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U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) (L) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) (R) stand together at a news conference at the Republican National Committee offices on Capitol Hill in Washington October 23, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
That mini-bargain budget deal congressional negotiators have been trying to craft for a Dec. 13 deadline might just actually happen. As hard to believe as it is, things are at least progressing.

Here are a few keys: House Speaker John Boehner says an extension of unemployment benefits isn't out of the question: "If the president has a plan for extending unemployment benefits, I'd surely entertain taking a look at it." Democrats are pushing hard on the extension, including President Obama who urged Congress to pass the extension in his speech on the economy Wednesday.

If it was needed, that's more proof that Republicans are chastened by the beating they took in public polling as a result of the shutdown. But there are other factors, too. Like the fact that defense hawks desperately want to avoid the hard hit the sequester would have on the Pentagon this round. There are still lingering problems, however, namely the Republican House of Representatives.

The primary obstacle to a budget deal is House conservatives, who tend to have their way in the chamber, and want to preserve every dollar of spending cuts under the sequester. If the Ryan-Murray talks collapse, the chances of a shutdown increase dramatically because a stopgap bill at $967 billion may not be able to pass the House. Republican military hawks and appropriators would likely rebel, and Democrats have made clear they they won't accept another clean continuing resolution at the sequester level.
And three of those conservative House Republicans are already trying to set the stage for a shutdown. They're lobbying GOP leadership to say they'll only do a clean continuing resolution (no Obamacare repeal ridiculousness) if the funding bill is at the low, sequester level. That's got the potential to split the GOP conference, because the aforementioned defense hawks don't want those lower spending levels to be enforced.

All of which, basically, means that we're back to where we always seem to be in budget/debt ceiling/shutdown showdowns. Will Boehner lead? Will he cut his crazy caucus loose? Given his track record so far, don't take any bets on that.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 01:10 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (26+ / 0-)

    "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no place to hide."--Frank Church

    by Joan McCarter on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 01:10:34 PM PST

  •  can't we tell the House right wing nuts... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z, a2nite

    that they won a trip to see Sean Hannity speak about the evils of the Obama Reign Of Terror at the Heritage Foundation and then take them out into the woods of Maryland and make them find their way back without cellphones or maps. It's what the cops used to do to unruly chaps in Baltimore.

    I sing praises in the church of nonsense, but in my heart I'm still an atheist, demanding sense of all things.

    by jbou on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 01:17:21 PM PST

  •  When you have nuts, the solution is obvious (4+ / 0-)

    We don't want our country back, we want our country FORWARD. --Eclectablog

    by Samer on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 01:23:36 PM PST

  •  House Conservatives (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Politico today reported that influential House conservatives have been pushing Boehner to hold a vote on a year long CR at the BCA levels.

    Their reasoning is that Democrats won't accept it, and will shut the government down rather than agree to it.

    Since the BCA is the law of the land, they want to tar and feather Democrats for shutting down the government because they don't like the law, just as Democrats did to them over their opposition to Obamacare.

    If this is the route Republicans choose to go down in the even that the Murray/Ryan talks likely fail, I am really interested to see how that is going to work.

    That would put Democrats in a tight spot if Republicans coalesce around a clean CR this time because they will be beating the same drum as Democrats did when they were the ones refusing to agree to a budget that didn't alter the law of the land.

    Such a strategy is almost Machiavellian if that is what the Tea Party is cooking up right now.  

    •  It won't work (4+ / 0-)

      Many Republicans will also be against a year long CR at the BCA levels since the next cuts to go into effect will be to defense and the military. If those cuts go into effect, the DoD will most likely curb their losses by shutting down unnecessary bases around the country. Since most of these bases are in rural areas (READ: mostly Republican congressional districts), the political consequences of the numbers of jobs lost will be significant. That's why both Democrats and the sane Republicans want to get rid of the sequester.

      It's kind of ironic, in a way. When the sequester was passed, John Boehner said that he was pleased that he got "98% of what he wanted" with it. Now he and his party want to go back on that.

