Shutdown Odds Rise as House Republicans Gear Up for Debt Limit Fight

Prepare for a lengthy showdown that could rattle markets and endanger the U.S. credit rating

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Jason Reed / Reuters

House Speaker John Boehner speaks to the press after a House Republican meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., Sept. 26, 2013.

The odds of a damaging government shutdown climbed higher on Thursday, as House Republicans looked beyond next Monday’s deadline to pass a stopgap funding bill and laid out a series of demands in exchange for lifting the federal debt limit in mid-October.

The move reflects House Republican leadership’s conviction that the party is better positioned to extract concessions from Senate Democrats and the White House in a debt-ceiling fight than in the battle over a temporary government funding bill, which both chambers must pass by midnight on Monday, Sept. 30. Such a strategy foreshadows a lengthy fight that could rattle markets and endager the U.S. credit rating.

More immediately, it douses Democrats’ hopes that House Republicans would accept a Senate proposal to fund the government at current levels. “I do not see that happening,” House Speaker John Boehner said of the prospect that his conference would pass the measure that is expected to clear the Senate this weekend.

As they trickled out of the closed-door meeting in the bowels of the Capitol on Thursday, House Republicans said they did not feel much urgency to reach a compromise to avert a government shutdown. Indeed, several members said the majority of the discussion focused not on the so-called continuing resolution to fund the government, but rather on the debt limit, which the U.S. is projected to reach on Oct. 17, according to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew. “We’ll continue to fight,” said Representative John Fleming of Louisiana, who said the conference discussed contingency plans in the event of a shutdown.

Other members of the conference said they preferred to work to stave off a shutdown before turning to the debt-limit scuffle. But much of the House GOP, suspended in what to most observers seems to be a state of willful disbelief, refused to rule out the possibility that the Senate would have a sudden change of heart and defund the Affordable Care Act. “Three weeks ago, we thought we’d be invading Syria,” shrugged North Carolina Representative Mark Meadows.

Instead, Republican leaders are trying to unite their fractious conference to coalesce around a bill that attaches a panoply of conservative policies to a roughly 14-month debt-limit increase. These include a yearlong delaying implementation of Obamacare, approving the Keystone XL pipeline, reforming the tax code and paring back environmental regulations.

Those items are non-starters for Congressional Democrats and the White House. President Barack Obama has said repeatedly that he will not negotiate over the U.S. borrowing authority. On Thursday, he reiterated that he would veto any legislation that tampers with the Affordable Care Act, the signature legislative achievement of his first term. “Not going to happen, as long as I’m President,” Obama declared Thursday.

But Republicans believe they have the public on their side, and point to a new Bloomberg News poll in which 61% of respondents said spending cuts should be a required condition of a debt-limit hike, even if a stalemate triggers default. In addition, they believe Obama is bluffing, and reason that by raising the stakes, they can force Obama to fold. “We’re going to introduce a plan that ties important spending cuts and pro-growth reforms to a debt limit increase,” Boehner told reporters in the Capitol. “Now the president says, ‘I’m not going to negotiate.’  Well, I’m sorry, but it just doesn’t work that way.”

The approach portends a bare-knuckle brawl over the next month, with the full faith and credit of the U.S. hanging over the bout. Breaching the debt limit, economists believe, would be more calamitous than a simple government shutdown. It is hard to see a logical compromise between the two sides’ positions.

And even if Democrats were to buckle, it is far from clear that Republicans can coalesce around anything, even a fantasy wish list. Several House conservatives emerged from the strategy session Thursday unconvinced that the grab bag of demands was enough. “It definitely has a lot of goodies in it,” said Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks. “Still, you have to address the spending problem.” Brooks said he was undecided, but did not seem inclined to support the package. Others said flatly they would vote no.

Which leaves Congress just days until a shutdown, with no solution in sight and another, bigger fight looming. And that is just how many House Republicans want it. They seem concerned neither about dragging the nation into a high-stakes fiscal fight for the third time in as many years, nor of the potential political and economic consequences. “People have to realize that there’s never any compromise until the stakes are high,” said Republican Representative Dana Rohrabacher of California. “There’s never progress without risk.”

87 comments
fitty_three
fitty_three

Boehner is just not looking real secure in that photo.

He looks like he's trying to praise the chef who cooked the sh!t he just ate - and - it tastes really, really bad.

shepherdwong
shepherdwong

"But Republicans believe they have the public on their side..."

