Grover Norquist, founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform, came to the offices of The New Republic Thursday for a wide-ranging discussion on American politics and the future of the Republican Party. Unsurprisingly, the government shutdown and debt ceiling negotiations came up more than once.
Three reasons the Democrats won
It’s over. The Senate voted yes. The House voted yes. President Obama signed the bill and, on Thursday, the federal government is open for business again.
If a body other than the Congress of the United States were actively contemplating a step that would, by the accounts of virtually all economists, tank the U.S. economy, cause interest rates to shoot up, and trigger a financial crisis, we would talk about that body as a threat to national security. At a minimum, we would talk about the step it is contemplating in national security terms. A government shutdown, after all, can invite a national security event, but by itself it isn’t one. It’s a game of Russian Roulette.
Americans who want jobs or mortgages will suffer because John Boehner didn't have the guts to stiff the Tea Party
We’re in Week Three of the government shutdown, speeding toward the October 17 debt ceiling deadline. The stalemate continues, and the Smithsonian's still closed. We know the two parties are talking, but what are they actually saying? We're not talking tea leaves here; rather, definitions. Here's a handy glossary for the procedural and partisan parlance of the "shutdown showdown" and "debt-ceiling debacle."
Democrats and Republicans in the Senate have nearly completed a deal that would reopen the government and increase the Treasury Department's debt ceiling. President Obama has signalled his support, as have Democratic leaders in the House. But House Republicans aren't ready to give up on their dream of threatening shutdown and default to extract concessions. They're making yet another counter-offer, with some of the same demands Democrats rejected perviously—even though, within two days, Treasury is likely to exhaust the "extraordinary measures" it's been using to pay its bills.
Mitch McConnell, leader of the Senate Republicans, approached Democrats with a new offer over the weekend: He and his colleagues would vote to open the government and increase its borrowing authority, as long as Democrats would agree to accept the depleted spending levels of budget sequestration. Harry Reid, leader of the Senate Democrats, said no thanks. It was the third time in less than a week Democrats had spurned a Republican overture.
The Republican fever is starting to come down. It hasn’t broken yet.Members of the Senate GOP on Friday met with President Obama, just as House Republicans had done one day before. And like their House counterparts, they sketched out an idea for ending the current political impasse—so that the federal government reopens and, no less important, so that the Treasury Department gets new borrowing authority to pay incoming bills.
The debate over funding government and avoiding default has officially reached the chaos stage. By my count, no less than four separate conversations are taking place right now: The White House is talking to House Republicans and, separately, it to Senate Republicans. In the Senate, moderate Republicans are talking to the Democratic leadership. In the House, Republicans from the party’s extreme wing are talking to Republicans from the not-so-extreme wing, all under the watchful eye of the caucus leaders. And that’s just the official dialogue.
House Republican leaders on Thursday morning announced that they have a new proposal and it hews to the outlines media outlets reported overnight. Basically, House Republicans would leave the government shut down but give it about six weeks' worth of borrowing authority. Assuming I understand what the Republicans have in mind, the idea would be to use that time for some kind of broader negotiation on fiscal policy, entitlements, etc.—and, somewhere along the way, to start funding normal government operations again.