October 16, 2013

Another standoff seems likely to follow

With the focus on the government shutdown, a possible default and last-second maneuvers, no real issues about the budget are being resolved.

By Dan Balz
The Washington Post

(Continued from page 1)

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Army veteran David Roper of Alexandria, Va., participates in a rally Tuesday at the National World War II Memorial in Washington. The rally was held by the Military Coalition, a group of 33 of the leading veterans and uniformed services organizations.

The Associated Press

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From left, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., Assistant Minority Leader James Clyburn, D-S.C., Rep. Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., and Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., listen to a question during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013. The partial government shutdown is in its third week and less than two days before the Treasury Department says it will be unable to borrow and will rely on a cash cushion to pay the country’s bills.

The Associated Press

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Boehner allowed hard-liners in his conference to keep making demands that were equally unlikely to succeed. When cooler heads in the GOP conference did not prevail, the government shut down.

The two sides have been stuck ever since, looking for a way out as Thursday’s debt-ceiling deadline nears.

Complicating everything is the fact that Republicans are badly split, warring as much with one another as with the Democrats. House GOP leaders have remained unified but at the cost of continuing to look for some concession – seemingly any concession – that they can wrest out of the president and Senate Democrats.

The lack of consistency in their demands has been stunning. Even some Republicans who are sympathetic to Boehner were alarmed by the House GOP’s decision to draw up another bill on Tuesday.

The GOP is bearing the brunt of public dissatisfaction with the spectacle in Washington. Nearly three-quarters of Americans disapprove of the way congressional Republicans have handled themselves – and that includes about half of all Republicans who are unhappy with their party. If that doesn’t send a message, what will?

Battle for the high ground

The outcome of this fight seems destined to produce another standoff in a matter of months. Will substantive agreement be a greater possibility then? Given the animosity and hostility of the past few weeks, it seems unlikely.

Obama and the Democrats believe they hold the high ground in this battle and see no reason to back down.

That may get them through this stalemate politically, but at some point the president will be challenged to show that he is prepared to negotiate with Republicans over spending and entitlements – and risk the unhappiness of his party in Congress.

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Additional Photos

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Steven Ahrenholz, a furloughed federal worker, protests outside the Department of Health and Human Services CDC offices Tuesday in Cincinnati. The government shutdown is entering its third week. House GOP leaders Tuesday floated a plan to fellow Republicans to counter an emerging Senate deal to reopen the government and forestall an economy-rattling default on U.S. obligations. But the plan got mixed reviews from the rank and file and it was not clear whether it could pass the chamber.

The Associated Press


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