The Corner

A Q&A on Defunding

Everything you wanted to know about what the various Republican camps are thinking, but were too bored to ask. For example:

What do the Republicans who oppose the defunding strategy suggest as an alternative now?

They want to use legislation over the debt ceiling—the federal government is about to hit the limits of its borrowing authority—to delay the implementation of Obamacare. To get Republicans to acquiesce to raising the debt ceiling, they hope, Democrats will agree to this delay.

What’s the difference between delaying Obamacare and defunding it?

There isn’t much of one. If you defund Obamacare for the duration of a budget, you’re delaying its implementation. In polls, though, the public seems to like “delaying” more than “defunding.” Maybe it sounds more like an acknowledgment of its problems than a partisan attack on it.

If the budget bill doesn’t give Republicans the leverage to defund Obamacare, why would the debt-ceiling bill give them the leverage to delay it?

Good question. People want the government to stay funded, and don’t like raising the debt ceiling. But the consequences of hitting the debt ceiling are generally considered to be worse than a partial government shutdown. Economists think that by raising the risk that the federal government will default on its debts, hitting the debt ceiling will rattle the stock market, credit markets, and consumer confidence. That doesn’t sound like a happier scenario than a shutdown for Republicans. If Republicans aren’t willing to provoke a shutdown, they probably won’t be willing to see a default either.

Ramesh Ponnuru — Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg View, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

Most Popular

Culture

The Lure of Outsiderism

In a Wall Street Journal piece this weekend recounting his brief and harrowing recent experience at The Atlantic, Kevin Williamson ably notes a common pattern in this moment in our national life. Discussing a panel he attended at the chic South by Southwest conference, he writes: Which brings us back to that ... Read More
Culture

Monday Links

A Supercut of Epic Movie Explosions. Can You Solve These 10 Medieval Riddles? The cost to make a Margherita pizza: $1.77. How much restaurants charge on average for a pizza: $12. The actual costs of restaurant foods. Vintage animation lessons -- how to make things cute. London's "Great ... Read More
World

On Trade, No One Is Waiting for Washington

President Donald Trump’s flips and flops on trade are now as ubiquitous as his 5:00 a.m. tweets. Many predicted that trade-expansion efforts would come to a standstill and world commerce would suffer amidst all the uncertainty. Instead, the precise opposite has happened. In the last few months, it’s become ... Read More
National Security & Defense

Trump’s Syria Quandary

President Trump raised eyebrows recently when he ended a tweet lauding the airstrikes he’d ordered against chemical-weapons facilities in Syria with the words “mission accomplished.” The phrase, of course, became infamous in the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq, when President Bush used it in a speech ... Read More
U.S.

Confirm Pompeo

What on earth are the Democrats doing? President Trump has nominated CIA director Mike Pompeo, eminently qualified by any reasonable standard, to be America’s 70th secretary of state. And yet the Senate Democrats, led by Chuck Schumer, have perverted the advice and consent clause of the Constitution into a ... Read More
PC Culture

The Dark Side of the Starbucks Stand-Down

By now the story is all over America. Earlier this month, two black men entered a Starbucks store in Philadelphia. They were apparently waiting for a friend before ordering — the kind of thing people do every day — and one of the men asked to use the restroom. A Starbucks employee refused, saying the restroom ... Read More