Showdown or Shutdown?

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Barring an unforeseen development, the federal government will shut down Friday, as Democrats and Republicans have failed to come to an agreement on a budget deal of the 2011 fiscal year.  “There is no agreement on a number. There [is] no agreement on the policy issues,” House Speaker Boehner reported. “We’re continuing to work toward an agreement…But we are not there yet.”   Late Thursday, the House of Representatives passed another continuing resolution (CR) aimed at funding the government for one more week and the military for the rest of the year, but the White House issued a statement indicating that president Obama would veto the measure.  Both maneuvers indicate one thing above all else: each party is determined to convince the public the other one is responsible for the government shutdown.

Why is there a showdown at all?  The Democratically-controlled 111th Congress, for the first time since 1974 when current budget procedures were enacted, failed to pass any budget at all.  Once again, politics played an important part in that decision. Democrats, knowing they were facing an uphill battle in the 2010 election, opted not to pass a budget weighted down with another trillion dollars-plus in deficit spending, as such a budget would be a gift for Republican candidates — both congressional and presidential — who would be campaigning on a platform of fiscal responsibility.

Yet in an attempt to defuse that reality, some Democrats are claiming that a White House agenda “so large and so time-consuming” left them with little time or political will to enact a budget.  They also claim that the bruising health care bill battle–enacted without a single Republican vote and against well-polled public opposition–had, as a former House Democrat who lost in 2010 told Fox News, “overloaded the circuits.”

Thus, for the past six months, a series of CRs have been keeping the government open, with both parties trying to assess who might be blamed should the inevitable occur.  A Pew Research poll reveals an ambiguous public: 39 percent say Republicans would be more to blame for a government shutdown, 36 percent say the Obama administration, and 16 percent blamed both sides.  A Washington Post poll showed a 37-37 percent split, but indicated that Republicans might be in greater trouble with 61 percent saying Republicans were “playing politics” with the budget compared to only 51 percent of those polled accusing the Obama administration of the same thing.

Hence the gamesmanship embodied in the Republican attempt to pass yet another continuing resolution with $12 billion in cuts, despite Senate Majority leader Harry Reid’s declaration that the CR is “a fantasy,” and “a non-starter in the Senate” where Democrats maintain a majority.  Republicans were hoping to get Senate Democrats to reject the bill so they could be blamed for the final nail in the compromise coffin.  The White House’s response was equally calculating;  despite announcing the president would veto the latest CR as is, the administration reiterated the idea that if the House came up with a “clean” version of a CR, as in one with less spending cuts and no policy riders, a deal might still be possible. The president emerged late Thursday night to announce that although the process was “further along,” a deal had yet to be made.  In a statement announcing the impasse, the Mr. Obama sought to highlight the downsides of a government shutdown, and expressed the hope there would be an agreement by morning.

According to The New York Times, both House Speaker Boehner and Senate majority leader Reid indicated that their meeting with the president on Thursday afternoon “had moved negotiations forward” and that they would return to the White House at 7 p.m. in hopes of reaching a deal.  The paper further reported that Democrats claim both sides are close in terms of money, with less than five billion dollars separating them, even as Republicans insist negotiators are still divided over how deep to slash spending.  Both sides concede that ideological barriers remain “major obstacles” with the most serious being abortion funding and changes in EPA regulations.

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  • joe

    This is why politicians should have at least some business experience and should have prerequisites for the job. At the same time, voters should be educated as well.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    When the balance of payments takes us into bankruptcy and there is a total
    financial collapse what will the Democrats say is the cause, the treasury
    is out of ink. When you do not have the money you do not spend. Unless it is
    a matter of avoiding tragedy one should not borrow to the extent of the
    American Government, which goes past ignorance, past irresponsible,
    past reason to the realm of intentional destruction, something theives
    would gladly do as they are sociopaths in power, we still need a new
    government if we are to survive as a Nation. Cudos to JWR, excellent
    article by Mr. Ahlert ………………………………………………………………..William

  • American_Flag

    The Gummint wants us to believe that they are so important, that the country will fold if they shut down operations. Not true – there are more Gov’t' employees than ever before in the history of our country…and thousands were added as a direct result of Obammy and his leftist Marxist colleagues. I hope the history books are being written that under the "O" admin, the Gov’t has shut down – it is an abomination to the citizens of this country. Also, did you notice how lackadaisical the mass media is? No one says boo. The mass media types are out to lunch on this one. The only people analyzing this event are talk show hosts, and RIGHTFULLY SO. Wake up America, before we morph into the USSA – United Socialist States of America.