      "My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world." -Jack Layton (1950-2011)

      by Coco Usagi on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 02:28:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I keep hearing 'sell spectrum' as part of the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rikon Snow, xenothaulus, Odysseus

    proposed deals.  To which I have to ask 'Why?'

    Why should the government 'sell spectrum' instead of merely rent it?  Why should we take a one time fee on something that could be an ongoing revenue source essentially forever?

    Or are they using 'sell' in a sense other than how normal people use the word?

  •  If GOP had made good on jobs, jobs, jobs. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Odysseus, J9, Zack from the SFV

    We wouldn't be having an unemployment discussion 2 years later.

    Unemployment is No jobs, No jobs, No Jobs, you lazy good for nothing slacker creators.

    Oh, did I scream that. Sorry.

    Why is it easier to buy a gun than it is to register to vote in most states?

    by 88kathy on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 01:51:06 PM PST

  •  GOP posturing to make Obama-Democrats ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ... the fall people for shutdown/showdown time will be beginning soon.

    Bet on it!

    2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

    by TRPChicago on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 01:53:22 PM PST

  •  the best predictor of future beahvior? is past (0+ / 0-)

    behavior. Thats what I expect. Maybe I will be surprised. We'll see.

  •  GAAAHHH! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JML9999, scribeboy

    If I have to go without pay again I will go APESHIT!!!!

  •  So much for assurance we would not repeat..... (0+ / 0-)

    See Einstein and the definition of Insanity......

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 01:55:56 PM PST

  •  tax cuts versus unemployment compensation (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    scribeboy, Odysseus, SueDe

    The argument for tax cuts has always been that they add money to the economy thus contribute to more taxes coming in.  The evidence for this is fact has never been that strong.  This should be the same argument for unemployment compensation.  Thus neither Obama nor the Democrats should have to offset unemployment compensation with spending cuts elsewhere to extend them.

    The biggest argument the Republicans have that tax cuts eventually results in increased revenue was back in the Reagan Administration.  What they fail to note that when Reagan made big tax cuts the prime rate was about 20% and the price of a barrel of oil was over $120 by todays numbers.  And later when the economy was booming the prime rate was down to 8% and the price of a barrel of oil had plummeted to $40.  No one ever talks about those 2 things in regard to their affect on the economy, and thus on taxes.  To give the credit to Reagan is a talking point and not data.

  •  It's only complicated if you want it to be (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    citizen dan, Zack from the SFV

    Boehner could act like the Speaker of the House instead of the Majority Leader, and decide - right now, this very second - that he wants the House of Representatives to carry out its constitutional mandate to help govern the country.

    Last time around, Boehner bleated over and over that he "didn't have the votes" to pass a budget bill. Remember the final count? It was 285-144. One flipped vote from a veto-proof 2/3 majority. Boehner "didn't have the votes" only in his mind. The only reason he held up the bill is because he didn't want to piss off the whacko wing of his party, and the country could just go hang if it meant offending dimwits like Joe Barton or Michele Bachmann.

    Brilliant choice, Mr. Speaker. If a portion of the Republican Caucus wasn't so pathologically obsessed with the idea that some credit for running the government might accrue to the Democrats or that man in the White House, we could have a far more functional society. As it is, we have to put up with this never-ending bullshit parade as if it has fuck-all to do with anything.

  •  RW radio should get most credit for this (0+ / 0-)

    but as usual it will largely escape blame - it must have an invisibility cloak.

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 02:21:32 PM PST

  •  i like the sequester (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It's the only way we will ever cut defense.   And it helps my generation in the long run.  

    The symbol for the Republican party shouldn't be an elephant -- it should be a unicorn.

    by Deadicated Marxist on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 02:28:42 PM PST

    •  How does it help your generation? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Egalitare, Zack from the SFV

      We need a shot of Keynesian economics to fuel demand and encourage hiring. The sequester was a poison pill that is supressing growth. Why do you think that will help your generation?

