Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., said Democrats are struggling to find a way to let Republicans save face and end the government shutdown, and he suggested that a solution could be a concession on the medical-device tax, which the Republicans want to repeal.
McDermott, the ranking member on the Ways and Means Committee Health Subcommittee, told National Journal in an interview Wednesday that he is concerned that Republicans are content to continue the shutdown until the debt ceiling hits its limit in mid-October and drives up the economic stakes.
“I call it going on Cruz control,” McDermott said, referring to Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who is seen as fomenting shutdown furor. “He’s got us going in a way that we are going to go spinning down to the debt limit, and at that point I don’t know what happens,” McDermott said.
“My feeling is that we may go into all of that for a couple of days until the bond markets start — and then some folks who are in the moneyed class in this country say, ‘What in the hell is going on? Stop this.’ “
McDermott, a former psychiatrist, said that in conversations in the House gym he has tried to understand the way his conservative colleagues see the endgame.
“They think that somehow it is going to work out in two weeks when they get to the debt limit, then they’ll finally have enough pressure, that they can get the president to cave,” he said.
Democrats are quick to pooh-pooh this strategy but the prospect is clearly disconcerting.
McDermott said that in politics, when your opponent has a losing position, the trick is to find a way to let him save face — which is something confounding Democrats now.
“The old rule in the Chicago playground was, when you’ve got your foot on somebody’s neck, don’t press, because you might be on the ground sometime and you don’t want him to press on you.”
McDermott said the game is the same on Capitol Hill. “What we are struggling with now is finding a face-saving way of letting these guys get out of an impossible situation,” he said laughing. “How do I let you lose so you don’t look like a fool?”
McDermott suggested a concession on the medical-device tax used to offset some of the cost of the Affordable Care Act could be one option to pursue.
“Does the tax on devices get rid of that? Is that the face-saver?” he posited. “It could. It blows a $40-billion hole in the funding of the Affordable Care Act, so I mean you could look at that a lot of different ways. You could say, ‘Well, all right, that was the Senate’s idea. House members, Democrats, never thought it was a good idea in the first place.’ But there are a lot of different ways to talk about that, so maybe that is the face-saver.”
What We're Following See More »
"The Senate Judiciary Committee has subpoenaed Paul Manafort to appear publicly before the committee on Wednesday. Committee leaders Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) announced Tuesday that they had subpoenaed Manafort on Monday night."
"A US Navy ship fired warning shots at an armed Iranian patrol boat Tuesday in the northern end of the Persian Gulf, according to two US defense officials. The Iranian boat is believed to have been operated by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, according to a defense official familiar with details of the incident. The officials said the Iranian boat approached and came within 150 yards of the US ship." The Iranian boat didn't respond to warnings. Fearing collision, the Navy ship fired warning shots into the water and then the Iranian ship stopped, but lingered in the area.
"President Trump and his advisers are privately discussing the possibility of replacing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and some confidants are floating prospects who could take his place were he to resign or be fired, according to people familiar with the talks." Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) is one prospect. But "in a statement released late Monday, Cruz said he is 'deeply gratified that we have a principled conservative like Jeff Sessions serving as Attorney General. The stories being reported in the media tonight are false. My focus is and will remain on fighting every day to defend 28 million Texans in the U.S. Senate.'"
"House Republicans this week are increasing the possibility of a government shutdown in October by moving forward with a $788 billion spending bill that complies with President Donald Trump’s demands to boost the military, reduce clean-energy programs and fund a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Those priorities, especially $1.6 billion in wall funding, guarantee House and Senate Democratic leaders will oppose the bill. Trump has urged his Republican supporters in Congress to fight, saying in May that a 'good' shutdown may be needed to advance his agenda."