    Mr. President you are an embarrassment to all hard working Americans. You do not lead, you dictate. You do not listen to the voice of the people, you ignore us. Where is the democracy here? Where is the Gov't of the people, and by the people?

    • sky

      May Day May Day patriotactionnetwork

  • Wesley69

    The Democrats have brought this upon themselves. Instead of playing politics with the budget, they should have done their constitutional duty and passed one. With a large Republican majority in the House, elected in 2010, the Democrats and Obama find themselves in a weaker position. Naturally, both sides are playing the game of brinkmanship and it remains to be seen who the public will blame for the looming government shutdown. But one thing is clear, the irresponsible spending of the past must come to an end or this country faces economic ruin.

    Can you blame the Republicans for wanting to do something about federal funding for abortions or wanting to limit the EPA's regulation-making authority over carbon emissions. If unchecked, the EPA will by regulation, create Cap & Trade on their own without Congressional authority to do so. As with abortion, if the Democrats can decide when life starts, it will then have the power to determine when life should end. (Rationing in ObamaCare) So these policy differences are ideological and real.

    If the Democrats are having trouble stomaching these "small' budget cuts in these Continuing Resolutions, what makes anyone think they will accept Representative Paul Ryan's Path to Prosperity, which will put us on the path toward fiscal sanity.

    Shutdown is a political gamble for all sides. When it occurred in the 90"s, the people blames Congress as opposed to President Clinton. But the financial situation is much different from back then. If budget deficits continue in the trillions, the US will be destroyed as an economic power. This budget battle is the key issue for our nation. What path we choose will affect all of us for years to come.

  • nakedempire

    One writer blames the Rothschilds for all the unrest in the world today…….gotta blame someone
    http://nakedempire2.blogspot.com/

  • sodizzy

    Thank you for a succinct synopsis of this situation!!

    I love my way of getting news in this busy world (abandoned old news media long ago). I just visit my few sites and listen to radio headlines and people talking. When something is abuzz, I find a trustworthy sites such as yours and benefit from a simply written summary….so efficient!!

    Much appreciation.

  • Jim

    Obama did not feel it necessary to shut down Government in 2010 when there was no budget. He was delighted with continuing resolutions as they hid a lot of misspending he was sneaking though.
    Jeepers what makes him so happy now.
    Well he thinks the public will blame the Republicans. But with out Gingrich's big mouth claiming he shut the government down there is no verification by a Republican.
    Republicans have learned "blame shifting"

  • andrewe313

    Armed Forces to the Rescue:
    Does President Obama and Democrats- like have no shame? Telling America $38B or 1,000th of the 2011 Federal Budget of $3.8 Trillion dollars is worth playing the blame game with Republicans? $38B in cuts is minuscule and won't even come close to affecting the $1.27T of deficit spending that will require more borrowing from China just to keep the wheels turning this year!
    But No, The Dems want to play the blame game and state- "The heartless Republicans don't care for women and their health needs (abortions), the rich GOP are going to stop middle class from receiving their IRS refunds, Bush is to blame that our armed forces aren't going to be paid AND worse yet, you boys that become casualties- well, your family isn't going to receive their death benefit." REALLY!!!
    Mr. President, The Armed Forces of America decided we're gonna help you out. We're going to solve your stalemate!
    WE'RE GOIN' ON STRIKE!
    How 'bout this Mr. President-
    1st- We're leaving Libya's No Fly Zone campaign- That's $200M per week of spending that we'll save American Taxpayers. Just think in 1 1/2 weeks you can fully fund Planned Parenthood. Best yet, those pesky politicians across the isle can't use your party's line on the unconstitutionality of this war, like they did with DUB.
    2nd- We're leaving Iraq- That saves $51B for the 2011 Budget.
    3rd- We're picking up our Bros from Afghanistan. That's another $119B for 2011 and we're all coming home! So take your death benefit and .. put it…well you know what you can do with it
    Last, We're gonna give 250 of our Nuclear Missiles to Israel. That should persuade Egypt and Saudi Arabia to get Iran in line.
    NOT BAD FOR A DAYS WORK! Solved the Budget Crisis and your Foreign Policy woes.