      The deficit can be lowered by promoting economic growth which will then increase revenues. Thereby lowering unemployment and the deficit.

      I do understand your point about defense, but people and institutions are being harmed by this sequester.

    •  We shouldn't rule out a temporary alliance... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ...with the DoD/MIC defenders in exchange for ditching ALL of the Sequester. I think that deal could be made in an election year.

      I'm not certain it can be done right now, certainly not in one fell swoop. We may want to consider a short term deal that "takes the edge off" of the upcoming Sequester cuts by settling for a number around $1 Trillion. But if that deal can run through late Spring (and past most of the Caucus/Primary season), there might be enough non-TEA intimidated GOP members to vote with Pelosi's votes to ditch the entire Sequester impact thru January 2015 (bypassing the Lame Duck Session entirely).

      Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. --Martin Luther King Jr.

      by Egalitare on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 03:41:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's worth a shot. (0+ / 0-)

        Hell, almost anything that gets us out of the sequester is worth a shot.

        "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

        by SueDe on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 04:15:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  A data point (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Zack from the SFV

    The Army is staring at HUGE cuts no matter what.  Not surprising since we are drawing down a second war.  But with no budget and no CR (yes, we are in that form of budget hell) we have to be prepared for the worst.  Here is the worst:

    Some time after 15 January the Secretary of the Army will or will not sign off on a plan to send 2000 Captains and Majors packing.  The year groups have already been identified and some initial, unofficial screening is already taking place.  

    Now entering Rumor LAND - the RUMINT is that if the new budget is Sequester or worse, the 2K get the axe.  If the new budget is Sequester relief, the 2K keep their jobs.  Now the fact that they SecArmy is holding off until 15 Jan tells me that he has some hope that the result will be Sequester relief.  If "the word on the street" was Sequester or worse then they would start the board now so they will have enough time to get these guys off the books before September.  

    So based on that, I would say there is a pretty good chance that the defense hawks might just win the day.  

    It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

    by ksuwildkat on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 03:06:57 PM PST

  •  Will Boehner Lead? (0+ / 0-)

    Will he cut his crazy caucus loose?  Why should he?  That crazy caucus brings his party a lot of votes.  Approval of the congress may be at an all-time low, but the desire for budget cuts, lower spending, austerity - call it what you will - is still a moral necessity for those who have been told repeatedly and for years that the future of the country is mortgaged to the hilt, and today's children will have to pay back every dime of the debt to foreign countries.

    The overwhelming majority of people in this country don't understand the country's debt beyond what such enormous personal debt would do to their household, and they have no idea how it happens that cutting government spending prolongs the recession/depression now occurring and make it impossible to create jobs that would pull people out of their downward economic spiral.  It's easier to blame the "free spenders" and "the takers" than to try to understand, and they have an entire political party egging them on.  They have been led to believe that balanced budgets and paying down the debt will make the country prosperous again.

    Of course the Republican oligarchy know better, but it's not in their interests that their voters do so.

    "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

    by SueDe on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 04:05:16 PM PST

  •  John Boehner's thinking: (0+ / 0-)

    Look at that picture.

    John Boehner's thinking "Does he know how much I love him?"

    Any second he's about to cry.


  •  IF? IF the talks collapse? (0+ / 0-)

    Exactly WHEN has Ryan, Boehner, Cantor, and the rest not bailed on any talks unless they get what they arrived demanding - Cuts to EVERYTHING except subsidies for Industries like Oil, Gas, Coal, and the "industries" who spend their time destroying whatever they can see. Come on people. When Obama was elected and the first dozen or so obstructions to his thoughts happened the meme was Charlie Brown and Lucy and the Football. Does ANYONE think this has stopped? THe right and a large group on the "left" are totally opposed to helping anything that might be attributed to Obama as good. If Obama proposed eliminating all Social Security, there would still be only marginal support. Ryan will certainly bail at the very last minute and have the full support of the rest of the GOP.

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