Still No Better Than 50% That Debt Ceiling Is Raised By 10/17...And A Few Other Things
Some quick thoughts this morning:
1. It's still no better than 50-50 ("a coin flip" as @thefix said to me on Washington Post TV last week) that the debt ceiling will be raised by October 17, the date Treasury says it will run out of the ability to use "extraordinary measures" and the government will have to operate just from the cash it has on hand every day.
2. If anything the situation has gotten worse rather than better over the past few days with House Republicans in open warfare against their GOP Senate colleagues. It appears that House Republicans need to get something out of the box the are in with the government shutdown and debt ceiling even if it means extracting a pound of political flesh from their own party to do it.
3. Let me say this yet again as directly as possible: John Boehner (R-OH) is the weakest and least effective speaker in my lifetime, and he may come close to taking the all-time title.
4. Has anyone else noted how many times Boehner does the Washington equivalent of taking his ball and going home by starting and then pulling out of negotiations? Has anyone else noted how he repeatedly fails and then says it's up to the Senate?
5. One of the biggest problem with the current shutdown/debt ceiling situation is that no one has any assurance that the person they're negotiating with has any authority to agree to anything. The president can't be sure congressional Democrats will go along with what he might agree to with Republicans, Boehner absolutely knows there is no guarantee that House and Senate Republicans will follow his lead and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) won't be followed blindly by Senate Republicans. In other words, even if there were a deal it not clear who could agree to it.
6. The White House seriously undercut some of its own leverage on the shutdown when it allowed the Defense Department to recall 300,000 civilian workers who were furloughed on October 1. Without that, private sector government contractors would have started furloughing tens of thousands of their own workers by now and the economic pain would be widespread. This would have seriously increase the political pressure on members of Congress.