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The House GOP Embarrassed Itself Thursday

Getty Images/Alex Wong

House Republicans put on quite a show of incompetence Thursday. It all began midday when House Speaker John Boehner squashed his party’s bill to address the border crisis after it became clear it wouldn’t pass. Then, after originally telling his members that there would be no more votes before the August recess, Boehner convened an emergency meeting, leaving some members scrambling to return from the airport. Finally, the House leadership told their caucus to stay in D.C. another night while they decided how to proceed.

What a mess.

Senator Ted Cruz—who else—successfully lobbied right wingers in the House to oppose Boehner’s bill, because it provided money to the president without forcing him to end his 2012 executive action that allowed undocumented children to stay in the U.S. legally, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Not only did Cruz’s actions embarrass his party, but his policy position is also misguided. That’s because it’s almost impossible to determine the specific reasons for the border crisis. Increased violence in Central America, predatory human traffickers, DACA and many other reasons all likely contributed to it. Yet, Cruz has placed the blame almost entirely on Obama. In doing so, he’s held much-needed funding hostage unless the president accepts his unreasonable demand that he undo DACA.

And make no mistake, that funding is desperately needed. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection will run out of funding in mid-August and mid-September respectively. Thus, Cruz’s actions could actually put our border security at risk. Once again, the Texas firebrand has put his own politics ahead of both his party and the country.

That’s not to say the two parties would reach an agreement without his involvement. They’re still far apart on a number of key issues. But Cruz’s efforts serve only to undermine the House GOP leadership by pulling the party further to the right. Boehner and Co. were determined to prove to America that they could actually govern. Thanks to Ted Cruz, they proved the opposite.

—Danny Vinik

Things to know:

OBAMACARE: Premiums in California’s new marketplace will rise an average of just 4 percent next year, defying predictions of double-digit increases. It's just one state, but it's a big one—and it showcases how Obamacare works when officials believe in it. (Alex Wayne, Bloomberg)

GENDER: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg tells Katie Couric that the five conservative men on the court have a “blind spot” for women’s issues. (Yahoo News)

CIA: In an internal investigation, the CIA revealed that it had illegally spied on the computers of its congressional overseer, the Senate Intelligence Committee. Senator Mark Udall called for the resignation of CIA Director John Brennan in response. (Mark Mazzetti and Carl Hulse, New York Times)

Things to read:

Where the action is: David Dayen says that the Bay Area has become ground zero in the fight against economic inequality. (New Republic)

History lesson: Bryce Covert tells the story of why America hasn’t adopted better work-family policies—and why that may be about to change. (ThinkProgress)

Things to watch:

The House GOP will meet this morning to determine their next moves.

Things at QED:

Rebecca Leber explains why cow farts are part of Obama’s next big targets on climate change. Jonathan Cohn explains his own “Gruber” moment when he had a moment of confusion in a 2010 interview about Obamacare.