Boehner Declares That Budget Impasse ‘Isn’t Some Damn Game’

None

Boehner: Speaking at Economic Club.
National Journal
Billy House
See more stories about...
Billy House
Oct. 4, 2013, 11:25 a.m.

Speak­er John Boehner de­clared an­grily Fri­day that this gov­ern­ment shut­down im­passe “isn’t some damn game,” a fiery de­mean­or just mo­ments after he emerged from a meet­ing with House Re­pub­lic­ans that began with him hu­mor­ously read­ing notes from school kids that he said are en­cour­aging him, “Don’t be sad” and “Hang in there.”

Boehner and most oth­er Re­pub­lic­ans left the closed-door meet­ing pro­claim­ing unity, as gov­ern­ment op­er­a­tions re­mained closed in­to a fourth day.

The speak­er’s re­marks that the shut­down stand-off with Pres­id­ent Obama and con­gres­sion­al Demo­crats is not a game was promp­ted by a story in The Wall Street Journ­al, which re­por­ted an uniden­ti­fied Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cial as say­ing, “We are win­ning.” Boehner held up a copy of the news­pa­per dur­ing his news con­fer­ence.

Boehner said he has told Obama that “no one gets 100 per­cent” of what they want, and the pres­id­ent is not go­ing to get 100 per­cent of what he wants either.

His earli­er closed-door meet­ing Fri­day with fel­low House Re­pub­lic­ans had been seen as a po­ten­tial new junc­ture in the stand-off. But those in at­tend­ance said there was no back-track­ing by Boehner in his prom­ises to re­main faith­ful to the hard-line de­mands with­in his con­fer­ence not to ac­cede to a “clean” short-term bill to re­start fund­ing for gov­ern­ment op­er­a­tions. Hard-liners con­tin­ue to push for some con­ces­sion in re­turn, fo­cus­ing on a delay or de­fund­ing of the Af­ford­able Care Act.

In fact, little new strategy was de­scribed as spun by Boehner at all, as House Re­pub­lic­ans were set to con­tin­ue with floor ac­tion Fri­day and Sat­urday on piece-meal fund­ing bills for gov­ern­ment pro­grams that the Demo­crat­ic-led Sen­ate had already said it will re­ject. One such bill that would give fur­loughed fed­er­al em­ploy­ees their missed back pay ret­ro­act­ively, once the shut­down ends, might get the sup­port of the Sen­ate and White House, however.

Mean­while, the shut­down battle is now mer­ging in­to an­oth­er fight over keep­ing the na­tion out of de­fault. The na­tion’s $16.7 tril­lion bor­row­ing lim­it is pro­jec­ted by Treas­ury to be ex­hausted by about Oct. 17, and there is no clear path to how con­gres­sion­al Re­pub­lic­ans can come to agree­ment with Demo­crats and the White House on ex­tend­ing the na­tion’s abil­ity to bor­row. Re­pub­lic­ans have said they will de­mand spend­ing cuts and oth­er con­ces­sions in re­turn for an agree­ment, while Obama and Demo­crats say they will not bar­gain over the na­tion’s abil­ity to pay its bills.

A be­lief among many law­makers is that both is­sues—the needs for deals both on a gov­ern­ment-fund­ing bill and a debt-ceil­ing in­crease—will now be handled in one big bar­gain. And Re­pub­lic­ans who entered Fri­day’s meet­ing ex­pec­ted Boehner to pos­sibly dis­cuss a strategy for ty­ing the two is­sues to­geth­er in some fash­ion.

But they left say­ing he did not do so in any con­crete or spe­cif­ic way—oth­er than to re­af­firm that Re­pub­lic­ans will not let the coun­try go in­to de­fault.

Most did say they were pleased that Boehner in­sisted to them that that me­dia re­ports this week got it wrong—and that he is not go­ing to “roll over” and buck his own party’s hard-liners by seek­ing to pass any clean debt ceil­ing bill with a com­bin­a­tion of Demo­crat­ic votes and Re­pub­lic­an votes to help get it through. And that seemed to please most of the Re­pub­lic­ans in the room, they said.