New drinking game: every time a Republican says "the American people," take a slug. We may make it through the CR and debt limit in good spirits yet.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

I'd say they were suicidal, neurotic lemmings, but I wouldn't want to denigrate lemmings by linking them to the GOP.

cent-fan
cent-fan

You have to admire the Republicans.  They have the potential of doing more damage than Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and Al Shabaab put together.  Nothing says "patriotism" like threatening to destroy your own country.  Tough love.  Holy hatred.

AndreaNYC86
AndreaNYC86

Yet another example of Obama's tepid leadership. Apparently Joe Biden was impressed with Vladimir Putin's leadership during Obama's Syrian crisis. But when MSNBC's Chris Matthews asked if he really considered asking Putin to be his running mate in 2016, the vice president laughed it off. http://goo.gl/L3tJpQ

MrObvious
MrObvious

You negotiate when you budget spending and create bills. If one party happen to lose it's the way our democratic process should and was intended to function. At some point you pay for that spending. If you don't have the revenue then you either legislate to lower spending or increase revenue.

But you keep on paying the bills as agreed on without drama. If you're an adult and understand the function of revenue vs spending and when to pay for them.

It doesn't matter one flip if someone think it's bad spending. That's why you vote, get a representative and try to change stuff. But you pay the bills without drama. Because the consequence of the democratic process is that once someone manage to pass a bill it's up to the president to execute it or vote it. You know, make it the law of the land. That's democracy. But here we have two undemocratic things; first for most part GOP have decided to insist on a super majority. That's not in the constitution. That's something the Senate invented have had up until recently been used sparingly (probably because most adults figured that if you started abusing it, it will break the political system - which is bad).

And once you do the whole passing of bills it's congress duty to pay for it, to uphold the full faith of our currency (as their oath goes) and not be a bunch of cry babies and fudge around with it. See, the democratic process comes with some basic civic understandings. The constitution guarantees that the minority do not have to live under the tyranny of the majority and that the majority will of people (following laws and constitutional guidelines) can be enacted through democratic principles.

It's really very simple.

But the tea party fanatics want to first insist on a super majority for legislation and then hold our political process and function hostage over bill they either lost or approves. I doubt it's because they're a bunch of fudging idiots and don't understand HOW the democratic process works, but it is because they don't give a fudging flip about it.

Once in power they will simply use any means to ram through their agenda (as we saw during Bush) and once out of power they'll get loud and shrill and do everything to destroy a functional democratic process. I don't know what you call that but teabillies just don't like the function of it. To them it's the tyranny of majority AND minority - we should just surrender everything to them regardless how much power they hold.

And that's downright despotic. Just like a bunch of snot nosed 5 year old laying on the floor in the middle a store crying and throwing a temper tantrum. 

AlphaJuliette
AlphaJuliette

One must ask oneself why the Republicans are determined to hurt this country.  Thus far, and for a long time now, they have done everything wrong.  There isn't one legislative achievement that they can point to that has benefitted this country in any way shape or form. Every effort they have made to reduce spending and the debt has cost this country more money and not less. 

Crisis management is no way to put together a budget.  But that is exactly what they are doing in this round of budget talks, er...fights.  Nothing is going to be achieved that will bring down the deficit or the debt unless there is a clear and comprehensive budget plan on the table.  Thus far the only thing I keep seeing is that spending cuts must accompany debt increases.  There is an alternative.

Bowels/Simpson not only have a budget but a comprehensive and long term plan to address both in a reasonable manner.  Properly enacted it would work for the betterment of the entire nation and save us considerable money.  But, I'm using a word that seems not to be in the Republican dictionary; reasonable.

