Fifteen days of government shutdown has produced a lot of different things. Few of them could be considered “progress.” The only thing that has become abundantly clear during this shutdown is that the Republicans are losing. And they are losing HARD.
A new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows that while Democrats disapproval ratings have risen from 56 to 61%, a modest increase, Republicans disapprovals have risen from 63% a fortnight ago to a staggering 74%. Listen, when 3/4 of the general public (and 60% of your own party) are blaming you for the shutdown, you’re losing worse than the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Republicans are surely aware of these polls, as they’ve changed what this shutdown has been about approximately 3 times now. First it was completely defunding Obamacare. Then it was the budget. Now it’s the debt ceiling, with a hint of “we still want to fuck up Obamacare.”
A recent proposal by the GOP is to raise the debt ceiling until early February to continue budget talks, while funding the government through mid-January, but only if the Democrats repeal or delay for 2 years the medical device tax – a major pay-for of the ACA. When Democrats balked at that idea, Republicans agreed to a provision that would require the Department of Health and Human Services to certify that anyone receiving Obamacare subsidies met the income requirements; a far cry from their original “defund the whole damn thing” stance two weeks ago.
But herein lies the problem, or at least my issue with this potential deal: Democrats would still be giving in to a bunch of Republicans throwing a temper tantrum. The GOP has turned into Veruca Salt – they haven’t heard “no” in so long that they are sending themselves down the garbage chute – and the Democrats should let them.
That’s not the only problem, though. As we all know, the Senate GOP has been abusing the power of the minority since Obama took office. But now the House is joining in on the action. On October 1st, the House GOP voted to change the rules of the House, using their power of majority, so that any resolution to the government shutdown could only be proposed by the GOP leadership, effectively ending any sense of accountability on the Republicans. If nobody could bring up a vote on a clean bill to fund the government, then they wouldn’t have to vote “no” and take yet another hit in the polls. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) called out the Republicans on this rule change, and it has gone viral.
I don’t care if you are a Democrat or a Republican, this should absolutely INFURIATE you. Not only have the Republicans held our country and economy hostage because they can’t accept a loss (several times over), but they tried to discreetly change the rules so that they could continue to hold the country hostage until they got something they could show for it. Unfortunately for them, it was about as thoughtfully planned out as the hostage taking in Airheads.
I hope the Democrats continue to stand tall in this fight. They already gave up a lot during the first debt ceiling fight in 2011 and need to show that it can no longer be used as a bargaining chip.
Hopefully this fight ends with Democrats saying something like this: