side – either passively or vocally.

If we don’t rebuild the party from the bottom-up, no degree of electoral success during the 2014 and 2016 general elections will change our current trajectory.

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Chris McDaniel Surging in Mississippi

Thursday, December 19th, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Elections, News, Uncategorized

It’s not even 2014 and Mississippi conservative Senate candidate, Chris McDaniel, is already tied with incumbent Senator Thad Cochran in the polls.  According to a new Human Events/Gravis poll, Cochran and McDaniel are all tied up at 40% apiece.  It is pretty unprecedented for a challenger to be polling this well against a 35-year incumbent so early in the race.

The poll also showed that only 39% of Republicans definitively approved of Cochran.  This poll is in line with previous surveys that show Chris to be very competitive.  This is why we were so proud to endorse him early on in this race.  Chris is truly an impressive candidate, and with voters itching for a more effective conservative voice in the Senate, he has a solid chance to become a U.S. Senator next year.

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Madison Project PAC Endorses Milton Wolf for Senate in Kansas

Thursday, December 19th, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Elections, News

For Immediate Release:

December 19, 2013

Contact: Mary Vought

press@madisonproject.com

Madison Project PAC Endorses Milton Wolf for Senate in Kansas

“Milton will be one of the U.S. Senate’s loudest voices against Obamacare.”     

Fort Worth, TX – The Madison Project PAC, the first conservative PAC to endorse Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Matt Bevin (R-KY), announced today that it is endorsing Dr. Milton Wolf for U.S. Senate against Senator Pat Roberts in Kansas:

“We’ve interviewed dozens of candidates this cycle, but few are as passionate and articulate in defense of restoring our Republic as Dr. Milton Wolf,” said Jim Ryun, Chairman of the Madison Project and former Kansas Congressman.  “Even though he has never held public office, Dr. Wolf has exhibited a command of the issues and a dedication to conservative values that is lacking among most individuals in Washington. Senator Roberts has served admirably for a number of decades, but if we ever hope to rebuild the Senate majority on a solid conservative foundation, we need fewer career politicians and more citizen leaders like Milton Wolf.

“When I served the people of Kansas in the House of Representatives, I quickly learned that the big government mentality is entrenched in the leadership of both political parties.  Despite losing the majority during the Bush years, many of these same Republicans have failed to learn the lessons of the past.  They have not shown a bold contrast from the Democrats and a consistent desire to fight special interests and protect our constitutional values.

“I wish I had served alongside more members with the moral clarity and intellectual honesty of Milton Wolf.  He understands that 21st century conservatives need to give voice to our Founding values in the halls of Congress, and on Main Street. His principled voice on current issues pending before Congress has already empowered Kansans by forcing Senator Roberts to change his voting habits.   Milton will continue to fight for us every day of every year he is in office, which, as promised, will be no longer than two terms. In particular, he will be one of the U.S. Senate’s loudest voices against Obamacare.”

The official endorsement can be viewed here.  Our full report on Pat Robert’s record of supporting big government can be viewed at RetireRoberts.com

The Madison Project supports and raises money for conservative candidates that have demonstrated a commitment to full-spectrum conservatism. The Madison Project website can be found athttp://madisonproject.com/

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Milton Wolf for U.S. Senate in Kansas

Thursday, December 19th, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Elections

Americans in the heartland are starving for leadership in Washington.  While they wait, President Obama and the Democrats are fundamentally transforming our Republic. Americans are desperately longing for passionate and spirited candidates to fight for conservative principles.  They are looking for candidates who say exactly what We the People are thinking. They want bold, but articulate leaders.  One of the best candidates to fill this vacuum is Dr. Milton Wolf running for U.S. Senate in Kansas.

Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) has represented Kansas in the House and Senate for 33 years.  Including his time as a congressional staffer, he has been in Washington since 1967.  He has been a loyal public servant.  But over the past few decades, he has unfortunately become the quintessential career politician, failing to thwart the unprecedented growth of government when it really counted.  No degree of election-year foxhole conversions to voting conservative can compensate for the vacuum of a principled voice that has been missing in the U.S. Senate.

