(Update) More government shutdown theatrics this week?


These people are just not serious about governing responsibly. For them, everything is about producing propaganda grist for the mighty Wurlitzer of the right-wing noise machine.

Back in 2011 when the Tea-Publicans were holding the government hostage over a manufactured federal debt ceiling “fiscal cliff crisis” — something the full faith and credit clause of the Constitution requires Congress to increase to prevent the U.S. from defaulting on its debts — the sequestration spending caps idea was born to resolve this manufactured “crisis.”

Spending cuts would apply to mandatory and discretionary spending in the years 2013 to 2021 and be in an amount equal to the difference between $1.2 trillion and the amount of deficit reduction enacted from the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. These spending caps would equally affect security and non-security programs. The automatic sequester provisions would go into effect in 2013 if Congress failed to produce a deficit reduction bill with at least $1.2 trillion in cuts.

At the time, everyone said Congress would never agree to the automatic sequestration caps, and yet, it became law, the Budget Control Act of 2011. Congress, of course, failed to do its job and we have been living under the automatic sequestration spending caps since 2013.

There have been repeated attempts to remove the sequestration spending caps on defense spending (while leaving the sequestration spending caps in place on domestic spending). Congress has agreed to several waivers of the spending caps over the years.

This long-running Kabuki theater is now central to the budget dispute in Congress to avoid a government shutdown at midnight on February 8.

The GOP’s alleged boy genius and Ayn Rand fanboy, Paul Ryan, the “zombie-eyed granny starver from the state of Wisconsin,” is siding with defense hawks and the radicals of the House GOP Freedom Caucus to bust the sequestration spending caps on defense spending while leaving the sequestration spending caps in place on domestic spending — a move Democrats oppose.

The point of this evil GOP bastard plan is to either roll weak-kneed Senate Democrats or to force them to vote against the House GOP spending plan and to shut down the government, so Tea-Publicans can beat their breasts and claim Democrats do not support our military and national defense. Or as President Trump trotted out yesterday, to assert they are “un-American” and to accuse them of “treason.”

The Hill reports, GOP to play hardball with Dems on funding bill:

House Republicans are moving to pair a full year of defense spending with a short-term measure to avoid a government shutdown on Friday, effectively daring Democrats in the Senate to block it.

Democrats have demanded that any increase in defense spending be matched with increases to nondefense spending. They also want to reach an immigration deal before they agree to a broader deal on lifting the budget spending caps.

But House GOP leadership’s decision puts Senate Democrats in an unenviable position.

Following last month’s government shutdown, House Republicans are betting that Minority Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) and his fellow Democrats in the Senate won’t have the nerve to force another closure by blocking the bill.

Senate Republicans need at least nine Democratic votes to beat back a Democratic-led filibuster.

Schumer declared the House GOP measure dead on arrival in a floor speech.

“Sending a cromnibus to the Senate, one that just funded defense and cut programs crucial to the middle class, would be barreling head-first into a dead-end,” Schumer said, referring to a cross between an omnibus spending bill and short-term continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government open.

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and other GOP leaders will pitch the plan at an emergency GOP conference meeting Monday night, GOP sources told The Hill.

Rep. Steve Scalise (La.), the Republican whip, said the House will vote on the package on Tuesday.

“[We’ll] attach the [Defense Department] appropriations bill, as well as community health center funding, to the CR and send it over to the Senate tomorrow,” Scalise told The Hill. “We’ve passed a number of defense appropriations bills, and the Senate has yet to take action on any of them. So it’s about time that they confront the importance of funding our national defense.”

Scalise said the CR will not include language to raise the debt ceiling [which will be exceeded in March], which is being negotiated as part of the broader talks to lift spending caps. Some conservative lawmakers had recently been discussing the idea of attaching debt ceiling language to the next short-term funding bill, as long as it was paired with spending reforms.

In other words, the next manufactured “fiscal cliff crisis” in early March to hold the country hostage, once again. And you can bet that a DACA fix will not be part of the next short-term spending bill either, despite the fact that the trump-imposed deadline is March 5. Tea-Publicans govern by chaos theory, manufacturing crises and holding the country hostage to their ransom demands.

“That’s all being discussed in the context of the cap negotiations, which are separate,” Scalise said.

Pairing the defense funding with what’s expected to be a six-week continuing resolution would appease defense hawks and conservative hard-liners in the House GOP conference, allowing Ryan and his team to pass a government funding bill with Republican votes.

In addition to defense, the bill would include funding for community health centers as well as a package of expiring Medicare programs that need to be extended.

