Coburn, Toomey: Drop the Policy Riders

by Daniel Foster

Here’s Senator Toomey:

“I’d like to defund Planned Parenthood, but I understand that Republicans don’t have complete control of the elected government,” Toomey said on MSNBC. “I think what we should do is cut spending as much as we can, get the policy changes that we can, but move on, because there are other, bigger battles that we are fighting.”

And here’s Senator Coburn:

COBURN: The one thing I’ve learned in my years here is there’s one reason to talk about something, if you want to talk about it, to create a political climate. There’s another, the common sense way is what can I really get done? What’s the realities of the situation? And my recommendation to my friends in the House is, you know, it’s highly unlikely that many riders are going to get passed with a Democrat president and a Democrat Senate, so why don’t you take the spending and let’s get on to the budget.

I think the senators are right that it would be folly to shut down the government for policy riders that will never become law with a Democratic Senate and White House. But it’s wise for House Republicans to draw the game of chicken out as long as they reasonably can. If the Democrats think they are willing to shut down the government over Planned Parenthood funding (as Mike Pence has said he is), then they are likely to at least offer concessions.