Government Shutdown Over, But the Pain is Just Beginning For the GOP
The ongoing government shutdown has been unceremoniously dumped into history's dustbin as congressional Democrats and Republicans reached a bipartisan deal on Wednesday night to reopen the federal government and raise the debt ceiling. See the course of events in reverse order below.
Final vote tally is out! Be terrified, because the government is back in action and you know what that means:
Here's that tally:
Republicans: 87 yea, 144 nay
Democrats: 198 yea, 0 nay
Some dingbat Democrat did manage to vote no by accident, though:
Looks like there does remain enough intransigent Republican opposition to make it look seriously likely that John Boehner is going to see some awful backlash.
PolicyMic is signing off for the night so we can watch Breaking Bad or something. Enjoy your government, now operating at cripplingly dysfunctional levels instead of completely inert levels.
House is voting now. We'll have the results in a few, but don't expect any surprises. The president's speech earlier was pretty mild, but might have ruffled a few feathers and flipped a few GOP yeas to nays. That said, fewer GOP votes for reopening the government isn't necessarily a bad thing for the president; remember that he has a vested interest in making them look bad.
Well, the GOP is still claiming victory. A few choice Republican quotes Slate gathered:
"As we saw last time, in 1996, we had the last government shutdown, 20-some days, and just a couple of years later we did the unimaginable: We balanced the budget for the first time in 40 years. We got through some of the most meaningful welfare reform that this country never believed was possible. I think part of it is that when both sides see that you're actually willing to stand and fight on principle, it changes the dynamic. It's not evident right now, but I think it will be." - Arizona Rep. Matt Salmon
"I actually think we wouldn't have been able to highlight the mistakes of the [healthcare.gov] rollout without the government shutdown ... Every major newspaper would have relegated it to A7 or A8. Now it's on the front page of every newspaper." - Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador
"The left hates me — the left has always hated me! — the right is with me, and the swing voters are moving. There was some amazing data in there." - Arizona Rep. David Schweikert
"I think this exposed the president and made clear to the public that he’s unwilling to compromise ... There’s going to be a lot of focus over the next few months about the failures of Obamacare. It'll help Republicans because we stood up and fought—and there’s nobody who can blame Republicans, at this point, for Obamacare. We did what we could." - Rep. Justin Amash
Senate has approved the bill to reopen the federal government. President Obama is about to address the nation (presumably to seal the deal with the House by encouraging a vote, rather than spiking the football). Live stream below:
The bill has officially cleared the procedural vote in the Senate, according to CBS's Charlie Kaye:
Now it just needs a simple 51-vote majority to pass, pretty clearly the game is over in the upper chamber of Congress.
Mark Adomanis has some harsh words for the House GOP:
From CBS's always on-point White House correspondent Mark Knoller:
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell publicly revealed the deal on Wednesday afternoon, and the legislation is currently headed towards a vote in the Senate. McConnell and Reid reached an agreement to pass legislation funding the government until January 15 and raise the debt ceiling through February 7. The only condition? A separate agreement between House and Senate leaders to "appoint negotiators to go to conference on the budget."
A minor hurdle remains in clearing the House, where recalcitrant Tea Party opposition to continuing funding the government or raising the debt ceiling appears to have finally collapsed.
"Blocking the bipartisan agreement reached today by the members of the Senate will not be a tactic for us," said an obviously irritated Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner on Wednesday. The bill contains no concessions towards Tea Party demands for Obamacare delays or modifications; more or less, this scenario has proven to be a massive political loss for the Republican Party in general and House Republicans in particular.
For Boehner, the defeat means his days as speaker may be numbered. House Republicans opposed to the deal are clinging to the informal so-called Hastert Rule, wherein no speaker should attempt to introduce a bill that lacks the approval of "the majority of the majority." So 117 Republicans would need to jump ship to avoid crossing the rule, so in other words, it's a given. (This is far from the first time that Boehner's violated this provision, but certainly the most politically contentious.)
All 200 House Democratics may back the Senate bill, according to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
So, in other words, we no longer have to worry about this scenario:
As for Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), one of the key architects behind this whole scenario? He's voting no, but he's given up on organizing opposition to delay the vote. To loosely paraphrase Monty Python and the Holy Grail:
When default raised its ugly head /
He bravely turned his tail and fled /
Brave, brave, brave, brave Sir Ted (R-Texas) /
Yes, the poll numbers turned about /
And gallantly Sir Ted chickened out
And so, America veers away from the abyss, at least for another few months — when the hostage game may begin anew.
This post will be updated as the Senate and House approve the deal.