the national interest

Senators Near Deal on GOP Surrender

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 18: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) (L) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speak during a ceremony to celebrate the life Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former South Africa President Nelson Mandela on the occasion of his 95th birthday in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center July 18, 2013 in Washington, DC. July 18 is Nelson Mandela Day, during which people are asked to give 67 minutes of time to charity and service in their community to honor the 67 years Mandela gave to public service. Mandela was admitted to a South African hospital June 8 where he is being treated for a recurring lung infection. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

According to multiple reports, Senators Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell are close to a deal to reopen the federal government and lift the debt ceiling. The deal would fund the federal government through January 15, and lift the debt ceiling until February 15. Attached to that would be a pair of minor provisions. Republicans would get some kind of assurance that people can’t lie about their income to get Obamacare, and Democrats would get the delay of a small “reinsurance tax” that was intended to expire after three years anyway (and which unions hated).

This is a huge win for those Republicans who got into the shutdown to help unions. For those who had other goals, it’s basically a total surrender. The policy changes attached to the deal appear to be minor, and reciprocal — each party got something of roughly equal value, so the deal could have occurred without the threat of default or shutdown. Democrats probably will have succeeded in their overall goal of giving Republicans nothing through extortion they could not have gotten through regular legislation.

The Senate, which seems desperate to get this over with, will probably pass anything Reid and McConnell can agree on. The House … well, the House is always nutty, but Republicans seem to have lost a lot of their fighting spirit. So the main question that remains is whether Republicans will be angry enough to skin Boehner alive.

Senators Near Deal on GOP Surrender