Friday, November 03, 2023


Ed Kilgore suspects that House Speaker Mike Johnson wants a government shutdown:
... Johnson has not committed to the kind of “clean CR” — continuing resolution, as stopgap spending bills are known in congressional parlance — that was [Kevin] McCarthy’s fatal concession. He’s talking about demanding an across-the-board spending cut as a condition for keeping the federal government open. And he’s already shown in his ultraconfrontational gambit tying aid to Israel to a demagogic cut in IRS funding that he is even more prone than McCarthy was to placating the hard-right faction in the House GOP (of which he is a charter member).
We knew all this -- but it appears that Johnson is also considering a new impediment to full funding of the government, or, rather, several new impediments:
The latest wrinkle the new Speaker has added to the stopgap spending-bill discussions is a bizarre idea that would immensely complicate matters, as Government Executive explains:
Federal agencies could face an ongoing series of independent shutdown threats under a proposal put forward by House Republican leadership on Thursday, who pitched the idea with just more than two weeks until current funding expires.

While details on the plan were not yet made clear, House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., said he was considering rolling out a “laddered CR,” or continuing resolution, that would create multiple stopgap bills that fund different parts of the government and have different end dates. Rather than the normal tact of keeping all agencies afloat under one short-term spending bill, the measures would be more narrowly focused and set up unique deadlines for each bill.
...Trouble is, in a time of divided government and partisan appropriations, multiplying the number of bills on which highly divisive time-sensitive negotiations must take place from one to 12 is a recipe for gridlock and chaos.
The figurative hostage taker who leads the House GOP seems to be learning techniques from literal hostage takers. If you have twelve hostages, of course you don't threaten to kill all twelve if your demands aren't met. You threaten to kill them one at a time, for maximum leverage and shock value. Dividing the budget into twelve must-pass bills with twelve unique deadlines is the legislative equivalent of this.

Also, this gambit gives Johnson and his allies twelve separate opportunities to do the most important thing a Republican politician can do: go on Fox News and demonize Democrats. This is a critical need Kevin McCarthy simply didn't understand.

Kilgore says this is "a recipe for gridlock and chaos." That's what Republicans want. They think government is bad, and when they fear that it might not seem bad, they want to ensure that it is bad. That's what you're voting for when you vote GOP.

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