Congressional Maneuvering to Open the Government

Today is Saturday, October 5, 2013. I haven’t written in a couple days because there’s been nothing in the news that has struck my fancy. This morning, however, after last night’s New Moon, I thought I’d write some of my thoughts on the current situation in Congress after the Shutdown.

The Republicans are frustrated and Boehner yells at the Democrat’s ‘This is not a game!’ after the Democrats discussed strategies to ‘win’ the argument. But it is a game, and the American people know it. Politics has a strong element of gamesmanship in it and don’t mistake that as a reflection of my cynicism. I don’t think it’s cynical at all to talk about tactics and strategies for winning an argument or winning the vote on a piece of legislation.

As I understand it, as of yesterday, the House Democrats plan to introduce a series of procedural maneuvers called a ‘Discharge Petition’ to force a vote to open the government. The House Republicans refuse to allow this bill on the floor for a simple majority vote, for fear of re-opening the government with the ACA still intact. You see, the bill is a stripped-down and ‘cleaned’ version of an earlier Republican petition that had been shelved, but still can be revived. It’s not a new Democratic proposal, which under the rules is not allowed at this time, but rather an old Republican proposal that now has a new coat of Democratic language that re-opens the government and keeps the ACA funded. And that, according to the House rules (of the game) IS allowed.

In order for this Discharge Petition to make it to the floor for a vote, the sponsors would have to gather 50% of the House in support to sign off on it, so 218 signatures. Political analysts say it’s touch and go, but there are potentially 220 supporters, including 18 moderate Republicans who could support it against the wishes of the House leadership and the anarchistic, government-hating minority tea-partiers who have Boehner by the testicles. If the sponsors can get 220 votes, it would re-open the government with the ACA still funded.

This maneuvering will take at least a week to accomplish, so we’re looking at October 14th as the earliest date for the vote–only 3 days before the default-on-the-debt argument/vote. Meanwhile, we, The People, have to sit and watch this ignorant circus, sweating bullets that our duly elected officials might send this country to hell in a handbasket designed by the Tea Party whose Golden Boy, Ted Cruz, is squeezing John Boehner’s tiny little balls.

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