U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash., belatedly joined more than two dozen House Republicans Tuesday night in support of no-strings-attached legislation to reopen government and raise the debt ceiling.
It appears she’ll have a chance to make good on her word Wednesday, as the Senate is passing both to the House, perhaps for a vote Thursday. This is a full capitulation by the GOP and admission it made a historic blunder. And if the House does vote on no-(or few)-strings-attached bills, it will do exactly what President Obama dared Speaker John Boehner to do nine days ago.
How much credit does Herrera Beutler deserve for breaking from her party’s nihilism? Only a little, because it came as a deal was already being cooked. But it’s more than what Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash., has done. He said on Oct. 4 that he’d vote on any bill that kept government open, but it was such a passive and weak statement that it could be read to support, or buck, his party.
Contrast that with Herrera Beutler’s direct statement:
“Despite my skepticism, until now I have refrained from public comment on the House budget negotiating strategy. I wanted to give House Republican leaders leeway to craft the best deal they could. But it’s time to reopen the government and ensure we don’t default on our debt. I will not vote for poison pills that have no chance of passing the Senate or being signed into law.
Herrera Beutler suggested the final straw was the grounding of an airlift helicopter based at Longview’s St. John’s Medical Center because it wasn’t able to get certification from the Federal Aviation Administration. The same hospital hasn’t been able to use a new $2 million breast cancer imaging machine, due to shutdown of the Food and Drug Administration, according to The Daily News of Longview.
“We have a beautiful machine in a renovated faculty and the staff all trained and ready to go, but we here we wait,” (hospital spokesman Randy) Querin said. “It’s frustrating because so many people worked so hard to make this happen.”
Needless self-inflicted pain on the economy. Who knows how it will play out in 2014, when Herrera Beutler and Reichert are up for re-election, but it’s clear who voters blame in the moment.