The Odds of a Government Shutdown Are Falling, Not Rising

A blog about business and economics.
Sept. 18 2013 5:10 PM

The Odds of a Government Shutdown Are Falling, Not Rising

180307632
It's all unfolding according to my incredibly tedious plan.

Photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

A Jonathan Weisman Ashley Parker piece headlined "House Bill Cuts Health Funds, Raising Odds of U.S. Shutdown" is going to alarm a lot of New York Times readers tomorrow morning.

But read on to the second graf of the piece and you'll see that the odds are not rising at all. What's happening is that John Boehner is preparing to pass an appropriations bill that also defunds Obamacare that he knows perfectly well stands no chance of passing, and he's hoping that doing this will placate the right wing of the his caucus for when he surrenders.

Here they explain:

House leaders are hoping the vote on the defunding measure will placate conservatives once the Democratically controlled Senate rejects it. The House, they are betting, would then pass a stopgap spending measure unencumbered by such policy baggage and shift the argument to the debt ceiling, which must be raised by mid-October if the government is to avoid an economically debilitating default.
Advertisement

The key thing to remember here is that the House, as a discretionary decision, operates by the "Hastert Rule" in which only bills that are supported by a majority of GOP members can be brought to the floor for a vote. There is no Hastert-compliant appropriations bill that can pass the Senate. But there very likely is majority support in the House for the kind of "clean" funding bill that can also pass the Senate. All that has to happen is for John Boehner to violate the Hastert Rule. And the Hastert Rule isn't actually a rule, it's something Boehner has put aside many times. But it's also a rule he can't flagrantly ignore, lest his caucus get too grumpy and depose him. The operating theory here is that if Boehner has the whole House GOP indulge the maximalist faction by all passing a defuding bill, that creates enough room to move to later violate the Hastert Rule and pass a continuing resolution.

If anything is happening to the odds of a shutdown, in other words, they're falling, not rising.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Trending News Channel
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.