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It's All About The Compromise Caucus

AP Photo / Charles Dharapak

Just about everything the White House and Congressional Democratic leaders propose at this point is intended to bolster the fledgling consensus caucus in the Senate -- or at least is crafted with the goal of winning over those Republicans in mind.

That's why we're talking about a small bore jobs plan that directs dollars to popular government initiatives and a pretty generic, revenue neutral tax reform plan that concedes lower rates in advance.

It's also why the White House and Senate Democrats aren't trying to turn off sequestration in the appropriations process.

And it's part of the reason Democrats welcome these Quixotic conservative attempts to make defunding Obamacare the ransom for keeping the government open or increasing the debt limit. Setting aside the damage that kind of radicalism does to the GOP nationally, this behavior is at long last splintering the GOP rather than uniting it behind a path-of-most-resistance conservative consensus. It's invigorating the dozen-or-so Senate Republicans who are done with the 2011 way of doing things.

So it's no surprise that Boehner and McConnell rejected this latest White House idea out of hand. The real question is what do Susan Collins and John McCain and Bob Corker and the rest of them think of it. Obviously their support wouldn't mean the plan would pass cleanly in the Senate this week or this fall, let alone become law. But it would be an indication that the same group that's been instrumental in confirming Obama nominees and fighting the right over defunding Obamacare is coalescing around the kinds of ideas that could be included in a future legislative package that would also probably include an increase in the debt ceiling.

This post has been updated for clarity.

About The Author


Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at brian@talkingpointsmemo.com