Clock Is Ticking for Recess, and for a Deficit Deal
Published: August 22, 2013
The New York Times
"WASHINGTON — Budget talks between the White House and Senate Republicans have gone nowhere since Congress began its summer recess, increasing chances of a fiscal stalemate that could lead to a government shutdown in October or the threat of a government default later in the fall.
Negotiators who had hoped for a summer breakthrough say the chances for a major deficit reduction deal are rapidly slipping away. While many members of both parties say they would like to avoid either a shuttering of the government as of Oct. 1 or a default caused by failing to increase the federal debt limit, no acceptable solution has emerged. Lawmakers say the consequences could be severe.
“It ends badly for the American people and the Republican Party if we shut down the government,” said Representative Reid Ribble, Republican of Wisconsin and a member of the House Budget Committee. “I hope grown-ups get in a room and behave like grown-ups, not simply actors on a political stage.”...
Given the lack of progress, those involved say Speaker John A. Boehner will need to play a crucial role in finding an agreement. House Republican leaders consulted with their rank and file via a conference call Thursday night to sound out their ideas to avoid a fiscal crisis as early as Oct. 1. Mr. Boehner pressed gingerly for a straight short-term extension of funds to avoid an immediate government shutdown in October, but faced immediate opposition from conservatives demanding that funds be stripped from the health care law. One thought is to use a short-term spending bill to keep the government running into November, when Congress must raise the government’s statutory borrowing limit. That way, with both a debt default and government shutdown looming, Republicans could apply maximum pressure on the White House to either agree to scuttle President Obama’s health care law or accept significant changes in programs like Medicare and Social Security....
“We’ve seen a faction of Republicans in Congress suggest that maybe America shouldn’t pay its bills that have already been run up, that we shut down government if they can’t shut down Obamacare,” the president said in Buffalo. “That won’t grow our economy. That won’t create jobs. That won’t help our middle class. We can’t afford in Washington the usual circus of distractions and political posturing.”"