Today's vote in the House of Representatives to raise the debt ceiling, fund the government through December, and appropriate funds for hurricane recovery efforts was not a close vote, but one number does stand out.
Every Democratic member of Congress voted for each measure, but 90 Republicans voted against the minimum level of responsibility that could be placed on them, and they weren't happy about it.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney both humiliated themselves in front of House Republicans this morning where the two men asked the caucus to support Trump's deal with Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi.
Mnuchin elicited hisses when he told the meeting of House Republicans “vote for the debt ceiling for me,” said Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C.
Rep. Ryan Costello, R-Pa., described a surreal scene with Mnuchin, a former Democratic donor, and Office of Management and Budget Director Mulvaney, who opposed clean debt ceiling hike’s as a congressman, pressing Republicans to rally around the disaster aid package.
“It’s kind of like ’Where am I? What’s going on here?’” Costello said, “if it wasn’t so serious it kind of would have been funny.”
Mulvaney defended the deal and Trump.
“It was absolutely the right thing to do,” Mulvaney said. “The president is a results-driven person, and right now he wants to see results on Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, and tax reform. He saw an opportunity to work with Democrats on this particular issue at this particular time.”
The pool report from the meeting at the White House where Trump sided with Democrats over Republicans noted that Steve Mnuchin was cut off mid-sentence by Trump to say that he will support the Democratic plan. And if you know anything about Mick Mulvaney, you'd know that he never would have voted for this if he were still a congressman. His former colleagues probably can't even recognize their old pal from the Batshit Caucus.
Why did Mnuchin and Mulvaney debase themselves for Trump? To "clear the deck," as they say, for "tax reform?"
If that was their motivation, that makes this even more amusing because passing these bills today will make it less likely that the GOP's tax cuts for the rich will find room to breathe later this year when the debt ceiling and government funding come up again.
As for the 90 Republicans who voted against these basic measures today, it's not as if they were being asked to do something extraordinary. Keeping the government running and funding relief efforts is the absolute minimum amount of competence expected of them. This is only extraordinary if you're a Republican who believes the functioning of society should always be hinge on your fetish for hostage crises.
If these events made Mnuchin, Mulvaney and House Republicans uncomfortable, I believe they should get used to it. When "tax reform" fails, experience tells us Trump will take his frustrations out on his advisers and Republican leaders. And they deserve it for being such gutless sycophants who've made every excuse there is for Trump.