#Cliffgate Update: Now A 90% Chance Of A Shutdown
It was virtually inevitable that House Republicans would amend the Senate-passed continuing resolution with changes the Senate has already said it won't accept.
To understand why, I need to again refer back to something I posted more than two years ago, right after I was the first speaker at the first meeting of the House tea party caucus. (You can read all the details here.)
I was talking informally with a number of the members of Congress who had been there after the meeting ended. There was unanimous agreement among those members that the biggest thing the House GOP had done wrong during the 1995 and 1995-96 shutdowns was that it had given in to Bill Clinton too early. The GOP would have gotten a much better deal, they told me, if it had pushed harder and been willing to keep the government closed longer.
Pushing until the very, very last minute has been one of the mainstays of the House GOP's negotiating strategy on budget issues ever since . With one exception -- House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) unilaterally deciding nine days before the deadline to cut a deal with the White House to extend the reduction in the payroll tax -- every budget decision since 2011 has gone up to, and in some cases beyond, the deadline.
This is why no one should have been surprised when the House GOP announced earlier today that it will not simply accept the Senate-passed clear CR. even though there are less than three full days before the end of the fiscal year. It may still do that or, rather, the caucus may allow House Democrats and handful of Republicans to do that, but it will only happen at or just after Monday at midnight...and even that's not certain.
Anything else would have violated the tea party negotiating principle I was told in February 2011.
Based on all this, I am increasing the likelihood of a government shutdown from 70 to 90 percent. I'd say 100 percent but nothing is ever that certain in American politics these days.