The Republican Party is in re-runs

Just when you thought the 113th Congress was done being The Worst Legislative Body in the History of Legislative Bodies, they’ve found one last way to cement their awfulness! And you just know that this upcoming government shutdown is going to be the best one EVER!

Just 24 hours ago, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and the House Republican leadership team thought they’d come up with a credible plan to prevent a government shutdown. It was clearly a little convoluted, but the blueprint seemed likely to get Congress out of a jam of its own making.

Part One of the plan would include a House vote this week on a symbolic, far-right bill to undo President Obama’s new immigration policy. This is designed to make conservatives feel better, despite being a hollow gesture. Part Two would be a second vote next week on a spending bill that would fund nearly all of the federal government through the end of the fiscal year in September. And Part Three of the plan would isolate funding for the Department of Homeland Security, funding the agency for only a few months, opening the door to a new fight in early 2015.

But as the afternoon progressed yesterday, it became clear that the right is not satisfied. Politico reported overnight:

The “Hell No” caucus is once again causing headaches for Republican leadership.

A cadre of the House’s most conservative members will meet Wednesday morning at the Capitol Hill Club for Rep. Steve King’s regular breakfast to discuss lame duck legislation. Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, who often serves as a de facto spokesperson for congressional hardliners, is expected to attend.

These hardline Republicans are already expressing their dissatisfaction with the plan outlined by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) during a closed door meeting Tuesday morning…. These conservatives estimate the number of Republican “no” votes near 30 to 40 – enough to derail a vote on the government funding bill if Democrats oppose the measure.

Awesome. It doesn’t feel like Christmas if House Republicans aren’t threatening to layoff thousands of federal workers just in time to keep them from buying presents, or, you know, food and heat and stuff.

For added fun, here’s Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-Elizabeth Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane) just itching to wreck Christmas for people all over the country who depend on the federal government for a paycheck and/or government assistance because, hey, maybe it’ll be good politics for the GOP:

Asked if leaders are too “gun shy” about a government shutdown, the Idaho Republican was clear.

“I think they are and I don’t understand why,” he said. “We had a shutdown a year ago, and we just got the biggest majority we’ve ever had in the House since 1928, and one of the largest majorities we’ve ever had in the Senate. So I don’t understand their reasoning for taking anything off the table.”

"Can't think of a downside to this, to be honest...Nope, nothing comes to mind."
“Can’t think of a downside to this, to be honest…Nope, nothing comes to mind.”

If you can think of any other reason why yet another government shutdown might be a bad idea apart from the all-important question of how Republicans will do in the next election, please feel free to contact Representative Labrador and share it with him:

1523 Longworth HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 225 – 6611
Fax: (202) 225 – 3029

Is there any other government that voluntarily shuts itself down every December because half of the freaking political system has a big old temper tantrum when it comes time to make the budgets? Usually when other governments shut down it’s because, I don’t know, rebel forces are swarming through the streets of the capital or something equally serious. Ours shuts down because the party controlling the House of Representatives thinks it’s great politics and good clean fun. After all, nobody gets hurt by a government shutdown apart from the people who get hurt by it, and Raúl Labrador doesn’t know any of them (I assume he thinks his congressional staff is full of volunteers who are just happy to be near him every day), so really he can’t even be sure they exist.


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