To rebuild the Senate majority with a new cadre of limited government, free-market, constitutional conservatives, we cannot reelect those who helped lose the majority during the Bush years through inconsistent principles.  Roberts voted to keep the “Bridge to Nowhere” in 2006.  He repeatedly opposed the earmark bans, even as many Republicans started realizing the harmful effects of earmarks.  He supported No Child Left Behind, Medicare expansion, and the bailouts of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  He has consistently voted against efforts to downsize the federal government and devolve power to the states.

Even more important than conservative votes, is a voice for Kansas’s conservative values.  When Roberts’s voice was needed most, he was actually giving it to the other side.  In 2009, President Obama nominated Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius to be Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  It was clear early on that Obama’s biggest priority was to take over the healthcare sector.  As a home state senator and as a Kansan, Roberts had the opportunity to explain to the nation how he saw first-hand her radical views on healthcare and her support for partial birth abortion.  Yet, not only did he vote for her, he gave her the home state endorsement and publicly foisted upon us the worst Secretary of HHS in American history.

Nobody can claim to be pro-life and sincerely opposed to Obamacare and at the same time support Kathleen Sebelius.

Even as Milton Wolf began considering a run for U.S. Senate, he was already a strong voice for Kansas.  At the beginning of Obama’s presidency, Senator Roberts continued his old ways of go-along-to-get-along.  He helped undermine our leverage points against Obama’s spending binge and Obamacare by voting to increase the debt ceiling and funding Obamacare in the budget.  He voted for the $620 billion tax increases/$330 billion spending bill that Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) negotiated.  But much like Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) did during his primary, Roberts lurched all the way to the right once Milton considered a Senate run.

Roberts began to vote against the debt ceiling and budget deals.  He signed onto the Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) letter committing to defund Obamacare.  He even broke from his tradition as a stealth senator to join Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) on the U.S. Senate floor during his historic filibuster against Obamacare.  After Milton Wolf called on him to give voice to Kansas against the egregious Ryan-Murray budget deal, he immediately announced his opposition.

He has moved so far to the right that some are even scoffing upon the effort to replace him.

However, conservatives are looking for a strong voice for all six years of a senator’s term, not just a pandering vote close to election time.

More importantly, even the foxhole conversion is a result of Milton’s bold and articulate voice in Kansas as a primary challenger.  Just weeks before he signed the Mike Lee letter, Roberts expressed his skepticism of the strategy at a tele-townhall.  He noted that “it’s a lot harder than it used to be but, my hand is still out there stretched out across the aisle.”  At the same event on July 29, Roberts referred to the Fair Tax as a “scheme.”  After Milton announced his candidacy, Roberts became a supporter. Most interesting, Roberts has called for Sebelius to resign. This is an unambiguous admission that his 2013 voting record is a form of pandering, not principled leadership.

Milton Wolf will provide the bold leadership we are all starving for.  Far from being a career politician, Milton, who was born and raised in Lyons, Kansas, has spent his career trying to save cancer patients working as a diagnostic radiologist.  Milton is continuing his full-time work in the hospital even as he campaigns statewide for Senate.

Dr. Wolf also happens to be Obama’s second cousin, and following the passage of Obamacare, Milton decided to speak out as a doctor, relative, conservative, and Kansan.  He began speaking at Tea Parties and writing regular columns for national publications. He has a wealth of writings on an extensive list of policy issues, articulating conservatism from a position of strength.  He is 100% with the conservative grassroots on every issue.  Milton is also one of the most articulate and passionate candidates we have ever met.

After coming out publicly as Obama’s cousin, Milton was audited twice by the IRS.  The White House also called his editor to try to get him fired.

Headed into the next few years, defeating Obamacare will be the most important goal.  Who should lead the fight?  A career politician who couldn’t even stand up to the architect of Obamacare or a doctor who is willing to stand up to his own family?

Dr. Wolf will work every day of his six-year term to give voice and fight for us just like Ted Cruz.  He is the true embodiment of the 21st century conservative we so badly need.  We are honored to put our full support behind him in the August 5th primary.

