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House Republicans took a page from Rump Leader Ted Cruz's playbook Tuesday and tried to pass a handful of mini-spending bills, bills that would fund a few of the things that people were raising the most hell about in the first day of the shutdown. Call it the World War II Memorial pandering acts of 2013.
All three failed, but they're going to take another stab at it today. They will be adding the National Institutes of Health to the list today, because they realize they look like assholes because of the child cancer patients denied care yesterday. The WIC children going without food they couldn't care less about.
Now we're going to get into procedural weeds a little bit, so bear with me. The reason the bills failed Tuesday is because they were offered under suspension of the rules, and bills brought to the floor that way have to receive two-thirds of the votes cast to pass, and these didn't. The key thing about bills considered under suspension is that the minority doesn't have any opportunity to amend them or do what's called a motion to recommit to replace the bill. The motion to recommit is automatic with every bill brought up under regular order and it's the minority's last chance to alter a bill. In this case, Democrats would have probably offered as their motion to recommit the Senate's clean continuing resolution. That may or may not be why Republicans decided to bring them up under suspension. Today, however, they're doing them the regular way.
Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) decision to bring these bills to the floor is not without risk for Republicans. Democrats would like to use a procedural maneuver—called a motion to recommit—to force a vote on a so-called “clean” continuing resolution. That legislation could re-open government, and fund the health care law. If given the opportunity to bring that bill up, just 16 Republicans would have to join with 200 Democrats to pass the bill through the House. But aides in both parties say such a bill is likely to not be germane to these targeted spending bills.
That "procedural maneuver" is not such thing, it's the regular way bills are offered. And the health care law is already funded, so that part of this Politico story is also pretty silly. But the part they probably have right is the germaneness bit. The presiding officer in the chair when the motion to recommit could rule the motion not germane to—or directly related to— the subject at hand, and not allow the motion. How could it not be germane when we're talking about spending in both bills? Well, the Republican bills are very narrowly targeted, while the Democrats' motions would be to fund the entire government and therefore too broad to be germane. Democrats could appeal the ruling, and the parliamentarian would weigh in, but chances are pretty good they'd lose.
Of course, it's all pretty much moot and pretty much Republican theatrics. If they are passed, the Senate will reject them and President Obama would veto them, anyway. So it's one more day of Republicans refusing to deal with the reality that they can't get rid of Obamacare no matter what they do, and that they are on the wrong side of public opinion.
Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Wed Oct 02, 2013 at 09:16 AM PDT.