US Spending Impasse: Boehner Halts Talks on Cuts, and House G.O.P. Cheers
Comment of the Day

March 01 2013

Commentary by David Fuller

US Spending Impasse: Boehner Halts Talks on Cuts, and House G.O.P. Cheers

Here is the opening from this interesting article by Ashley Parker for the NYT and IHT (may require subscription registration to see the full article, but here is a PDF version).
WASHINGTON - Speaker John A. Boehner, the man who spent significant portions of the last Congress shuttling to and from the White House for fiscal talks with President Obama that ultimately failed twice to produce a grand bargain, has come around to the idea that the best negotiations are no negotiations.

As the president and Congressional Democrats have tried to force Mr. Boehner back to the table for talks to head off the automatic budget cuts set to take effect on Friday, Mr. Boehner has instead dug in deeper, refusing to even discuss an increase in revenue and insisting in his typical colorful language that it was time for the Senate to produce a measure aimed at the cuts.

"The revenue issue is now closed," Mr. Boehner said Thursday, before the House left town for the weekend without acting on the cuts and a Senate attempt to avert them died. Mr. Boehner said the dispute with Democrats amounted to a question of "how much more money do we want to steal from the American people to fund more government."

"I'm for no more," he said.

While the frustrations of Congressional Democrats and Mr. Obama with Mr. Boehner are reaching a fever pitch, House Republicans could not be more pleased with their leader.

"We asked him to commit to us that when the cuts actually came on March 1, that he would stand firm and not give in, and he's holding to that," said Representative Steve Scalise, Republican of Louisiana and chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee. "I think Friday will be an important day that shows we're finally willing to stand and fight for conservative principles and force Washington to start living within its means. And that will be a big victory."

David Fuller's view In referring to this as an interesting article, I feel compelled to add, on a tedious subject which does not engender confidence in US political governance.

Mr Boehner is fighting to remain Speaker of the House but he can now be credited with speaking on behalf of fiscal conservatives, who are not 'Guns and God' extremists.

I do not think that the current impasse will lead to any 'Grand Bargain' political agreement on US government debt reduction, at least not anytime soon. This is unfortunate as the US economy would be stronger without the political uncertainties, as business leaders have often mentioned.

Meanwhile, President Obama remains in a stronger position following his recent re-election and he is also backed by Federal Reserve Governor Ben Bernanke, who Mitt Romney promised to sack, had he won the Presidential Election. President Obama is unlikely to make any significant concessions on spending, unless his public opinion poll ratings slump ahead of the next US House of Representatives elections on November 4th 2014, when he hopes to overturn the Republican congressional majority.

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