This is a “sweetener” to try to lure Senate Democrats into voting for the short-term spending bill.

The defense portion of the larger funding package would largely mirror a bill the House passed last week. That bill funded the Pentagon at higher levels — $659.2 billion for the entire 2018 fiscal year — but was ignored by the Senate.

It was approved on a 250-166 mostly party-line vote, with four Republicans voting “no” and 23 Democrats voting “yes.”

The House Freedom Caucus will support GOP leadership’s strategy to pair a full year of defense funding with a temporary spending patch for the rest of the government, the group announced Monday night. Freedom Caucus backs GOP plan to tie CR to defense spending.

Schumer accused Ryan of bowing to his right flank.

“Speaker Ryan needs to do what’s best for the country and work in a bipartisan way to fund the government, even if not every faction of his caucus will go along,” he said.

If he lets the Freedom Caucus be the tail that wags the dog, there’s no way we’ll reach an agreement that can pass the Senate,” Schumer said. “And it would jeopardize the positive discussions going on right now about the budget, immigration, disaster aid and more.”

The radicals in the House GOP Freedom Caucus have a game plan to try to roll Senate Democrats, according to The Hill:

Some Republicans who emerged from the GOP conference meeting acknowledged that the Senate may end up stripping out the military funding from the CR. At least nine Democrats are needed to overcome a filibuster in the Senate.

Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) predicted that a “majority” of his group would oppose the CR if it came back from the Senate without defense funding.

But Meadows also said his members discussed the idea of ping-ponging the measure back to the Senate after re-attaching military spending to the bill.

“I think there is a chance,” Meadows said of the Senate stripping out the defense funding, “but there’s an equal chance that we could send it back exactly the same way we did,” he told reporters.

The takeaway is that if Tea-Publicans cannot roll Senate Democrats, they will settle for a government shutdown so they can beat their breasts and claim Democrats do not support our military and national defense. Our authoritarian Twitter-troll-in-chief will up his McCarthyism rhetoric. Tea-Publicans will try to blame Democrats for any shutdown, but the true culprits are the radicals of the House GOP Freedom Caucus.

UPDATE: President Trump has taken ownership of any government shutdown as of today, his blame game of Democrats does not hold water. Trump Calls For ‘Shutdown’ If Dems Don’t Agree To His Immigration Proposal:

President Donald Trump on Tuesday afternoon said that he would back another federal government shutdown if Democrats in Congress don’t agree to immigration legislation that encompasses the White House’s demands.

“If we don’t change the legislation,” Trump said at a White House roundtable on the MS-13 gang. “Let’s have a shutdown. We’ll do a shutdown.”

“I’d love to see a shutdown if we don’t get this taken care of,” the President continued.

After calling for a shutdown, Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA) told the President that Congress doesn’t “need a government shutdown over this,” touting a bill currently working its way through the House.

In response, Trump told Comstock, “We’re not getting support from the Democrats.”

Trump’s suggestion that the federal government shut down again this year came after he lambasted Democrats over the January shutdown. The President tried to blame Democrats for the shutdown, despite the fact that Republicans control the White House and both branches of Congress.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer quickly weighed in on Trump’s call for a shutdown Tuesday afternoon, telling reporters that nobody else wants the federal government to shut down.

“We had one Trump shutdown. Nobody wants another, maybe, except him,” Schumer said.


  1. On This Day in History – Happy Birthday to Ronald Wilson Reagan! Who would be hella-old if he were still alive.

    Double R-Bones gave us the trickle down lie, the welfare queen myth, the big buck racial slur, ignored the AIDS crisis for a few years while Americans died, doubled the national debt while going on a spending binge, had the most felony convictions of any administration, and don’t forget Iran/Contra, which was treason, according to his own White House counsel at the time.

    But hey! Cocaine for everyone!

    And he gave us Bush the First, who invaded Panama killing thousands to arrest one dude, among other creepy things, which then led to Bush the Second (aka Dick Cheney), where we got two wars, which may never be paid for partly because he gave us tax breaks while spending like a drunken sailor, killing hundreds of thousands of people, including 5000 Americans, and the Bush Recessions, the second worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

    Just a reminder that Republicans have been awful human beings since Nixon.

    So a government shut down while the GOP controls the House, Senate, and White House is actually a slight improvement on how the GOP has governed in the past.

    Go GOPer’s, Go!

    Oh, and one footnote, lets all say thanks to the Ghost of Nancy Reagan, for solving America’s drug problem.

    • Take it away Charlie Pierce!:

      “A shepherd must isolate such an animal (with scrapie) from healthy stock immediately because it is infectious and can cause serious harm to the flock.”