The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again while expecting different results.  Are you listening GOP?

jason024
jason024

Obama should come back with in exchange for your repeal of Obamacare and the Keystone pipeline,  he demands a Federal Gun Registry, 2 Liberal SC Justices, Single Payer Healthcare System, and Gay Marriage in EVERY state.

small_axe
small_axe

We tried to treat the teabaggers like adults and they are running around crapping on the carpet... Now we are gonna ram it down your throat. Try to stop it.

jacklondon678910
jacklondon678910

We must turn to the great sages of the Republican Wing Nuts :Palin and Bachmann. God help this pathetic nation.

j45ashton
j45ashton

At this point is there anybody who is sane who thinks the GOP knows what the hell it's doing?  Maybe Sean Hannity has the answer.  Or Rush Limbaugh.  Oh, I know.  Bring back Glen Beck.  How about Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkins, Laura Ingraham & Monica Crowley?   Please consult them.  They know.  Or...wait...I know now...Rick Santelli.  Yes.  Big Rick.  Lead us.  Or Rupert...King Rupert...you must know know.  Wait...what am I talking about?  The Donald.  The Donald knows.  Put together all these GOP media folks, all these beacons of light we see day after day including Charlie Krauthammer, Brit Hume...and well, here...here they all are:  http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/personalities/#s=a-d.  

By God, there must be at least fifty of them or more.  Ask them.  Listen to them.  They know what you should do.  They have the answers.  Follow their advice with no deviation, take two aspirin and everything...trust me...everything will be...all right.,  I know.  I listen to them everyday.  They know....they know.  

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

And this is why Democrats should allow the shut down now.

FrancisMulhare
FrancisMulhare

At some point some President , and he/she could be a Republican or a Democrat, is going to have to call this bluff  other -wise we are condemned to Government by blackmail. I totally agree that threatening to blow up the economy if you do not get your way is tantamount to treason and even making these threats should warrant a visit from the FBI. If some citizen threatened to blow up 1 empty government building they would end up in jail for the rest of their lives but these lunatics are viewed as heroes in some quarters. What is the iq of the people who vote for these characters? We will be lucky if we get out of this with just another credit downgrade, which btw usually increases borrowing costs and with it the debt. Talk about self inflicted wounds!!

jjazznola
jjazznola

This is going to turn out very bad for The GOP. I see a wave of blue coming heading toward Congress.....

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OBAMAISTHEMANOHHYEAH

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jsfox
jsfox

@AndreaNYC86What ever it is you are smoking you should stop. it seems to be adversely effecting your ability to think rationally.


And what is about folks quoting the Daily Rash which is a poor imitation  of the Onion.

AlphaJuliette
AlphaJuliette

@AndreaNYC86 The lack of leadership lies with Boehner in this case.  He cannot nor has ever  been able to do anything about the extreme right element of his how party.

MrObvious
MrObvious

@AndreaNYC86 

I find it interesting that you blame Obama for what another party does. You know, the party of responsibility. Seriously.

outsider
outsider

@AlphaJuliette 


The simple answer to your question is the GOP don't care if they hurt the country, so long as they personally prosper. Look at Cruz and his 21 hour talk, for no reason, other than to elevate his own personal brand. 

The fact that it's ripping his party apart, is inconsequential. As long as people are talking about him personally, he doesn't care. 


And that is the GOP's MO, in a nutshell. . 

fitty_three
fitty_three

@jason024 

The GOP would counter with a demand for well appointed SUV's, safe passage to the nearest airport, a 787 dreamliner, and a passport to Russia. 

Plus all the caviar and antipasto the nation has on hand.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@j45ashton You know there is mental health professionals out their you can go to and if you do not have heath insurance, just wait for Obama care coming to a country near you.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@FrancisMulhare 

I think we are at the point where we have to. The GOP has pushed it to the point of no return. 

It's an epic struggle, and I think that anyone who thinks about what's good for America should make sure to look at the alternative (not calling their bluff) and it's consequences.

j45ashton
j45ashton

@Openminded1 @j45ashton My man.  You're the greatest Fox News lover of all.  I remember how much you hate Obama.  Come on.  Start spewing your usual.  Let the people see who you really are.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@fitty_three @Openminded1 first off moron I do not care about the GOP morons . You just assumed because I am not a bleeding heart liberal that I must be a republican. Try Independent I do not follow the party lines like you. I think for myself. As to your other comment dumb ass, Police officers who make arrest make that call everyday on who goes or does not go to jail moron. What happens in court is not the policemen's call. We leave that up to judges and jurys. We just get criminals to jail not prison. And people I hurt as you called it gave me no choice in the matter. I and any police officer is not paid to let ourselves get shot, or innocent citizens to be shot or assaulted . You mistake charles bronson with policemen there dummy. We have a duty to up hold the law and yes to enforce it. You see wimp we just can not walk away like you up standing liberal people. we are paid and take an oath to do what we do. something a ass wipe like you would never understand. 

fitty_three
fitty_three

@Openminded1 

"Never hurt anyone that did not deserve to go to jail"

Of course that's not saying much, the question that popped into my mind is just who decided whether the people you did hurt (you've implied this much) deserved to go to jail.

