WAPO has a pretty good article tonight discussing the sense of urgency among Republicans (well mainly Senate Republicans + Boehner and about 20 House GOPers in blue states) to end the shutdown and lift the debt ceiling.
Here is a brief summary and some observations:
- Obama rejected the latest House proposal which offered up an end to the shutdown (CR through Thanksgiving) a 6 week debt ceiling increase, a repeal of the sequester and medicare cuts. 1 guess on who came up with that crappy idea.....you guessed it, Paul Ryan! Jay Carney indicated that the short length of the debt ceiling/CR and the extortion were problems (go figure!). Ryan has been busy trying to scuttle deals. I believe he wants to push this into default to further test Obama's mettle. The man is a dangerous sociopath and every Democrat should contribute to Rob Zerban, and every Democrat living in Wisconsin should rent a PO box in Janesville and register to vote there.
- Obama has been more welcoming of the Senate GOP's ideas. Susan Collins is credited as the original drafter, but the real work seems to be happening through Lisa Murkowski and Lindsay Graham. Graham has reached out to Boehner and urged him to support a Senate GOP proposal as a joint offering. It would reportedly raise the debt ceiling through Jan 31, 2014, end the shutdown and pass a 6 month CR at sequester levels but allow departments more flexibility to allocate money. In return the GOP wants some fig leaf concessions from the WH. Ideas on the table include a 2 year delay in the medical device tax, a change in the ACA definition of full time worker to 40 hrs per week, and income verification (already exists).
Graham and Obama also discussed repealing the entire sequester and replacing it with a tax on repatriated corporate profits. (I find this idea interesting).
I will give the Senate Republicans credit for showing some respect to the White House. Their asks really don't qualify as ransom demands, but their gives are not quite generous enough. I would want a 1 year extension of the debt ceiling (settle at 6-8 months). I also think keeping the sequester for another 6 months is a problem. If Obama can get rid of it now, great. Do it. It will provide a boost to the economy just ahead of the holiday season. As for the medical device tax, that tax would probably be eliminated in any budget negotiation, so a delay now doesn't mean that much. The issue is going to be how to replace the lost revenue. The income verification thing is a joke. The definition of full time worker is actually a constructive suggestion that Obama was probably considering anyway.
The Senate GOP has given Boehner a limited window to figure something out in the House but they won't wait long. Their goal is to get a deal done this weekend before the markets open (yes, WIC recipients are ignored but everyone jumps where the markets (i.e., banks) are concerned). The Senate GOP will cut their own deal with Obama and force the House to deal with it.
I don't see any deal getting through the House without Democratic votes. The Ryan wing wants more extortion and the tea party wing won't vote for anything. They are still in shock and awe at what happened to their effort to repeal Obamacare. They might not even show up to vote. That's how despondent they are.
Boehner himself has seen his standing improve relatively speaking. This is due in part to the tea party crashing and burning with Ted Cruz driving the bus and Obama's kneecapping of Paul Ryan's extortion strategy. Boehner is now free to talk to Obama and is being encouraged by the 20-30 GOPers he represents to push ahead without the tea party. However, Paul Ryan looms large and I don't think he will provide the votes for anything close to a majority of the House GOP caucus.
Harry Reid is cautioning Obama against giving too much to the Republicans and Obama appears to be heeding his warning.
With the tea party reps now having been abandoned by the Koch brothers, Paul Ryan, John Boehner and manipulated and misled by Ted Cruz, one wonders if some might wake up from Obama derangement syndrome (read: racism) and realize that they might actually have some common ground with Democrats, especially on entitlement protection and public works spending issues.