The Republican House leadership will give in to their conservative charges and stage (another!) vote to defund Obamacare as part of a continuing resolution to keep funding the government, according to the National Review. The internal GOP fight about an anti-Obamacare provision in the resolution has played out to the side of the main stage drama over Syria, but with Congress facing a September 30th deadline to keep the government funded, Boehner, Cantor and co. need to do something to get the fight over what the next few months of government funding will look like at least out of the gate.
Here's the National Review, who note that the leadership will announce the vote Wednesday:
This means the conservatives who have been urging Boehner to back a defunding effort as part of the CR have won a victory, at least in terms of getting the leadership to go along with their strategy. But getting such a CR through the Senate and signed into law will be very difficult — and many House insiders say the vote may be just the first vote in a long series of legislative ping pong.
While "very difficult" might be an understatement, the point is that the GOP almost certainly won't be able to vote on an Obamacare defunding continuing resolution and just be done with it. It's an appeasement measure. Earlier, CBS reported on the internal tensions that brought the vote into the picture in the first place, and an earlier version of the plan that would have provided an easy out for the Obamacare defunding measure in the Senate:
"We must use every legislative avenue available, through the CR, the debt ceiling, and sequester conversations to free the country from the President's train-wreck of a healthcare law," Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, said in a statement Wednesday. Scalise is part of a conservative contingency that wants to pass a CR that would delay major parts of Obamacare for one year. "While we're not there yet, productive conversations towards that goal continue," he said.
Other House Republicans, however, are more concerned with preventing a government shutdown -- and shifting responsibility for taking down Obamacare to the Senate. To do that, House leaders unveiled a plan this week to vote on two measures -- a continuing resolution to keep the government funded, as well as an amendment to defund Obamacare. The plan was to pass the measure under specific rules that would let the Democratic-led Senate pass the continuing resolution and send it to President Obama without passing the Obamacare amendment -- as long as the amendment was voted on. In other words, it would purely serve to put senators on record supporting or opposing Obamacare.
But it looks like the measure the House ended up with won't provide that easy separation — the measure will simultaneously fund and defund, without the opt out amendment structure. It's the latest iteration of a conservative push to refuse to continue to fund the government unless Obama agrees to defund Obamacare. And while this round is likely just as symbolic, and doomed to fail, as every previous attempt, we now know more about the line conservatives see between too much symbolic opposition, and just the right amount.