Wait... What?! Oh, yes. That's right. And TPM's Sahil Kapur has more details on the latest "Fiscal Cliff 2.0" chatter on Capitol Hill.
If and when they do cave, Republicans will be hard-pressed to show their base they got something in return for raising the debt ceiling. In January, they got Senate Democrats to agree to pass a non-binding budget resolution. This time around, the possibilities for symbolic concessions range from a doomed Senate vote to delay or defund Obamacare or instructions to initiate the process of tax reform.
There are a number of demands rank-and-file Republicans have urged leaders to make which could genuinely complicate the battle, such as dollar-for-dollar spending cuts or unwinding Obamacare. Cantor’s memo mentioned neither. GOP members have also called on leadership not to bring up any debt limit bill that lacks the support of half the conference. Boehner hasn’t committed to this and Cantor didn’t mention it in his memo.
There are several reasons Republicans will have a hard time extracting concessions. Back in January, when Obama held firm and refused to negotiate on the debt limit, Republicans folded and agreed to suspend the debt ceiling without substantial concessions but rather symbolic ones. And due to deep divisions within the conference, House Republicans will face enormous challenges in rounding up 218 votes to pass any conceivable debt limit hike.
As we've been talking about here, many G-O-TEA acolytes have been willing to endanger the US & global economy if their radical ideological agenda isn't passed. But now that their demands are looking increasingly far-fetched and delusional, Republican "leaders" are now desperate to find a way to calm down their nouveau Fiscal Cliff fever pitch while also diffusing their latest political stink bomb without embarrassing themselves.
Over time, the G-O-TEA austerity fetish, especially when coupled with political histrionics, has proven to be an economically dangerous addiction. And while they still don't want to give up their Sequester Madness, at least their "leaders" may be starting to realize that their party's madness isn't flattering.
For now, we may hear a few more G-O-TEA Fiscal Cliff battle cries. But just as Version 1.0 didn't end well for them, Version 2.0 probably won't as well. Why? Simply put, reality is not on their side.