A GOP Senate Cave-in?

By:  Thomas R. Eddlem
A GOP Senate Cave-in?

Senate Republican negotiators are reportedly considering a grand bargain with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to raise the debt limit and reopen the partially closed federal government with no major spending cuts and no significant changes to ObamCare.

“The framework under consideration,” the Washington Post reported October 14, “includes only minor changes to President Obama’s signature health-care law, falling well short of defunding it or delaying major provisions as conservative Republicans initially sought. Instead, Republicans would get only new safeguards to ensure that people who receive federal subsidies to purchase health insurance under the law are eligible to receive them.”

Moreover, Democratic-leaning unions stand poised to win an exemption from the ObamaCare tax they sought, in the form of delaying a “belly button tax” that would charge $63 per covered person in order to pay for persons in the high-risk pool with pre-existing conditions.

The new deal between Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), if accurate, may make remarks by Senate conservatives obsolete. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) told CNN's State of the Union October 13, “I think it is untenable for the president to say he won't negotiate. And he still repeated that when we were in the White House the other day. He is talking to us which I think is negotiation, but he's also saying ‘I will not pay for raising of a debt ceiling ... I have to get this without any conditions,’ which is sort of him saying unconditional surrender, which is not negotiation.”

The argument over annual funding of the federal government has revolved around the funding of ObamaCare, the so-called Affordable Care Act, which is the signature legislative victory of Obama's presidency. Tea Party senators and representatives, such as Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), have insisted that annual appropriations bills have a provision to kill federal spending for ObamaCare as a condition of moving forward. The Senate Democratic majority has blocked House-passed spending bills, and President Obama has threatened to veto any legislation that does not fund ObamaCare.

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