Fun & Games, Congress-Style: Government Shutdown Edition
Unless you have spent the last week in a hospital because ofoverdosing on boner pills, you realize that folks in Congress are working harder than usual to ensure the destruction of the American, and possibly global, economy. Our least-favorite Texi-Canadian ass monkey, Ted Cruz, has been argle-bargling something something Obamacare, filibuster, and shutting down the gubmint, because the GOP is partying like it’s 1995, and all this makes our head hurt and our hand instinctively reach for mommyblogger’s little helper (whiskey).
Well, if you are wondering what the hell is going on, have no fear (beyond the fear of imminent economic apocalypse), for we are here to wonksplain all that is going on.
First off, class, we need to go over the basics.
Each year, Congress funds the government. If Congress doesn’t pass a spending bill by Sept. 30, the government will be forced to shut down. Speaker Boehner, castrated of all power by the Tea Party wing of the GOP, meekly and defeatedly helped pass a funding bill that stripped all funding from Obamacare, while funding the rest of the government.
Now, the Senate has to pass a bill. Ted Cruz is vowing to use all his magical maple syrup powers to somehow force Harry Reid to stop funding Obamacare, even though everyone everywhere says that this will be unpossible. Mainly because Reid has got mad skillz with Senate procedure, while Ted Cruz is a cosmic fart trapped in human skin.
Unfortunately, the Senate is a really fucked-up place where it actually takes three – THREE – votes before a bill can pass. The first vote, requiring 60 votes, is a vote to debate a bill. Next, they need a vote to end debate on a bill (also requiring 60 votes). And finally, there is a vote on the actual bill, requiring only a simple majority (51 votes) to pass.
Reid plans to bring up the House bill, including the part about defunding Obamacare. He’ll present that bill for the first vote, forcing the GOP to either vote for the bill, or vote against defunding Obamacare. Then, Reid will do what is called “fill the amendment tree,” meaning that he will be the only person able to offer amendments on the bill (yeah, the Majority Leader has kinda ridiculous powers like that in the Senate). Then, before offering any of the amendments, he will move on to the second vote to end debate, still with the House bill defunding Obamacare.
Ted Cruz is trying to get GOP support to filibuster at this point, hoping to use LOGIC to convince Republicans to filibuster a bill that defunds Obamacare. Because the only way to stop Obamacare is to prevent a bill that defunds Obamacare from coming to a vote in the Senate. We don’t get it either.
Once everyone stops pointing and laughing at Ted Cruz after the second vote, Reid will offer amendments to strip out the language defunding Obamacare, maybe offer a few other amendments. Needing only 51 votes on amendments and the final bill, it should pass smoothly. Ass-clown extraordinaire Ted Cruz & Company will be left holding their limp dicks in their collective hands, unable to do anything other than complain to the media.
Next, the revised Senate spending bill will go back to the House. This is when a thoroughly de-balled Boehner must decide whether or not to have the House vote on it. If he goes forward with a vote, it would piss off the Tea Party wing of his caucus. If he just says “fuck you” to the country and shuts down the government, he would piss off the few remaining sentient GOP members who don’t want to crash the U.S. economy. He could also just add an amendment defunding Obamacare to the bill, pass it again, and send it back to the Senate to start the whole process over again. In either case, expect the tin-foil-hat crowd to go ape-shit crazy and throw poop in the streets, or something. No one knows what he will do, so we wait and see.
If there is a government shutdown, some government functions will still happen. The military will still be around, social security checks will still go out, and other mandatory government functions will happen. Including Obamacare. Yep – if the government shuts down, you can still sign up for your socialist medicine-health-care programme on October 1 … which makes all this argle-bargling even more FUCKING POINTLESS. Unfortunately, Congresscritters will continue to get paid in the event of a shutdown, because despite all recent evidence to the contrary, they are considered “essential” to a “functioning” gubmint. Nonessential stuff will cease to happen – no more park rangers, Smithsonian museums will close their doors, and lots of “nonessential” federal employees will stay home, not pass go, and not collect paychecks. This will continue until Congress can pass a funding bill.
And don't forget - the debate about the spending bill funds the government through December 15. At which case, we all get to go through this process again. With more threats of government shutdown. Merry ChristmaHanuKwanz-WinterSolstice, motherfuckers.
If they do pass a spending bill, feel free to breathe a half of a sigh of relief. Because by mid-October, Congress must raise the debt ceiling or our government will default on its debt obligations and there will likely be a global economic catastrophe that makes a government shutdown look like a sunny day.
Hahahaha, we’re all doomed.