Not an inch of territory lost. (Not to mix timelines, or anything.)
Last night the Congress passed, and the President signed, a bill whose result is to re-fund the government through mid-January and raise the debt ceiling sufficient to allow increased borrowing into early February.
What Republicans and Conservatives got out of this debacle is this:
- continued funding at sequester levels, including the second, deeper round of sequester-required spending cuts that kick in 15 Jan
- a requirement that HHS verify the income-based eligibility of those receiving ObamaCare subsidies, HHS Secretary certification of that verification, and an HHS audit to confirm/refute the accuracy of the verification
- back-pay for furloughed workers
- a bipartisan budget committee to develop a broader plan—a “grand” bargain—by mid-December. This committee is to be led by the House Budget Committee Chairman, Paul Ryan (R, WI) and the Senate Budget Committee Chairman, Patty Murray (D, WA)
The internal…discussions…among the Republican Party members of Congress demonstrated the lack of cohesiveness within the caucus, and that contributed to the weakness of the tactics chosen for what was intended to be two separate fights—over funding levels and over borrowing levels. In the end, though, the fundamentally weak tactics were guaranteed to fail by the timidity of Senate Republicans, who visibly wilted under the vitriol of their Democrat opponents.
Hopefully, the things to be learned from this actually will be learned, including the demonstrated lessons of the value of a coherent party message, worked out before the battle begins, and the value of actually talking with their constituents and their Democrat opponents’ constituents, rather than just speechifying on the House or Senate floor or granting the occasional interview in a Capitol Hill hall or front steps.
Unfortunately, the cynical divisiveness of dinosaurs like Senator John McCain (R, AZ) in the aftermath of last night’s votes don’t create much confidence in the ability of Republicans and Conservatives to learn those lessons.
Not an inch of territory lost. Sort of.