Once again Republicans have managed to box themselves in.
Just as the GOP has reportedly found enough votes among conservative Republicans to pass the latest iteration of the proposed Healthcare bill, with Freedom Caucus Mark Meadows saying “republicans will have the votes to pass” Obamacare repeal, Democrats realized that they once again have the leverage to bring this whole process to a grinding halt. And they are using it.
As The Hill reports, House Democrats will oppose any short-term spending bill – which is what McConnell was hoping on passing to buy one week of time – if Republican leaders attempt to expedite an ObamaCare repeal bill this week, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) warned Thursday. In other words, Democrats are now holding the government hostage indefinitely as long as Republicans – who now have the votes to pass new healthcare legislation – threaten to repeal Obamacare.
Hoyer, the Democratic whip, spoke with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif) Thursday morning to warn him of the Democrats’ position. “If Republicans announce their intention to bring their harmful TrumpCare bill to the House Floor tomorrow or Saturday, I will oppose a one-week Continuing Resolution and will advise House Democrats to oppose it as well,” Hoyer said in an email.
“Republicans continue to struggle to find the votes to pass a bill that will kick 24 million Americans off their health coverage, allow discrimination against those with pre-existing conditions, and impose an age tax on older Americans. That’s why they are trying to jam it through the House before their Members can hear from the American people this weekend about their opposition to this horrible legislation.”
As families prepare for summer vacations in our National Parks – Democrats threaten to close them and shut down the government. Terrible!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 27, 2017
“If Republicans pursue this partisan path of forcing Americans to pay more for less and destabilizing our county’s health care system — without even knowing how much their bill will cost — Republicans should be prepared to pass a one-week Continuing Resolution on their own,” Hoyer said.
As the Hill adds, the threat is significant because GOP leaders will likely need Democratic votes to pass a short-term spending bill in the face of opposition from conservatives historically opposed to government funding bills. Even Trump has chimed in… again.
Ironically, as long as the GOP was split internally, and appeared it did not have enough votes to repeal Obamacare, the government shutdown was a negligible risk. However now that Democrats have realized that the new bill may just pass, they are using the biggest leverage they have: holding one-week continuing resolutions indefinitely, in the process assuring that Republicans may never be able to pass Obamacare repeal, with the government being funded on a week-by-week basis only as long as the GOP agrees not to pass such a vote.
The Democrats’ move comes as bipartisan negotiators in both chambers are getting closer to an agreement on an omnibus spending bill to prevent a government shutdown. If Congress doesn’t act before midnight Friday night, much of the federal government would shut down.
The market, naturally, has noticed, and as Citi observes “the latest bout of headlines has investors on edge – US Republicans and Senate in deep conflict. Speaking to our desks, interest seen – especially for USDJPY – appears to be largely short-term, reactionary. As we type, the market looks for a base. USDJPY now 111.20. US 10y yield at 2.2950%.”
How this particular impasse will be resolved remains unclear.