We've Been Played for Saps, Folks: Boehner Bill Will Become Reid Bill
July 28, 2011
RUSH: I think we've been played for a bunch of saps, I mean not us exclusively, I just mean the whole country, the Republican Party, ruling class. I'll explain as uncomfortable as it is and as grading as it is, I'll explain as the program unfolds it's great to have you here as always telephone number if you want to be on the program. 800-282-2882. The e-mail address email@example.com
Where are we on the debt deal? I suspect that most of the people, and this is what a lot of people are relying on, "Just finish it!" A lot of people are sick and tired of hearing about it, let's move on to something else. "I'm tired of talking about it. Can't we do something that's fun? What the hell is going on?" I understand the sentiment. Yesterday or last night the Republican leadership succeeded in getting Alan West to flip and vote for the Boehner plan or to commit to it. The same thing with Paul Ryan, and I've had a lot of e-mails: "What's Alan West doing? I can't believe Allen West, of all people." These Democrats, folks, you have to understand who we're dealing with here. This whole thing with Debbie "Blabbermouth" Schultz going on the House floor and accusing West of wanting to cut Medicare and Social Security and all that in the south Florida district, and you remember the contretemps that begin with West responding to it and so forth. They have put his re-election into play and, of course, they've got the media on their side down here in south Florida.
So all over the media is the allegation that Alan West wants to do all this damage to senior citizens and so forth so that's how his vote gets -- I'm guessing. I haven't spoken to him. But I think that's a large part of it. Now, as we all know the Boehner bill is not ideal. It's another one of these eight hundred, nine hundred, I don't even think it gets to a trillion, but let's say it does, a trillion dollars in cuts over 10 years, the debt limit raised immediately so the spending occurs immediately, but it re-invites the debt limit debate all over again in a few short few months and in fact there is from the Daily Caller today a story that says the GOP is stealing Christmas. The Democrats are going back to the Gingrich that stole Christmas theme from the Clinton days. And here's the story from the Daily Caller: "GOP Aims to Gut Christmas, White House Alleges -- House Speaker and national grinch John Boehner is planning to spoil Christmas, White House officials are claiming, as they try to head off passage of Boehner’s two-stage debt ceiling bill."
They don't want to head off passage of the Boehner bill. They want the Boehner bill to pass in the house. There's a trap essentially that's being set, and I noticed that there's an AP story, and way down at the AP story: "In fact, Boehner's plan has enough in common with Reid's -- including the establishment of a special congressional panel to recommend additional spending cuts this fall -- that Reid hinted a compromise could be easy to snap together," between his nonexistent bill and the Boehner bill. What does that mean? What it means is that over in the Senate Reid really doesn't have a bill. He's got an idea, but he doesn't have a bill. And what he's put forth as an idea hasn't gotten all that much support. But here comes, let's say the House, and Boehner doesn't have the votes in the House yet according to Politico. And this is key. That was as of 9:30 this morning and they're going to be working the Republican caucus all day long before the vote tonight. But as of now Boehner doesn't have the votes for his bill. But let's assume he gets the votes. The Boehner bill then goes to the Senate where it's dead on arrival. There are 58 senators that are going to vote against it, by design. However, they've got a bill over there now.
So Dingy Harry can take the Boehner bill and tweak it and rewrite it, make additions to it, take some things out of it, play with it however he wants, and get enough votes from Democrats since it becomes the Reid bill, and then it gets sent back to Boehner in the House looking nothing like his bill, but the rationale for passing the Boehner bill in the House is we've got to do this, the time is up, we're not going to get blamed. So if Reid monkeys around with the bill that he gets from Boehner, and it passes in the Senate, with whatever changes that are not favorable to us, of course, they throw it back in Boehner's lap, and then the pressure is going to be back on Boehner. Okay, do you sign the Reid bill? Do you pass it? Do you get your guys to vote for it and send it to Obama, basically a Democrat bill. That is what a lot of people -- and I sign on to the theory, too -- this is one of the traps that's being set. The Boehner bill is essentially being used to be a foundation for a nonexistent as of yet Reid bill. And thereby the Boehner bill becomes the Reid bill, therefore Democrat bill all in the absence of an Obama plan. No Obama plan at all in this.
