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September 18, 2013 9:25 AM Boehner Gives In

By Ed Kilgore

I wouldn’t go so far as Kevin Drum and call this a decision to “commit party suicide.” But without question, John Boehner’s surrender to the “defund Obamacare” agitation in terms of what happens next on the fiscal front is a benchmark in the Orange Man’s decline into incoherent “leadership.” National Review’s Robert Costa had the scoop late yesterday:

Leadership sources tell me the House will soon vote on a continuing resolution that simultaneously funds the federal government and defunds Obamacare. Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor are expected to announce the decision at Wednesday’s Republican conference meeting.
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 Democratic Senate and signed into law will be very difficult — and many House Republican insiders say a “Plan B” may be needed.

Ya think?

We don’t know at this point if Boehner has just kicked the can down the road a week or so or has some actual strategy. We can hope he’s got an implicit deal to move ahead once he’s given conservatives their “defund Obamacare” candy. But he may well move back to a “Plan B” that involves releasing the appropriations hostage and then grabbing the debt limit resolution. And if he does execute that perilous switch, will he also switch demands to the spending-level front where at least he might get some concessions from Democrats for allowing the American economy to function, or continue this Obamacare defunding/delay madness?

We’ll probably learn more today when the House Republican Conference meets and decides exactly how wild and crazy it wants to get.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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