Vigilanteism and terrorism are kissing cousins.;)

Seriously now, what are you going to do when the GOP gets crushed.

Because you know that your peers are gonna lose, you know, and lose very badly.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@MrObvious @Openminded1 @fitty_three Just a man mr o who does not use a silly statue avatar, trying to convince people you are a thinker ,when what you are is a wannabe philosopher who thinks he is smarter then he is, that is called delusional. I am sure you are another loser that is all mouth with no substance.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@fitty_three @DeweySayenoff @Openminded1 I seem tobe very consistent calling it like it is every time fair and balanced you know like Fox news. i do not deviate silly man i call a spade a spade i do not call it a club and use PC like a politician that lies every time they open there mouths you know like Obama.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@fitty_three @DeweySayenoff @Openminded1 Let me think were I need help, money no fixed for live, love no more then most men have, health no very healthy for a man of 63, stress no. i guess i do not need help like you and mrO and dewey since you silly little wimps need to do what most cowards do gang up and fight like little bitches that you are , none of you hide behind the computer sissy's are in my league ,you are typical big mouths with no back bone.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@fitty_three @Openminded1 I like my self very much, I am pleased with being a man who says it like is and being half black is a great thing best of two worlds  Got beautiful kids, happy in marriage many good loyal friends financial comfort, retired , healthy, free in America what is there to hate other then silly coward morons like you and your defender.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@Openminded1 

Why do you hate yourself so much?  Since you're half black, I suggest you seek help before you hurt someone.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@MrObvious @Openminded1 @fitty_three You feel you have to talk on behalf of 53 to defend is very limited honor in life. Yes I am a real man silly O, I raised a family but to great kids thru college, served my country, served my community, paid my taxes,never backed down to coward like you and 53 who only service is lip service that many coward have, you know like black thugs shooting a man in the back and shooting a 3 year old in adrive buy because they do not have the guts to confront the intended victim face to face.every one I shot ass wipe knew it was coming and I was not hiding.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@DeweySayenoff @Openminded1 @j45ashton You are sad with your made up silly little names for non-existent  only in your mind people and poor attempt at humor. I think the murder treason part is a bit much I must have hit a nerve on your weak ass. If you call being at Vietnam veteran a murderer then I guess so I am guilty, if you call shooting  a murderer armed robber in the line of duty a murder when no one else does then you are right again . Treason is a real reach even for a bleeding heart liberal that you are. I doubt a punk like you has ever served his country. 

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

@Openminded1 @j45ashton Openminded has issues.  He's a tp'er, which means he's a Terrorist Exterminating America Party member.

It's people like him, who don't understand or believe in Democracy - for all its ills - is the law of the land and, like the rest of the tp'ers out there who hate both the Democrats and Republicans (and who can't admit that the Republicans are actually more of a follower than the Democrats are)  will gladly go off and murder his fellow Americans because he thinks he has all the answers.

My prediction on that.  There are too many like him who think they know what's best for the rest of us and are willing to murder and commit treason to prove it.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@j45ashton @Openminded1 Do not love Fox do not like Obama and I am not a republican. I just do not vote along party lines. Democrats are followers i am just a man who says it like it is,without the PC you bleeding heart liberals use which is typical politicians bs. You still need some mental help sonny, i understand they do not use shock treatment anymore.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@j45ashton @Openminded1 My usual consistent as most regular posters know by now. I have no love for Fox or any media outlet, I have had to deal with media often in my former career and found the media to be full of crap and will do anything to make something out of a nothing story. And will do what ever they think will sell. they are all the same. fox like me seems to not like Obama that has know bearing on feelings for the racist in the Oval office. NBC kisses Obamas ass as does Cbs and ABc  media outlets you seem to favor. Who I really am is a realist who says it like it is and does not use the PC BS that politicians are so famous for. PC is for liars. I am a leader of men not a democratic follower who vote along party lines even if Charles Manson was a democrat you morons would vote for him if he could run. I vote after much research not to make a history note or because everyone else votes along the line. I am not a dem or republican more of an independent who once again says it like it is of which I will do now. F-you 45 and your  bleeding dummys that will follow the line.