As rough a stretch as President Obama and his team have had over the last couple of weeks, they have one thing going for them right now: House Republicans are in disarray, increasing the likelihood that the federal government could shut down.
"The threat of a government shutdown intensified Tuesday as House Republican leaders moved toward stripping funding from President Obama's landmark health-care initiative and setting up a stalemate with the Democratic Senate," the Washington Post says.
"House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) had hoped to keep the government open past Sept. 30 with relatively little fuss. But roughly 40 conservatives revolted. After a strategy session Tuesday, Boehner and his leadership team were being pushed into a more confrontational strategy that would fund the government into the new fiscal year only if Democrats agreed to undermine Obama's signature legislative achievement."
We'll repeat that again: The effort only would fund the government if the health-care law is defunded. NBC's Frank Thorp adds that if House Republicans agree on this strategy, they could vote on it as soon as Friday.
No way out
To Boehner's credit, he has tried to find a way out of this situation—like originally proposing a two-piece legislative tactic that would have essentially separated the defunding-Obamacare provision from the larger continuing resolution. But here is the situation Congress now faces: 1) We're two weeks away from when the federal government runs out of funding… 2) Both the House and Senate passed budgets, but the GOP side never appointed conferees… And 3) the appropriations process is dead (example: the THUD bill that got pulled from the floor).
(Read more: Americans unconvinced about Obamacare: NBC/WSJ poll)
In other words, Congress is broken, and it's hard to find a way out when something is broken. On top of all of his, what we're talking about is a simple solution to keep the government open for a few months to buy more time. Congress can't figure out a two-month extension??? So if it's this hard to find a way to keep the government funded for a few months, how are they supposed to figure out debt ceiling or sequestration? Again, this is not a debate about implementing an actual budget. This is a struggle over a simple continuation of current policy.