Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Are They Happy Now?

We told you so. It's over. No really, it's game over.

As expected, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) finally reached a deal. And here's what's in it.

Many concessions that tea partiers attempted to extract from the Obama administration in exchange for reopening the government and raising the debt ceiling are not expected to be included in the bill. Conservative Republicans had, over the course of the budget fight, demanded a one-year delay to Obamacare, a delay or repeal of the act's tax on medical-device manufacturers, and a "conscience clause," which would have allowed employers to block their employees from buying health insurance that covers birth control. None of those measures are expected to appear in the Senate's bill. The only concession Republicans seem to have won is a slightly stricter set of rules for verifying the incomes of Americans who are receiving subsidized health insurance under Obamacare.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the final bill won't include a GOP proposal that would stop the Treasury Department from using extraordinary measures to raise the debt ceiling. But it will include back pay for federal employees who missed paychecks during the shutdown and establish a committee taskedwith working out a longer deal ahead of the new January 15 and February 7 deadlines. The bill also reportedly includes a provision that could make it harder to use the debt ceiling as a bargaining chip: At the next deadline, Congress would be required to pass a bill if it wants to block the ceiling from increasing. Otherwise, the ceiling would go up automatically.

The House is expected to vote on the proposed bill first, which would allow the Senate to skip some of its cumbersome procedures and quickly move to a final vote. Politico calls this "an extraordinarily risky play" because the majority of House Republicans are expected to oppose the bill. However, Robert Costa of the National Review reported that Boehner has agreed to pass the bill with mainly Democratic votes. There's still a chance that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) could go rogue and filibuster the bill in the Senate, dragging out the debate past the October 17 deadline, but his office has not said whether or not he will do so, according to the Wall Street Journal.

So Congressional Republicans nearly forced America into Armageddon... To slightly tighten income verification rules that were already in the Affordable Care Act? Are they happy now? Their antics likely cost this nation far more than whatever we'll save under the new ACA subsidy rules.

Oh yes, and they get us more austerity. Never mind that it's led to less growth and more job losses. Republicans embraced austerity and declared it their "victory". And as a result, we're stuck with another three months of it.

So Republicans essentially shut down the federal government and threatened to turn America into a deadbeat nation over a nearly inconsequential tweak to the Affordable Care Act and continued government funding at austerity levels? They could have accomplished the same thing three weeks ago without a government shutdown and credit default scare!

Are they happy now? Are they happy about the lost jobs, lost economic growth, and lost credibility they forced upon this nation? Oh, and are they happy about their own mounting political losses?

We just have to wonder...

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