Freedom Caucus set up to take blame for a shutdown
The clock continues to count down toward the day when the federal government runs out of money (April 29, to be precise). The possibility that the government might shut down operations has all sorts of people concerned -- and if you read this passage carefully, you will see the scapegoats are already being rounded up:
Behind-the-scenes: If Trumpcare 1.0 hadn't been such a mishandled flop, the administration might be willing to pick real funding fights over sanctuary cities or Planned Parenthood. But with healthcare still unresolved, the White House can't risk another calamity like a shutdown. The administration will be happy to claim a couple of "victories" — like boosted military spending and border security money, if not specifically for the bricks-and-mortar wall — and then move on as quickly as possible.
The wildcard: Chuck Schumer has plenty of leverage and won't concede anything of value to Trump in the negotiations; but he's the predictable one. Top sources in the House and Senate tell me their much bigger concern is the Freedom Caucus. If these ultra-conservative House members come back from recess and ask for things leadership can't deliver — like defunding Planned Parenthood or cutting the payments to Obamacare insurers — then leadership and the White House will have a new crisis on their hands.
The White House -- or at least some sources in the White House willing to speak anonymously to the press -- are ready to put the blame for a shutdown (if it happens) at the feet of conservative Republicans.
This is a look behind the curtain, how storylines are developed and peddled inside the DC swamp. Liberal Sen. Chuck Schumer? He's no problem -- nevermind that he has been promising to force a shutdown for weeks in order to thwart the Administration and damage Republicans in general.
Instead, put the blame on the people who want to enact the policies candidate Trump touted on the campaign trail. They were convenient scapegoats during the failed Obamacare repeal effort (even though their opposition stopped a truly bad piece of legilation form advancing out of the House). They are being set up again.
At some point, some of the West Wing leakers need to understand that beating up on their own team is a foolish, and ultimately destructive, strategy.