Our less-than-less-than-do-nothing Tea-Publican Congress has just a week of session days left to avoid a government shutdown on October 1. Here is the House Calendar for September (Congress is also scheduled to work on October 1 in anticipation of the fiscal deadline).
So what do Tea-Publicans plan to do with the few days that they are in session? Why, play to their far-right Tea-Publican base on Faux News, of course! Ahead of Planned Parenthood Battle, House to Vote on Abortion Bills:
As lawmakers return this week for some behind-the-scenes work on a continuing resolution — a measure that could be endangered by anti-abortion members insistent on defunding Planned Parenthood — House Republicans will put forward two bills to address the embattled group and potentially appease those conservatives.
The House is scheduled to vote on two abortion measures: one from Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., that would put a one-year moratorium on Planned Parenthood funding and one from Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., that would add criminal penalties for violating the Born Alive Infants Protection Act of 2002.
Black’s bill would simply prohibit federal funds from going to Planned Parenthood unless the group certifies its affiliates and clinics will not perform or provide any money for abortions, except in the case of rape, incest or danger to the mother’s health.
Franks’ measure, which is still in the process of getting a bill number, would take on abortion doctors who harm infants showing signs of viable life or fail to provide medical care to a baby that survives an abortion.
While those measures may be aimed at placating a particular faction of the House Republican Conference, the House Freedom Caucus took an official position last week that its members — of which there are more than 40 — would oppose any spending measure that contains funding for Planned Parenthood.
Additionally, there are at least eight members who are not in the HFC who have signed on to a letter from Rep. Mick Mulvaney pledging to vote against any appropriations bill that doesn’t defund Planned Parenthood.
As much as leadership may want to believe conservative outrage over Planned Parenthood will be mollified with two messaging bills, far-right Republicans seem unlikely to give up on the defunding fight.
Meanwhile, the clock is ticking on a CR. There are only eight legislative days left in September and top Democrats report they have not really sat down with Republicans to discuss the stopgap spending measure. (Hoyer said on Sept. 11 that neither he, nor Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi — nor Appropriations ranking Democrat Nita M. Lowey of New York — have had any “substantive discussions” with Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., or other GOP leaders.)
With so little time before the end of the fiscal year, Republicans and Democrats are going to have to work out a short-term spending bill quickly, particularly if conservatives promise to oppose any bill with Planned Parenthood funding, and Democrats seem unlikely to go along with a bill that doesn’t include Planned Parenthood money.
Congress is fast approaching an appropriations showdown, even though most everyone in Congress has said it isn’t their intention to shut down government.
That’s right, Tea-Publicans are taking America hostage again and making the extortionate ransom demand that Congress deny women access to health care, or they will shut down the government. The GOP position is to Defund Planned Parenthood even if it didn’t break the law — like the extreme radical religious zealots they are.
The Hill reports, Poll: Public wants to avoid shutdown over Planned Parenthood:
A huge majority wants Congress to keep the government open, regardless of whether that means providing funding to Planned Parenthood, according to a CNN/ORC poll released Monday.
The poll finds that 71 percent of adults say it is more important for Congress to approve a spending bill to keep the government open, compared to 22 percent who say it is more important to eliminate all federal funds for Planned Parenthood.
The poll comes as Republicans grapple with how to avoid a shutdown. GOP leaders in the House are coming under heavy pressure from conservatives to block funding for Planned Parenthood. Congress must pass a funding bill by Oct. 1.
The percentage looking to avoid a shutdown is somewhat larger than it was in September 2013, ahead of a shutdown fight over ObamaCare. That year, a CNN/ORC poll found 60 percent prioritized avoiding a shutdown, while 31 percent wanted to cut off ObamaCare funds more. The government still ended up shutting down for 16 days that year.
The poll Monday shows that Republicans slightly prioritize avoiding a shutdown over defunding Planned Parenthood, by a margin of 48 percent to 44 percent.
Men and women have largely similar views. Men prioritize avoiding a shutdown by a margin of 70 percent to 21 percent, while women do by 71 percent to 24 percent.
So what are GOP leaders to do, squeezed between the mutinous GOP House Freedom Caucus and a public that will blame the GOP for any government shutdown? House Majority Whip Steve Scalise is putting a new option on the table. Scalise: Here’s How to Bypass Senate Democrats on Planned Parenthood:
Scalise told CQ Roll Call Tuesday he is discussing with members the possibility of using budget reconciliation — a fast-track process that would allow Republicans to bypass the threat of a filibuster and force a bill through the Senate — to zero out federal dollars for Planned Parenthood.
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Scalise cautioned there’s no guarantee his plan would succeed. “There’s no silver bullet,” the Louisiana Republican said.
And he wouldn’t rule out the possibility of putting Planned Parenthood defunding language in a must-pass continuing resolution — a strategy that many conservatives have argued is the only way to tie President Barack Obama’s hands.
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While Scalise can’t promise an override of Obama’s inevitable veto of any bill that scraps funding for Planned Parenthood, budget reconciliation is likely the only legislative route out of the Senate, where Republicans lack the votes to overcome a filibuster.
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GOP lawmakers are now faced with the reality of what to use the reconciliation process for. They only have one shot per budget cycle and most members have set the Affordable Care Act as their primary target.
Scalise said defunding Planned Parenthood through reconciliation would not preclude that same bill from also repealing Obamacare.
So this is the hill that Tea-Publicans are willing to die on: denying women access to health care (and repealing “Obamacare.” CBO: Repealing Obamacare Would Leave 19 Million uninsured; CBO: 14 Million Would Lose Health Insurance Without Individual Mandate). This is the GOP’s “War on Women” writ large. The Septuagenarian Ninja Turtle, Mitch McConnell says the Planned Parenthood funding protest is an ‘exercise in futility’.
Democrats are not going to accede to the GOP’s extortionate ransom demands, and President Obama is never going to sign the bill. Democrats and the President will never agree to a CR with a Planned Parenthood defunding measure attached. Democrats will allow the overwhelming public opposition to a government shutdown to bear down on Tea-Publicans until they are forced to capitulate to a CR.
Today, the “Honey Badger,” Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, pressured McConnell on the budget, and President Obama offered that he is open to a short-term CR to prevent a government shutdown. White House open to short-term funding bill to prevent shutdown. But radical Tea-Publican extremists are hellbent on maximum confrontation.
Finally, the mutinous GOP House Freedom Caucus is still plotting against the TanMan, Weeper of the House John Boener. House conservatives warm to McCarthy as Speaker:
With Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) job in doubt, House conservatives have been holding internal talks about a new leadership coalition that could include Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) as Speaker and more conservative members occupying lower rungs on the leadership ladder.
The informal discussions among members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus are preliminary and informal, multiple GOP lawmakers tell The Hill.
[T]he intensifying chatter suggests a vote to oust Boehner could happen as early as this fall.
This is what Tea-Publicans are concerned with instead of doing the people’s business in passing appropriations bills to keep the government running.