Just saw this:
The Senate has approved legislation to provide benefits to the families of fallen troops.Reaction from the de facto Speaker of the House:
The Senate backed the measure Thursday, after the House approved it unanimously a day earlier....
Glad to see Senate act in bipartisan manner for death benefits to families of fallen soldiers. Now let's fund VA, other vital govt services.— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) October 10, 2013
So which "govt services" does Senator Cruz consider "vital"?
Meanwhile, as you probably know, the titular Speaker of the House is proposing this:
Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced Thursday that the House will move forward with a six-week debt limit extension after pitching the idea to his Republican conference during a closed-door meeting.Jonathan Chait explains the logic of this:
The plan would sustain the government shutdown -- now in its 10th day -- while temporarily averting a catastrophic debt default by authorizing continued borrowing through Nov. 22.
Here's the best rule for determining what John Boehner will do in any situation: If there is a way for him to delay a moment of confrontation or political risk, he will do it. That's why Boehner's current plan is to raise the debt ceiling for six weeks while keeping the government shut down.Howie Klein thinks this is the moment when Evil Obama is going to throw all his liberal supporters under the bus:
Business is freaked out and will be furious with him if he triggers a default. So he's raising the debt ceiling for long enough to get them off his back. And tea-partiers will be furious if he abandons their quest to defund Obamacare by shutting down the government. So he's leaving that part in place.
[Paul] Ryan's puerile OpEd in the Wall Street Journal Tuesday evening was the trial balloon that the Republican congressional leadership wanted to move towards the Grand Bargain that Obama and Boehner crave. The giveaway is that there word "Obamacare" appears nowhere in his missive. Nor does "the Affordable Care Act." He just wants to go back to the good old fashioned GOP position of gutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. And that's a "compromise" I wouldn't trust Obama to get anywhere near. Boehner and Cantor and Ryan are pushing through a 6-week extension of the debt ceiling-- without ending their government shutdown-- to set the table for the Grand Bargain negotiations to achieve what the voters would never approve in a million years.I believe Obama would readily -- even happily -- agree to changes in Social Security and Medicare that I'd consider unacceptable. However, he's been stiff-spined about getting something in return, namely increased taxes on people who can afford to pay them. And that's an absolute dealbreaker for the GOP. So are other items on the GOP budget wish list.
...We're looking at the government pulling another Shock Doctrine threat on us to stampede everyone into the unthinkable.
As Jonathan Chait writes:
[Boehner's] putative reason for delaying the debt limit is to open fiscal negotiations with Democrats. But Republicans have been dodging fiscal negotiations with Democrats for most of the year. Why? Because they don't want to compromise on the budget. They want unilateral concessions.I put all this together and I start thinking that maybe the GOP will keep raising the debt ceiling, but the government will just be shut down forever, or at least until Republicans win the Senate and the White House back (which I don't see happening in the foreseeable future), or lose the House (which I also don't see happening). A few "vital govt services" will be restored piecemeal -- military death benefits now, furloughed USDA salmonella fighters now, the VA a few weeks or months from now, and other bits of the government as bad headlines dictate. Eventually we'll have pretty much everything up and running that employed suburban white people want from the feds (the social safety net for the poor, maybe not so much), and that'll be the new normal indefinitely.
Obama won't give Republicans unilateral concessions. Any deal Boehner strikes with Democrats will have to contain some concessions to Democrats, which will further enrage the tea party. So there's no deal Boehner can cut on the budget that won't anger the base, which brings us back to the same stalemate....
Explain to me why that couldn't happen until, oh, say, January 20, 2017, at least.