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New Polling in Kentucky Shows McConnell is Vulnerable

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Elections

The latest poll from Kentucky, conducted by Public Policy Polling, completely countermands the conventional wisdom that McConnell is a shoo-in to win the primary.  In addition, the poll shows that McConnell is indeed the weaker candidate to go up against Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes in the general election.  Here are some of the highlights:

  • Senator McConnell is leading conservative Matt Bevin 53 to 26 percent in the primary.  Previously, McConnell has led by 39 and 47 points; now he is only up 27 points.  A strong majority, 61%, still have no opinion of Bevin.  It is quite clear that as Bevin raises his name ID, he will make this race competitive.
  • How unpopular is Mitch McConnell?  Barack Obama lost the state by 23 points and 116 of 120 counties last year.  Even 40% of Democrats voted against the President in the Democrats primary of 2012.  Yet, Mitch McConnell sports an identical 31% approval rating statewide.  Even among Republicans his approval has dropped to 47%.  Clearly, primary voters are getting the message that McConnell is a finger lickin’ fraud.
  • Matt Bevin is stronger against Grimes in the general election than Mitch McConnell.  Bevin keeps Grimes down to 38% of the votes, while against McConnell she polls 42%.  It is likely that once Bevin grows his name recognition, he will perform much better.
  • Only 30% of voters really think that Rand Paul supports McConnell.
  • Kentucky Republicans say they like Rand Paul better than Mitch McConnell by a 59/27 margin.

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We’re Back to the “Next Fight”

Monday, December 16th, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Debt

The past three years of GOP control in the House have been marked by the rallying cry of fighting “the next time.”  With every budget deadline comes a degree of leverage from which Republicans can extract concessions on reducing the size of government.  Yet with every budget battle, House leadership shirks from the fight and blithely points to the next battle – the debt ceiling – as the consummate opportunity to push for reforms.  After all, a budget battle raises the stakes of a government shutdown.

Then when we reach the debt ceiling, GOP leaders echo the scandalous lies of the Democrats with regards to defaulting on debt.  Default is much more serious than a plain government shutdown, claim the wizards of smart.  But just wait until the next budget battle and we’ll cut trillions in debt, not just billions.

Finally, in October, Republicans made it clear they would never hold up a debt ceiling or a budget bill.  At least that was the message telegraphed to the Democrats.  Yet, amazingly, Paul Ryan is still playing the game.  After punting on two years’ worth of budget leverage points, Ryan is feeling the pressure to put on a brave face about his promises for transformational reforms.  As such, he is rallying the troops on the next debt ceiling fight:

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Sunday said Republicans will insist on more concessions for raising the debt limit in early 2014, indicating that the fiscal ceasefire he brokered in a budget deal may not last long.

“We don’t want nothing out of this debt limit,” Ryan said on “Fox News Sunday.” “We are going to decide what it is we can accomplish out of this debt-limit fight.”

The two-year budget agreement Ryan negotiated with Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) did not increase the nation’s borrowing authority, which officials project will next be exhausted sometime in the spring.

“One step at a time,” Ryan said. “Patty Murray and I knew we weren’t going to solve every problem, like the debt limit problem.”

House and Senate Republicans will discuss their debt-limit strategy at separate party retreats in January, Ryan said.

Sorry, Paul.  You already gave up your leverage.  Democrats know that you are scared to death of brinkmanship, and will never have an incentive to come to the bargaining table unless we replace you and your buddies at the head of the dais.

Moreover, the debt ceiling deadline will probably not mature until well into the summer.  Although the debt ceiling law will be reinstated on February 7, Republicans failed to block the Treasury from using extraordinary measures to push off the “crisis date.”  By the time they exhaust their payment shifts, it will be too close to the midterm elections.  Leadership will never take any risks that late in the year.

As an aside, it’s a real shame that Republicans couldn’t block extraordinary measures as one concession from the October fight.  In February, American workers will begin dealing with the initial shock of diminishing take-home pay due to higher withholdings for health insurance.  The outrage over Obamacare will grow from those affected by the private market to the vast majority of workers who will pay more for health insurance in the employer market.  But that opportunity perished in the McConnell surrender bill.

Finally, there is one other reason we will never see Republicans fight on the debt ceiling.  They badly want to pass amnesty.  There is no worse distraction from amnesty than a budget battle.  One of the few positive results of the October showdown after Senate Republicans sabotaged it was that amnesty was killed for the remainder of the year.  The K Street establishment is not about to make that mistake again.

There will be no next time unless we shake up the party in the upcoming primaries.

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