There's no Obama bill. There's nothing set down on paper. So the Reid bill will become the Obama bill. The Boehner plan will become the Obama plan. I think that's the trap. And, of course, the establishment, Republicans are all gung ho. "Gotta get this done. It's the best we can get." Because they're telling themselves there aren't any tax increases in it, and there aren't. There aren't any tax increases in the Boehner bill. And there are spending cuts and there are caps, but what happens when that goes over to the Senate and Reid says, "You know what, I like some of this and I don't like that. Let's take some of this out and put some of this in," and gets his votes for it and the Boehner bill becomes something unrecognizable, then goes back to the House, what are they going to do? They've already passed the Boehner bill under the guise that we can't wait any longer, that AAA credit rating is in jeopardy, all this rotgut BS.
So that, essentially, is where things stand. Now, back to this Daily Caller story. The one thing in the Boehner bill, and Democrats don't like this, is that the debt ceiling doesn't get raised enough to get us through the 2012 election. In other words, the Boehner bill is not a full-fledged Obama Re-election Lifeline Bill. But that's what Reid wants to turn it into. Now they're attacking that aspect of the Boehner bill by saying that the Republicans want to destroy Christmas. "House Speaker and national grinch John Boehner is planing [sic] to spoil Christmas, White House officials are claiming, as they try to head off passage of Boehner's two-stage debt ceiling bill.
"'Happy Holidays[,] America: Boehner plan would have the debt ceiling all over again during the holiday season, which is critical for the economy,' White House deputy spokesman Dan Pfeiffer declared today at 9.50 a.m." Now, the Boehner bill would carry us through next March or April -- or at least, the last time the Speaker spoke to us that's what he told us, that there would be enough of an increase in the debt ceiling to get us through the spring. "White House political adviser David Plouffe made the same claim about Christmas almost one hour earlier when MSNBC’s [F.] Chuck Todd quizzed him about the White House’s opposition to Boehner’s two-stage debt ceiling proposal. ...
"White House spokesman Jay Carney repeated the same theme at his midday press conference. A two-stage plan that extends the debt ceiling only until 'the holiday season,' he said, 'would almost certainly require almost all of us to go through this again at the end of the year, the most important economic season of the country.'" Democrats are pulling out all rhetorical stops. Pelosi said this morning, "What we're trying to do is save the world from the Republican budget. We're trying to save life on this planet as we know it today." That's Pelosi. The CBO has scored both of these bills in such a way as to make it seem like there's very little difference between them, spending cut-wise, the Reid and Boehner bills.
There are real differences, but we're supposed to just look at the numbers and say, "Oh, they're that close? Then let's just split the difference." When is the last time you heard that the Boehner bill was very close to the Reid bill? I've never heard that until today -- and they're not close! The Reid bill counts all kinds of "savings" from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and all kinds of mumbo jumbo in there that Boehner's bill doesn't have. What is such a victory in there being no tax increases in the Reid debt ceiling deal? When in the history of the country has there ever been a tax increase included in the debt ceiling increase? We've mentioned this before: No debt ceiling increase bill has ever had a tax increase in it, yet this is being heralded as something unprecedented.
It's not. It's common. There's never a tax increase in a debt ceiling bill. There could be in this one, though, because the Boehner bill sets up this commission of unnamed members. They could do whatever they want. It's claimed that they can't do tax increases, but nothing's going to stop them if they want to. So the question that we have to ask is: Where is Republican victory in the Reid bill? Where is the victory in there being no tax increases in the Reid debt ceiling deal, because there never have been. So that's where we are (at least that's where I think we are) and they are really hustling and they are twisting arms on the Republican side. They're using phrases like, "Get your ass in line." They are saying, "Don't let ideological purity stand in the way."
