Boehner waves white flag of surrender
House GOP outlines deal to avert default, end shutdown
House Republicans were in a holding pattern Friday, awaiting a response from the Obama administration to a proposal to lift the debt ceiling, end the government shutdown and set up six weeks of budget talks.
The offer comes on the 11th day of the government shutdown.
In addition to ending the shutdown and increasing the debt limit, the proposal includes an easing of the across-the-board spending cuts that began taking effect a year ago, and replacing them with curbs in benefit programs that Obama himself has backed, according to the Associated Press.
Among them is a plan to raise the cost of Medicare for better-off beneficiaries.
Government could be reopened as soon as next week if a framework for this process is agreed to.
But the White House isn’t celebrating just yet.
President Obama knows a premature celebration could cause a backlash among Republicans whose votes will be needed and partly because the public suffered when large portions of the government closed, reports Politico.
“This was entirely predictable,” said Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., a conservative who warned Republicans not to shut down the government over Obamacare. “But at the end, everybody loses. This isn’t about some political game.”
Of course, the final details haven’t been worked out, and the progress made toward a deal on Thursday could blow up at any time.
Right now, Republicans want to fund the government through Dec. 15, and lift the debt ceiling through Nov. 20. That would open two tracks for negotiations. Appropriators will develop 2014 spending levels. And then broader fiscal talks — spearheaded by Budget Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp of Michigan and GOP leadership — would proceed alongside the debt ceiling timeline. These talks could include reforms to the tax and entitlement systems, according to Politico.
“As we have publicly stated, any House vote on a short-term debt limit bill is contingent on the White House and House Republicans agreeing to negotiations on a larger fiscal framework,” said Michael Steel, a Boehner spokesman. “There is no agreement at this point on what that framework would involve, and we don’t plan to comment on the details of these discussions.”
After meeting with Obama on Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., took to the Senate floor Friday to pan the House Republicans’ debt ceiling approach as too short and simply a bridge to another congressional “period of bedlam” around the holidays and a busy shopping season.
“They’re talking about extending the debt ceiling two months or six weeks? Please,” Reid said. “We do not believe a six-week delay … is enough to give the country what it needs.”
Two elections ago, Boehner campaigned on the premise that we should set federal spending back to 2008 levels. Once he was elected – nada. So it was completely expected that Boehner would cave today. This has been his pattern – talk tough, then give in.
If I understand Steel’s statement correctly, we’ve agreed to a small short term deal so we repeat this process for a big long-term deal. Again. And again.
A few days ago Boehner stood at the microphone and said “This isn’t some damn game!” Apparently it is.
If Harry Reid really wanted to give this country what it needs, he’d resign and take Boehner with him.