The PJ Tatler

GOP's King Canute Caucus Writes Their Own Continuing Resolution

Forty-three GOP House members have written an alternative continuing resolution to the leadership’s version that commands the tide not to roll in — or rather, the legislative equivalent of such.

Roll Call reports:

Forty-three House Republicans have introduced their own continuing resolution that they think would achieve the goal of both cutting spending and defunding Obamacare better than the plan GOP leaders put forth Tuesday.

Rather than fund the government for a month and a half at the post-sequester top line of $988 billion, it would run through all of fiscal 2014 at the lower, $967 billion levels many Republicans favor.

And, instead of relying on a legislative maneuver to force the Senate to vote on defunding Obamacare without risking a shutdown at the end of the month, it contains language that would actually zero out funding for the president’s signature health care law.

It could spell trouble for the Ohio Republican and other members of the leadership team as they try to come up with a strategy that won’t alienate their base but has an actual chance of passing the Senate.

“Our plan will achieve fairness for every American by fully delaying and defunding Obamacare until 2015,” Rep. Tom Graves of Georgia said in a statement. “This approach builds upon the Obama Administration’s policy of delaying portions of Obamacare and relieves taxpayers of the burden of funding a program that is not being implemented.”

Heritage Action for America likes the sound of this.

“Rep. Graves and his colleagues are stepping up to fill a critical void in the House,” said Mike Needham, the group’s CEO. “We encourage all members to support the Graves bill.”

Though this might have the votes to pass the Republican-controlled House, the chance for getting the green light from the Senate and the White House appears even less likely than the plan GOP leaders presented to members earlier this week.

“As we all know, the speaker has a problem, how to get the government funded,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Thursday. “I told him very directly that all these things they’re trying to do on the Obamacare is just a waste of their time.”

The legislation introduced earlier in the week by the House leadership contains a separate resolution that would accomplish exactly the same thing the King Canute Caucus wants — no funds spent on Obamacare.

But that simply isn’t good enough for the tide deniers. Perhaps the problem is that they’re so used to disagreeing with the leadership that when Boehner actually bends to their wishes, they assume some dark, unknowable conspiracy at work and reflexively refuse to support it. The difference is that when the Senate votes down the concurrent resolution defunding Obamacare, they can still vote to keep the government operating for a few months. The King Canute Caucus version leaves Senate Democrats no alternative. In fact, it is doubtful Harry Reid would even bring such a bill to the floor of the Senate.

There is a slight difference in the money appropriated — $986 billion in the leadership bill to $967 for the alternative. Leaving aside the question of Obamacare defunding, Senate Democrats will whine about the money, but probably end up voting for either amount. Their goal is to “fix” the sequester where they figure they can recoup any cuts made by the GOP in this showdown.

The leadership version of the CR was pulled from consideration last week after it became clear that most House Democrats were going to oppose the legislation and Boehner was unable to convince enough members of the KCC to back the plan. There may be a vote in the coming week if the leadership can lean on a few rebels to change their minds, perhaps offering concessions on the numbers side of the ledger to sweeten the pot for fiscal hawks.

Some may think I’m being harsh referring to a “King Canute Caucus.” But if I wanted to be mean, I could have referred to them as the “Crazy, Irresponsible, Loony-Tunes Government Shut Down Caucus.” I would have had difficulty fitting that in a headline, however, and my boss is getting on my case about not having short, punchy captions to introduce my posts.