Boehner said the same thing before the TARP vote. He said the exact same thing. He wasn't Speaker then but before the TARP vote in 2000 he said, "It's crucial. We're at a pressure point in the country where we can't let ideological purity stand in the right thing to do." They're saying the same thing now to the Republican freshmen in the House. "You can't let ideological purity stand in the way of doing the right thing. We've got to do this now," and their reasoning basically, when you boil it all down, is, "We've got to do something, no matter what it is, so we don't get blamed for not doing anything." So that's where we are as I, El Rushbo, see it. I'd love to be wrong. I love being right, as you well know, but I would love to be wrong. There are no real spending cuts in either bill. We went through that yesterday the baseline and all that. There are no real cuts, and certainly not at all in the Reid bill. So we shall see.
RUSH: My gosh, this is really tough for me -- and I'm not complaining for you. I'm just sharing. If the Boehner bill is stopped, Harry Reid is stopped.
If the Boehner bill passes, then essentially the Harry Reid bill is going to take the place of the Boehner bill. The Boehner bill will become the Harry Reid bill. Now, little old me -- sitting here in south Florida, growing up in Missouri, not part of any establishment -- looks at the establishment and I think that they have it all wrong. This deal, if after all of this talk about what a crisis point we are at, is the best that can be done essentially we will be institutionalizing the debt situation. The establishment that this is the new normal will make it $2.5 trillion harder to undo what will be done from this deal. That's what Reid's spending is. Reid's bill is $2.5 trillion of spending. That's the debt limit increase in the Reid bill. So it takes us from 14.3 up to 16.8.
So that becomes the new normal. Now, if we control all three branches, all three branches will have to deal with almost $17 trillion in immediate debt rather than trillions less, and the political situation is not going to be any better in dealing with it. Let's just advance forward and let's say we do win the Senate and we do win the presidency in 2012, but we've added $2.5 trillion in debt between now and then. The political situation is not going to be any better in terms of dealing with the debt. Plus we're going to have to deal with entitlements as well. None of this does.
The Reid bill doesn't deal with entitlements and the Boehner bill doesn't deal with entitlements, and that's where the real hard work is going to be, and so we're kicking that can down the road. The Republicans want a deal now to get it off their plate. They want to be able to say that they did the best they could. "We've taken a good first step." That's what they want, and they want also to have it said that they compromised. There's magic in that word in Washington and they're salivating over the opportunity to be called great compromisers. Politico today, as of 9:43 this morning: "Speaker John Boehner told lawmakers Thursday that Republicans don’t yet have the votes to pass the package, but predicted his leadership team would get the legislation across the finish line this evening.
"'We do not have the votes yet,' Boehner told a closed meeting of House Republicans Thursday morning... 'But today is the day. We’re going to get it passed.' ... Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) also said Boehner admitted not being at 217 votes yet -- the minimum number of votes needed to pass the House. 'I don't think we're there yet, but I think we will be,' said Chabot, who is backing the Boehner plan." They're planning an evening vote on Boehner's package to lift the debt ceiling after the financial markets close this afternoon in New York. Now, Politico says here Republican "leaders feel momentum has turned in their direction after the Congressional Budget Office released new estimates showing the Boehner plan reduces the deficit by more than the bill raises the debt limit."
You know we're not even talking a trillion dollars here from the current baseline? Remember yesterday (there's always so much to remember): If you're just joining us today, if you were not here yesterday, get this: If the Boehner bill was simply a freeze, not one dime spent next year more than is spent this year -- we don't increase spending a dime -- the congressional budget office would score that as a $9.5 trillion cut over 10 years because $9.5 trillion is built into the baseline from which the federal budget is built every year. That's how out of whack this is. If we don't spend a dime, the CBO would come out and claim that Boehner is cutting spending $9.5 trillion, when he's not. There's no cut in a freeze. There's only a cut if you are going to pretend that you're going to spend nearly $10 trillion the next 10 years -- which, of course, it's going to be more than that. The annual budget's over that easily.
