As of today, more than 17 House Republicans have gone on the record supporting a “clean” continuing resolution, which would re-open the government without touching ObamaCare. This is important, because that means there are officially enough votes in the House of Representatives to end the government shut down, assuming that every Democrat voted for such a measure (which, according to Nancy Pelosi, they would).
However, despite the fact that the majority of House members—200 Democrats and 20 Republicans—now support a clean CR, John Boehner still refuses to put it up for a vote. Why? Because doing so would fracture his party, and keeping the Republican caucus united is apparently Boehner’s number one priority as a public servant.
In other news, Republican and Democratic leaders sat down in person for the first time to discuss ways they might end the government shutdown. Unfortunately, the meeting was completely fruitless, accomplished nothing, and ended with both sides blaming each other for not negotiating. Way to go, y’all.
Pelosi, Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Harry Reid and, just for kicks, Joe Biden talked for an hour and a half about how to solve the impasse, but were no closer to reaching a deal at the end than when they’d started. Boehner is steadfastly refusing to re-fund the government without also chipping away at the Affordable Care Act, and Democrats are steadfastly refusing to let that happen. So it’s a standstill.
There is one glimmer of hope: A group of “centrist” House Republicans who still sort of live in reality have begun holding meetings to figure out how, if at all, they might be able to team up with House Democrats, hijack the House floor and put a clean CR up for a vote. This group is led by Peter King, who’s plenty crazy in other regards but has somehow become one of the most reasonable Republican voices in this entire mess, a fact that itself illustrates just how deluded the House GOP is right now.
Within that group, the question is when to try such a maneuver. King wants to act immediately; others think that, if they give Boehner just a couple more days, he’ll be able to convince President Obama it really is in Democrats’ best interest to strike down ObamaCare in exchange for another month of routine government functioning.
So, that’s where we’re at: The future of the U.S. economy lies in the hands of 20 Republicans who are just a little bit less crazy than the rest of their colleagues. Time to get a drink.