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 »
Special counsel Robert Mueller "is now demanding documents from the department overseeing his investigation." A source tells ABC News that "Mueller's investigators are keen to obtain emails related to the firing of FBI Director James Comey and the earlier decision of Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from the entire matter."
"President Donald Trump would not insist on including repeal of an Obama-era health insurance mandate in a bill intended to enact the biggest overhaul of the tax code since the 1980s, a senior White House aide said on Sunday. The version of tax legislation put forward by Senate Republican leaders would remove a requirement in former President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law that taxes Americans who decline to buy health insurance."
"Members of Congress with histories of mistreating women should be extremely nervous. Major outlets, including CNN, are dedicating substantial newsroom resources to investigating sexual harassment allegations against numerous lawmakers. A Republican source told me he's gotten calls from well-known D.C. reporters who are gathering stories about sleazy members."
"Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence officer who wrote the explosive dossier alleging ties between Donald Trump and Russia," says in a new book by The Guardian's Luke Harding that "Trump's land and hotel deals with Russians needed to be examined. ... Steele did not go into further detail, Harding said, but seemed to be referring to a 2008 home sale to the Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev. Richard Dearlove, who headed the UK foreign-intelligence unit MI6 between 1999 and 2004, said in April that Trump borrowed money from Russia for his business during the 2008 financial crisis."