No doubt who’s responsible for the crisis, until there is


“The American people expect in Washington, when we have a crisis like this, that the leaders will sit down and have a conversation.”
– House Speaker John Boehner, Sunday, on ABC’c This Week with George Stephanopoulos

Really, Mr. Speaker? That may be true if it were a crisis caused by uncontrollable or unforeseen forces, but this is a crisis you created, by allowing a small number of stubborn, unfit-to-govern conservatives to push you into holding the government hostage over your party’s profound dislike for President Obama and his signature healthcare law.

Polls show sixty-five percent of the American people, including half of the ones who identify themselves as Republicans (a group which has lost considerable support since the 2012 election), are overwhelmingly against Congress using its power to control government funding as leverage against the Affordable Care Act. There’s no doubt who the American people see as being responsible for this crisis, Mr. Boehner – you and the Republican led House of Representatives.

U.S. President is greeted by Speaker BoehnerYet the latest GOP proposal, revealed Thursday, to lift the debt ceiling for only six weeks, still precludes resolving the ten-day-old government shutdown without talking to the White House and Senate Democrats about making changes to Obamacare, and other GOP budgetary pet peeves. Boehner calls it “a good faith effort on our part to move halfway, halfway to what [President Obama has] demanded.”

Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters at the White House daily briefing, Thursday, the president still insists keeping government agencies shuttered on the condition of agreeing to cuts to the Affordable Care Act and entitlement programs, and changing the tax code, amounts to paying a “ransom in exchange for the Republicans in the House doing their job,” something Obama has, so far, said he will not abide.

There is a political trap in Speaker Boehner’s “good faith” proposal, for Democrats, and it’s one based on what many Americans may understand about what’s going on in Washington, right now. Although we would all prefer to think otherwise, there’s a good chance the American people do not, for the most part, understand the difference between the government shutdown and the debt ceiling. To them, the distinction between the two is wonky nuance (even though they are completely different things), and they’ll assume that with the GOP offer, Boehner’s “crisis” is over.

After all, part of the DC cacophony the last two weeks has been the Senate Democrats screaming that they have been calling for a conference for months to reconcile, in “regular order,” their own budget, which they passed earlier this year, with the bill passed by the Republican House around the same time. If President Obama insists he will not sit down with Republicans to discuss changes to the budget until there’s a continuing resolution, it could be that people will then view Obama and the Democrats as being the chief obstructionists, and shift the blame to them.

According to Politico’s report of Thursday night’s White House meeting between Obama and Republican House members to discuss Boehner’s proposal, that may be the only way the GOP has to claw its way out of the corner in which it has painted itself:

“House Republicans told Obama at the White House that they could reopen the federal government by early next week if the president and Senate Democrats agree to their debt-ceiling proposal. After the debt ceiling is lifted, a House GOP aide said they would seek some additional concessions in a government funding bill.

“Obama repeatedly pressed House Republicans to open the government, asking them ‘what’s it going to take to’ end the shutdown, those sources said. The meeting was described by both sides as cordial but inconclusive.”

Read that as “no change,” except that even House Republicans are trying to find a way out of the disapproval of the majority of Americans.

To be sure, some of the more reasonable voices are the ones getting the least attention in this mess, and I don’t mean those, like Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who see repealing the ACA’s medical device tax as a way toward compromise. (That’s not reasonableness; that’s pimping your vote for an industry.) Still, at least they see the value of trying to find a solution to the shutdown as well as raising the debt ceiling.

“I’d like to do both,” Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) told reporters. “I don’t think we’re serving any policy or political goals by keeping the government shut down.”

The Senate has already passed a non-binding resolution that would require budgets be passed on a biennial basis, in odd number years, so they avoid election year grandstanding. Yes, 2013 is an odd number year, and there is definitely some grandstanding going on, but that’s because no budget has passed both Houses of Congress in years. The Republican sponsor of the Senate proposal, Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), calls this inevitable quagmire a “conundrum.”

“It’s the right way to do business and it ends the necessity of having continuing resolutions at the last minute because you didn’t do our job,” he said. “Let’s face it: We’re here today in the conundrum we’re in because we did not do our jobs.” At least some Senate Republicans don’t have trouble finding agreement with the president. Now, if they can only convince their comrades in the House to do their own job.

-PBG

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6 thoughts on “No doubt who’s responsible for the crisis, until there is

  1. Just like my Friend Tom, a article with some substances, written by some guy who thinks he knows what is going on, and expects All of American to believe it. Make no doubt about it, The Republicans and the Democrats along with the President all all to blame for all of this.

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    1. This is bad for everyone, no doubt, whether Democrat or Republican. Another new poll wants to throw them all out. As far as knowing what’s going on, as much as anyone else outside the Beltway who’s trying to pay attention.

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  2. PG, I did not care for your article this time around. Not because I totally disagree with your view, that is not news. What is new about my take on your view of today’s events is how you seem to have lost your curiosity for the truth. You seem to be just spewing talking points. Perhaps, like ABC, CBS and others, you have lost sight of how we got to this point. Or perhaps, you are so fascinated by how competent our government representatives are or see blame so clearly laid at the feet of those with which you politically disagree. From my perspective, we have a crisis about ObamaCare because we did not receive a mandate from the people on the restructure of our health system. Political trickery was used to get the ACA passed. The country is reaping what it allowed its Executive Branch to sow. We have a debt crises because the issue of spending more than we make has been kicked down the road repeatedly for the last 5 years. What is termed a GOP shutdown is the peoples House responding to the Senates do nothingness and the Presidents short game by saying enough is enough.

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    1. The ACA was certainly affirmed both by SCOTUS and the 2012 election, in which it was a major issue. The people have spoken on this. There is no Obamacare crisis, except in the minds of those who refuse to accept it is the law of the land and the current political realties won’t change that.
      As far as what the media say, they are reporting what is actually going on out there. You’re allowed not to like it, but that doesn’t make it less true.

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      1. What SCOTUS established was that the ACA was a tax and therefore constitutional because congress has the right to tax the American people. The ACA, as with any tax passed by Congress, can be amended, defunded or removed. However, it is not the law of the land to selectively enforce the tax or any laws passed by Congress, as the Executive branch is choosing to do. For that matter, the media chooses not to present stories or to investigate why the President has hundreds of exemptions to the ACA. Additionally, the media has chosen not to focus on why the Senate has not passed a budget in the past 5 years and why the President has not pressured the Senate to do their job. Finally, the shut down of specific departments or offices has been the responsibility of the President. The media has chosen not to site the choices made by the Executive branch during this shutdown, but instead just to blame the GOP.

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