Reaping The Whirlwind

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Here’s a head scratcher for you, via notices that House GOP leaders just sent out.

Due to the threat of inclement weather Republicans have moved their big House vote on funding the government forward to Wednesday late morning/early afternoon — or as a meteorologist might say, right into the heaviest part of the snow storm.It had originally been scheduled for Thursday, when the bad weather is supposed to be behind us.

That’s an odd way to prepare for a snow emergency. By sheer coincidence, though, it significantly hastens the vote, which prevents opposition from building within the GOP conference — FreedomWorks is rallying members to oppose it — and interrupts Democratic efforts to squeeze John Boehner with a well-organized whip operation.

I asked GOP leadership why they decided to move the vote from a good weather day to a bad weather day, and was told: “There are clearly a lot of different forecasts. Based on what we were seeing the potential for heavy afternoon snowfall had us concerned about Thursday.”

A senior House Dem aide reads the tea leaves: “I think they’re worried they don’t have the votes, and that they’ll lose if they wait a day.”

Sure seems that way.

Late update: FreedomWorks spokeswoman Jackie Bodnar shares a similar assessment: “It seems to be an effort to rush the process. Every hour the votes get bumped up, is one less hour that Members could be crafting and debating amendments to the CR to make it more fiscally responsible. If it was really about the weather, Congress could have postponed the votes to give Members more time.”

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
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