  • Amused

    I just fnd it rather funny ,that they agree on a resolution , but are hungup on anb issue with planned parenthood . Gee , whose fault is that ?

  • Fred Dawes

    THE BANKERS TOLD Obama to keep the system open for one reason, its the social befits the world bankers are after. its all about control and making this country into some third world monkey state, with a eye on all of you becoming a slave market of the new order of BS.

  • Amused

    Take a zoloff Fred , it may calm your delerious delusions and quell that paranoia . "Third world monkey state " ? …what a schmuck .

  • Chezwick_mac

    Well, they just reached an agreement. Boehner got a few $billion extra cut, but it's nothing to write home about. Ideologically, I'm opposed to raising the debt limit. But in terms of practical politics, a shut-down probably WOULD have hurt the Republicans (given the MSM spin). It's imperative that we get the 'anointed one' out in 2012…all other considerations are temporarily subordinate.

  • Amused

    For all the blunderbust and blather …….no shut down . As for 2012 ? The Republicans better come up with someoine other than Trump , Bachman or Gingrich . Romney's their only chance to be Obama , if he's not their candidate , get ready to gripe ,piss and groan for another four years .

    • Stephen_Brady

      If YOU wish us to nominate Romney, I suspect that we should nominate someone else. It's not that you're such a solid political expert. Rather, you are simply parroting the Left's current talking-points.

      As for when we win, I can expect you to be griping, pissing, and groaning for the next eight years …

      • Amused

        Brady , you are just more proof of the main delusion of the Republican Party .Romney 's got a functioning brain , more than can be said regarding Bachman . He's not a birther , more than can be said of the band wagon jumping Trump , who is obviously appealing to the morons of this country , Ginjgrich , a classic flip flop ,philandering nonsense spewing jerk .LOL….maybe you's select Palin ? Huckabee ? I need not use any effort to shoot your present choices down . I parrot no ones party line , I am and have been an Independent sincer leaving the Army in 1970 ., and have been voting for thde LESSER of TWO IDIOTS ever since . I can proivide an infinitely moire objective view than tools like you and your lot ….and that takes no political expertise , but rather something you and your lot sadly and UTTERLY lack- COMMON SENSE .Both parties fatally underestimate "the SANE MAJORITY " , who , DO NOT PARROT PARTISAN RHETORIC , [ do not attempt a play of "turnaround "with me ]

  • Amused

    There are a great many people in this country who are FED UP wth the bullsheet rhetoric of both parties , they know Obama's a natural born American , they know he's not a "racist-nazi-socialist -marxist -communist -or ..lol..the "anti-christ " nor did they ever believe Bush was a nazi etc.They also know that the Democratic party is not the spokesman for the country nor "the answer " . Obama was elected for ONE reason and ONE reason only ….the alternative was unacceptable — a very incompetent woman and an obviously fence -siiting double-talking backpeddler who'd say ANYTHING to be elected .You always underestimnate the Centrists , who speak only on election day . Don't be fooled by the results of thge Rpublican Governors winning elections or the several Tea Party idiots who managed the same , by 2012 it will be obvious , they are no bhetter than their formers .

  • Amused

    The Radical Right , is no better than the Radical Left , and by 2012 the CENTRISTS of this country will decide the next President . , and if people like Backman , Gingrich , Huchabee , anf lol…TRump are the best you can do ….Obama will have a second term .