      —German agricultural publication, 1759.

      Scrapie is a prion disease, similar in its effect to Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (Mad Cow Disease) and to the wasting disease that afflicts herds of deer, and to kuru, a disease first seen among tribes in Papua New Guinea that was transmitted in part through the ritual cannibalism of the tribe’s dead. Elsewhere in Asia, the custom of eating the brains of a monkey was responsible for cases of Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease, yet another prion illness. Once established in the victim, prion disease destroys the human nervous system. It eats away at the higher functions of the brain. So, when I talk about the prion disease that afflicts the Republican Party, and the conservative movement that is its only life force any more, I do not use the metaphor idly. The party has lost what’s left of its mind.

      Far too many people are far too delicate about this. The Republican Party is completely mad, and it has been going in that direction for a very long time. It has been raving through all the halls of all the governments, large and small, like a lost soul with a big knife. The symptoms of the enveloping disease have been obvious for decades, ever since Ronald Reagan served up the first helping of monkey brains in 1976, when he nearly wrested the party’s nomination from Gerald Ford. It is full-blown now, and it is general throughout the Republic. The Republican Party has infected every institution with its own private insanity.

      For the rest: http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a16636401/republican-party-gone-mad/

      Sure explains the inconsistency & hypocrisy of the good State Senator’s comments here.

      And it just goes to show, the last decent Republican President we had was Dwight David Eisenhower.

      • William F. Buckley gave the Birchers the bums rush decades ago, and Goldwater was rightly shut down, but the crazy keeps finding a way back into the GOP, all the way to the Tea Party through to Trump.

        In 2017 employment growth actually slowed from 2016, less jobs created under Trump than Obama, the trade imbalance got much worse, 90,000 jobs or more left the country including the ones at Carrier that Trump “saved” during the campaign, we lost 40,000 jobs and billions in the tourism industry due to the Trump Slump, hate crimes rose 400%, Nazi’s are marching and killed a young woman and an American President said some of them were good people, the world no longer looks to the US as a good example of democratic values or as a stable economic partner, because Trump has said he’s pulling out of everything, they no longer trust us.

        But the crazy GOP base thinks things are actually BETTER, all because that pesky Black Guy is no longer in their White House.

        In the coming years Trump’s policies will kick in, history has shown trade wars and income inequality and blocking immigration are economic poison, let’s all hope the GOP base can still recognize a train wreck when it sees one.

        • Lindbergh’s America First to the John Birch Society on through Reagan’s/Bush’s Moral Majority to the Teabaggers. The insanity really accelerated with Reagan scrapping the Fairness Doctrine. The House & Senate at the time voted for restoration but St. Ronnie vetoed.

          One of Obama’s and the Democratic majorities in the House & Senate’s biggest unforced error was not reviving that doctrine. The other huge error was forgetting the lessons of FDR & the New Deal.

          • Cats are fine, we’re a dog household, but what kind of POTUS has no pets?

            Trump has no pets!

            Some of these guys had entire zoo’s living in the White House. Dogs, cats, hamsters, alligators.


            Trump has no pets, unless you count Stephen Miller, but no real pet, therefore, Trump is a freak, Q.E.D.

            I left something huge off my Things That are Getting Worse Under Trump – any extra pay you see on your next check is actually a loan, and oh yes, we’ll all be paying interest on it.

            Last year we borrowed about 580 billion to keep the government running, this year it’s going to be over one trillion, because the tax break means less revenue.

            So more debt and bigger deficits.

            No pets. Even Hitler had Blondi.

          • Along with Pet Nazi Miller the Vulgar Talking Yam has Pet Nunes, Pet Ryan, Pet McConnell….; and despite his protestations to the contrary VTY also has a Pet Flake who obediently votes with the VTY over 95% of the time.

            The VTY and his party believe in running the Government like a business….a payday loan business.

          • Melania married a serial adulterer who bragged about what a playboy he was to the press. He got Marla Maples pregnant while married to Ivana and called reporters using a fake name claiming Marla said he was a great lay. Because he’s that sad.

            Melania allowed the Trump campaign to put up a website claiming she had a degree in architecture from University of Slovenia, but no one can actually find any University of Slovenia.

            Learn about Trump’s modeling agency, where Melania worked and may have worked here illegally, and then take a shower.


            She stole a speech from Michele Obama, then blamed the help.

            She knew damn well who she was marrying and she’s got the pre-nup to prove it, because true love requires paperwork.

            She’s complicit, and Barron is the only Trump that deserves a free pass.

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