“Ob­vi­ously, it is a mat­ter of who blinks (first),” said Rep. Phil Gin­grey, R-Ga., who ac­know­ledged that much na­tion­al polling shows Amer­ic­ans are not ne­ces­sar­ily in the Re­pub­lic­ans’ corner in the stand-off. But Gin­grey said the stance be­ing taken “is not poll driv­en; we are proud of do­ing the right thing.”

“Through this whole thing we con­tin­ue to of­fer solu­tions,” said Rep. Den­nis Ross, R-Fla., “but we’re up against a Sen­ate and a pres­id­ent ab­so­lutely in­transigent, which is con­trary to this sys­tem of gov­ern­ment, and I think that res­on­ates with the Amer­ic­an people.”

However, one seni­or House Re­pub­lic­an aide, speak­ing on the con­di­tion he not be iden­ti­fied, said the House GOP’s pub­lic po­s­i­tion­ing will get only tough­er next week, “when mort­gage pay­ments have to be paid.”

That aide noted many gov­ern­ment em­ploy­ees get paid every two weeks, mean­ing the real brunt of the shut­down and fur­loughs on them have not yet hit. But for now, he said, many of these GOP hard-liners are like kids warned not to touch the hot (shut­down) stove, but who have reached out any­way, and are now feel­ing cocky be­cause they haven’t been burned.

Some more-mod­er­ate mem­bers, like Rep. Peter King of New York, con­tin­ued Fri­day to say House Re­pub­lic­ans should go ahead and put the Sen­ate’s “clean” gov­ern­ment fund­ing bill on the floor for a vote that could end the shut­down—without adding anti-Obama­care lan­guage—and that, “we should have ended this a time ago.”

Boehner ex­hib­ited a play­ful mood to his con­fer­ence in his open­ing re­marks at the closed-door con­fer­ence, in an ef­fort at both en­cour­age­ment and hu­mor.

Boehner told them that he vo­lun­teers at Cath­ol­ic schools in the north­ern part of D.C. and that some middle school­ers had heard he was hav­ing a rough time. So, Boehner told his fel­low Re­pub­lic­ans, some of those stu­dents have sent him some notes of en­cour­age­ment.

Among their ad­vice for him, said Boehner, was “Don’t be Sad,” “Hang In there,” “Take time Off,” “Med­it­ate,” and even, “Take a Shower and Re­lax.”

What We're Following See More »
A DARK CLOUD OVER TRUMP?
Snowstorm Could Impact Primary Turnout
2 days ago
THE LATEST

A snowstorm is supposed to hit New Hampshire today and “linger into Primary Tuesday.” GOP consultant Ron Kaufman said lower turnout should help candidates who have spent a lot of time in the state tending to retail politicking. Donald Trump “has acknowledged that he needs to step up his ground-game, and a heavy snowfall could depress his figures relative to more organized candidates.”

Source:
IN CASE OF EMERGENCY
A Shake-Up in the Offing in the Clinton Camp?
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

Anticipating a primary loss in New Hampshire on Tuesday, Hillary and Bill Clinton “are considering staffing and strategy changes” to their campaign. Sources tell Politico that the Clintons are likely to layer over top officials with experienced talent, rather than fire their staff en masse.

Source:
THE LAST ROUND OF NEW HAMPSHIRE POLLS
Trump Is Still Ahead, but Who’s in Second?
1 days ago
THE LATEST

We may not be talking about New Hampshire primary polls for another three-and-a-half years, so here goes:

  • American Research Group’s tracking poll has Donald Trump in the lead with 30% support, followed by Marco Rubio and John Kasich tying for second place at 16%. On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders leads Hillary Clinton 53%-41%.
  • The 7 News/UMass Lowell tracking poll has Trump way out front with 34%, followed by Rubio and Ted Cruz with 13% apiece. Among the Democrats, Sanders is in front 56%-40%.
  • A Gravis poll puts Trump ahead with 28%, followed by Kasich with 17% and Rubio with 15%.
IT’S ALL ABOUT SECOND PLACE
CNN Calls the Primary for Sanders and Trump
19 hours ago
THE LATEST

Well that didn’t take long. CNN has already declared Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump the winners of the New Hampshire primary, leaving the rest of the candidates to fight for the scraps. Five minutes later, the Associated Press echoed CNN’s call.

Source:
×