The government shutdown 2011 is 48 hours away. Of course, this is nothing new, as a shutdown was a few days away earlier in 2011, yet the government stayed open. But this time, there seems to be more resignation that nothing may get settled either in the short or long term. The most devastating sign yet came yesterday when Speaker John Boehner and President Obama were farther apart than ever in their negotiations.
Both sides came together for one more meeting in a desperate attempt to stave off Armageddon. Although Republicans and Democrats both want to cut the budget down, they are still tens of billions apart on how much it takes to do it.
Boehner and Obama got no closer to bridging that gap, as the president stated he would not pass another temporary spending bill. Yet he still stated that they were “closer than we have ever been” to a deal, although Boehner was far less optimistic.
The speaker wanted to adopt an agreement that would keep the federal government from a shutdown for another week. However, the president would only accept an extension of two to three days, and only if it could lead to a long-term deal.
Yet anything resembling a long-term deal has been nowhere to be found in this debate. The 2011 budget has been continuously held up by partisan and ideological disagreements – so much so that they’ve already begun arguing over 2012 spending plans.
While Boehner and Obama met over the current standoff, the groundwork was laid for the next one, as House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan introduced a 2012 budget proposal that would cut billions. His plan includes lowering the corporate tax rate to 25 percent, cutting $700 billion from Medicaid in the next decade, and a repeal of “Obamacare.”
Republicans and Democrats are already threatening to lock down over smaller cuts than this. If they can’t even agree on those cuts, then the dispute to come in 2012 will probably be even harsher. As such, the federal work schedule could go off and on over the next two years at this rate. But with an election year coming, at least one side would likely have to compromise eventually.
The GOP can probably afford to compromise the least, now that they’re trying to act on their promise to slash the budget. The Obama administration has already been hammered for going back on their lofty words from the campaign. Therefore, the White House really doesn’t need to get blamed for the effects of a federal lockdown as well.
The government won’t get shut down for another two days, so there is still technically time for some sort of deal. Last-minute agreements have staved off disaster throughout 2011, yet that method may have just run its course this time.
CBS News- “Obama: Government shutdown ‘inexcusable'”
FOX News- “Shutdown Looms Without Further Meeting Between White House, Congress”
Washington Post- “Republicans embrace Rep. Ryan’s government budget plan for 2012”