House Republican leaders on Tuesday morning presented their latest proposal to raise the debt ceiling and reopen the federal government, a last-ditch effort from Speaker John Boehner to pass something out of the House and avoid getting jammed by a Senate deal that is already being dismissed by conservatives in the lower chamber.
But in a familiar twist, Boehner’s proposal ““ which tacks several minor policy provisions onto the Senate framework ““ may not satisfy a sufficient number of conservatives to pass when it comes up for a vote Tuesday night.
“We’re still talking, and we’ll see,” said Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, a leading conservative who has enthusiastically supported Boehner at every turn until now.
The plan outlined by leadership at Tuesday’s closed-door GOP conference meeting builds on the Senate framework, which funds the government through Jan. 15 and extends the nation’s borrowing limit through Feb. 7. In addition, House Republicans are asking for a two-year delay of the medical device tax, and language that will ban government health care subsidies for members of Congress as well as members of the president’s cabinet.
But that final provision seemed inadequate to some conservatives, who have argued for the subsidy ban to extend to a broader swath of federal employees, including staffers on Capitol Hill. “It’s a matter of providing fairness for all Americans,” Rep. Tom Graves of Georgia said following the meeting.
As to the plan that had been outlined, Graves said, “That’s a working document. It’s not the final product.”
Boehner seemed to echo that sentiment in a post-meeting news conference. “There are a lot of opinions about what direction to go.” Boehner said. “There have been no decisions about what exactly we will do.”
Yet, despite a lack of consensus within his conference, Boehner acknowledged there is an urgent need to finalize language and move forward with a vote on Tuesday. “We’re talking with our members on both sides of the aisle to try to find a way to move forward — today,” he said
Still, even as Boehner and his leadership team attempt to cobble together a bill capable of winning conservative support and passing the lower chamber, President Obama and Democratic congressional leaders are promising that it won’t go anywhere.
“We felt blindsided by the news from the House,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on the Senate floor shortly after the House meeting adjourned. “Let’s be clear: The House legislation will not pass the Senate.”
Boehner’s office reacted swiftly to Reid’s remarks on the Senate floor. “Is Senator Reid so blinded by partisanship that he is willing to risk default on our debt to protect a ‘pacemaker tax’ that 34 Senate Democrats are on the record opposing, and he himself called ‘stupid’?” said Boehner spokesperson Michael Steel.
Meanwhile, the White House scheduled a mid-afternoon meeting with House Democratic leaders to mobilize against the Republican proposal. With a multitude of House Republican defections possible at tonight’s vote, the White House wants to make sure that Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi minimizes the number of Democrats who could help Boehner pass his bill.
The House proposal, White House spokesperson Amy Brundage said, represents “a partisan attempt to appease a small group of Tea Party Republicans.”
The majority of those lawmakers, however, are remaining noncommittal until they see specifics from the Rules Committee, which is convening Tuesday afternoon to iron out the precise language of the legislation.
Some Republicans, however, have already made up their mind.
“I’m a ‘no,’” said Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas, who, despite being a longtime thorn in Boehner’s side, has largely followed leadership’s strategy in recent weeks. “But they’ll probably get their 218” votes, Gohmert added.
Rep. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, a leading GOP moderate, praised Boehner’s proposal as a potential swift path to a deal in time to meet Thursday’s deadline for when the nation is expected to hit its borrowing limits.
“I think it does move the ball forward,” Dent said. He described the plan as less a competing measure to one being worked out by Senate Democratic and Republican leaders ““ but rather, a plan that is quite similar.
“It will set up what will be obviously a reconciliation between what the House has on the table and what the Senate has offered,” Dent said.
Indeed the plan presented Tuesday morning by Boehner to rank-and-file Republicans behind closed doors is similar in many ways to what is known about Senate bipartisan plan. The Senate measure itself appears to be a reflection of much of what was floated as a compromise late last week and over the weekend by Sens. Susan Collins, Joe Manchin, and a group of about 10 others senators.
But there are important differences. In addition to the medical device tax delay, the House bill would also eliminate a provision granted to unions in the Senate bill that would delay a tax on reinsurance that labor says would fall heavily on its members. The House plan also would have a provision requiring income verification for Obamacare subsidies, and would end the Treasury Department’s ability to exhaust “extraordinary measures” when the debt limit is approached, meaning the Feb. 7 debt ceiling date would be inflexible.
What We're Following See More »
Before we get to the specifics of this exposé about escorts working the Iowa and New Hampshire primary crowds, let’s get three things out of the way: 1.) It’s from Cosmopolitan; 2.) most of the women quoted use fake (if colorful) names; and 3.) again, it’s from Cosmopolitan. That said, here’s what we learned:
- Business was booming: one escort who says she typically gets two inquiries a weekend got 15 requests in the pre-primary weekend.
- Their primary season clientele is a bit older than normal—”40s through mid-60s, compared with mostly twentysomething regulars” and “they’ve clearly done this before.”
- They seemed more nervous than other clients, because “the stakes are higher when you’re working for a possible future president” but “all practiced impeccable manners.”
- One escort “typically enjoy[s] the company of Democrats more, just because I feel like our views line up a lot more.”
No matter where you stand on mandating companies to include a backdoor in encryption technologies, it doesn’t make sense to allow that decision to be made on a state level. “The problem with state-level legislation of this nature is that it manages to be both wildly impractical and entirely unenforceable,” writes Brian Barrett at Wired. There is a solution to this problem. “California Congressman Ted Lieu has introduced the ‘Ensuring National Constitutional Rights for Your Private Telecommunications Act of 2016,’ which we’ll call ENCRYPT. It’s a short, straightforward bill with a simple aim: to preempt states from attempting to implement their own anti-encryption policies at a state level.”
Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
The New Covenant. The Third Way. The Democratic Leadership Council style. Call it what you will, but whatever centrist triangulation Bill Clinton embraced in 1992, Hillary Clinton wants no part of it in 2016. Writing for Bloomberg, Sasha Issenberg and Margaret Talev explore how Hillary’s campaign has “diverged pointedly” from what made Bill so successful: “For Hillary to survive, Clintonism had to die.” Bill’s positions in 1992—from capital punishment to free trade—“represented a carefully calibrated diversion from the liberal orthodoxy of the previous decade.” But in New Hampshire, Hillary “worked to juggle nostalgia for past Clinton primary campaigns in the state with the fact that the Bill of 1992 or the Hillary of 2008 would likely be a marginal figure within today’s Democratic politics.”
At first, “it was pleasant” to see Trevor Noah “smiling away and deeply dimpling in the Stewart seat, the seat that had lately grown gray hairs,” writes The Atlantic‘s James Parker in assessing the new host of the once-indispensable Daily Show. But where Jon Stewart was a heavyweight, Noah is “a very able lightweight, [who] needs time too. But he won’t get any. As a culture, we’re not about to nurture this talent, to give it room to grow. Our patience was exhausted long ago, by some other guy. We’re going to pass judgment and move on. There’s a reason Simon Cowell is so rich. Impress us today or get thee hence. So it comes to this: It’s now or never, Trevor.”