Don’t call it a shutdown …

Mickey Kaus Columnist
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Am I missing something …? : I think Obama’s executive amnesty is probably unconstitutional, and in any case it’s bad policy. A Congress mindful of its place in our democracy would stop it on balance-of-powers grounds alone. I also share Byron York’s puzzlement over why, exactly, it has to be stopped now, as opposed to after January when Republicans will have majorities in both Houses.

What I (and others) also don’t understand, though, is why the Republican House can’t at least try now, by attaching a defunding “rider” to whatever budget bill it decides to pass. (There are lots of other such riders being attached already.)  When the bill reaches the Senate, anti-amnesty forces have at least a shot at getting enough senators to defy Harry Reid and pass the rider: Manchin, Donnelly, Heitkamp, McCaskill, King and Tester have already expressed their misgivings, and there are rumblings about Carper. That’s not even counting the red state lame duck losers (Pryor, Hagan and presumably Landrieu) who may be beyond the reach of constituents. Get five of those and maybe the bill passes, which would be highly embarrassing to Obama and Reid. It would kill the administration talking point that only recalcitrant Republicans think Obama has overstepped. Congress would be saying Obama overstepped.

President Obama would veto the bill, of course. The House could then come back with a “clean” riderless version funding the government (for a shorter period, perhaps –at least when it came to funding the amnesty-processing Department of Homeland Security). There would be no shutdown. But the point would have been made. Even if the required number of Democrats didn’t defect, they’d have been forced to take an unpleasant vote that might be used against them in the future.

Why won’t Speaker Boehner at least let his party give this a try?** I don’t see a big downside.*** The GOPS could always try again next year, whenever the funding expired.


** — Does Boehner secretly, or not-so-secretly, want his caucus to calm down about immigration and Obama’s unilateralism? Then his current strategy (of avoiding a rider) still makes no sense. It will only keep opponents pissed off.

*** — The press may try to scream shutdown for a week, before it’s obvious there will be no shutdown. Within three weeks this will look silly.