The guys at Red State, reading stuff this morning, and they found an interesting passage in Mike Allen's playbook in the Politico. Mike Allen has this thing every morning. It's sort of a take-off of what the Hotline does, a little Dot, Dot, Dot column on all that's going on in Washington, politically; what's supposed to happen today and what happened last night and all kinds of things. It's just the political junkie's delight. There's this little package, a quote from an unnamed top Democrat. "The press will obsess about today's House vote on the Boehner two-step bill, but at best it is an exercise in political machismo. At worst it's the beginning of the most irresponsible act in congressional history, because the House bill is dead on arrival in the Senate.
"At least 58 senators are on record saying they will not support the Boehner bill. That's worse than the Ryan bill. That's worse than Cut, Cap and Balance. So once the vote is over, Speaker Boehner needs to begin immediately working on a way out of the mess Cantor created." That's what this top Democrat is saying. "If he doesn't, we could be in big trouble. There are dozens of possible compromises. He just has to take one. Reid, McConnell and the White House have plenty of options. The question is: 'Will he choose compromise for the sake of the country or political grandstanding for the sake of his caucus.'" So what they're talking about here is the Democrats are trying to say that what Boehner is doing is irresponsible.
He's going to send a bill up to the Senate that he knows doesn't have a chance, and I can tell you their thinking behind that. Their thinking behind that -- and you tell me if you think this makes sense. The Republican thinking is, "We got a bill, the Boehner bill, the Boehner two-step. We send it up there and the Senate votes it down, it's their problem. We had a bill! We came up with deficit reduction! We expanded the debt ceiling. No new taxes. The Senate shot it down. Therefore, the ball's in the Democrats court and it's their problem." That's the thinking. This Democrat is saying that's the most irresponsible act in congressional history. Of course, the Democrat wants something that Boehner would send something over that Harry Reid and the Democrats would vote for, but read this very carefully. The Democrat is saying what I just told you.
Boehner's going to need to begin immediately working on a way out of the mess because it's still going to be his mess, according to the Democrats. They're going to say, "The sent us something that we wouldn't possibly pass. He's trying to make us look like the obstructionist, but he knows we wouldn't vote for this, so why did he send it to us? So we're going to monkey around with it, we're going to send it back to him, and we're going to put the compromise onus back on him again." So the thinking is the Democrats think they can get away after Boehner and the Republicans might think they've won the day on compromise. The Democrats say, "Oh no you haven't! You've sent us something we can't possibly vote for.
"Here. We're going to send it back to you with some changes we're going to make in it, and it's going to be up to you, Mr. Boehner, to begin immediately working on a way out of this mess -- and if you don't, we could be in big trouble." Then Reid, McConnell, and the White House have plenty of options. Here goes monkying around with the Boehner bill to turn it into something that the Senate will vote for, and it goes back to Boehner and then the question: "Will he choose compromise for the sake of the country or...?" In other words: "Will Boehner agree to the changes the Senate makes to his bill, or not?" and if he doesn't, the problem then becomes, "Republicans refuse to compromise," which is what the Democrats want all along.
Meanwhile, the Republicans think that by dumping this thing in Reid's lap, the Democrats are going to end up looking like they don't compromise. The Democrats are a step or two ahead here. That is, if they're not all on the same page and just playing us for saps anyway. However, as Red State points out here: "All the Republicans keep telling us that this is the best they can hope for," that the Boehner two-step is the best they can hope for. That's what they keep telling us: "We've got to do it now. We've got the best we can possibly get." So how is it the best they can hope for when it is going to get less votes in the House and Senate than either Paul Ryan's plan or Cut, Cap and Balance. They're going backwards on this.