New bipartisan negotiations over fiscal policy are underway, as a result of the deal that ended the government shutdown. But don’t expect these negotiations to produce a “grand bargain” in which Democrats and Republicans each make major concessions.
It was an awful time. Federal employees had to take unpaid furlough days. Beneficiaries were thrown off of federal programs. Courthouses had to be sold. Federal agencies like the FBI, the Food and Drug Administration, and the National Institutes of Health strained to meet commitments, leading to more crime, more outbreaks of disease and less basic research, among other horrors.
Americans who want jobs or mortgages will suffer because John Boehner didn't have the guts to stiff the Tea Party
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.
Last week, House Speaker John Boehner reportedly floated the idea that the government shutdown and debt-ceiling crisis could be resolved with a "grand bargain" that would reduce the long-term budget deficit. Whispers of such a deal continue, but
House Speaker John Boehner went on ABC News “This Week” to make clear his position: Republicans won’t give the government new borrowing authority until Democrats agree to negotiate about Obamacare and fiscal priorities. When host George Stephanopoulos asked Boehner directly whether Republicans would let the government default if Obama won’t talk, Boehner said: “That's the path we're on. … I don't want the United States to default on its debt.
If you enjoy silence, a good place to camp out for the next couple weeks is the room in the Capitol Building designated for Congressional negotiations on the budget. No talks are scheduled, as House Republicans attempt a kamikaze mission designed to “defund” Obamacare as a “line in the sand” condition for keeping the government running.
Are we headed for a government shutdown? My colleague Noam Scheiber thinks so. And, in his latest dispatch, he makes an awfully good case.
Feeling nostalgic for big budget fights? Do you miss watching House Speaker John Boehner trying to control the Republican caucus? Are you eager for yet another deal that quietly starves government services and weakens the economy? Then you should be in a pretty good mood this morning.
Not long ago, the emerging Beltway consensus was that the impact of the budget sequestration that went into effect last spring had been wildly overstated. The economic recovery was still ticking along, albeit too slowly for anyone's taste, and there were no reports of orphans being cast into the streets. The budget deficit was shrinking, thanks in part to the sequester cuts.