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January 03, 2013

Plan C: Boehner Says He's Done Negotiating Directly With Obama

A day late and a couple of hundred billion dollars short.

In closed-door meetings since leaving the “fiscal cliff” talks two weeks ago, lawmakers and aides say the Speaker has indicated he is abandoning that approach for good and will return fully to the normal legislative process in 2013 — seeking to pass bills through the House that can then be adopted, amended or reconciled by the Senate.

"He is recommitting himself and the House to what we've done, which is working through regular order and letting the House work its will,” an aide to the Speaker told The Hill.

He should have been doing this all along but better late than never I suppose.

Of course this isn't simply about Boehner finally realizing he sucks at negotiating, it's also about the fact that the next two big showdowns (the debt ceiling and a Continuing Resolution to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year) aren't likely to go any better for the GOP. Boehner's basically saying, call me when you're done I'm not going to get blamed for the next rounds of failure by myself.

Oh, you still think the GOP isn't going to cave on the debt ceiling and will go to the mattresses and shut down the government over the CR? Adorable.

I posted this yesterday at my little blog. I figured I'd spare you for a day from the most depressing part of this whole mess.

First, the concession the GOP got from the last debt ceiling hike was $1.2 trillion in cuts that have now been postponed. Assuming the next debt hike is in the same range that means we’ll have to get another $1.2 trillion in cuts for a total of $2.4 trillion just to keep pace with the debt hikes.

Does anyone honestly believe that’s going to happen in two months when we couldn’t find the first set of cuts in over 15 months?

So these “huge” $2.4 trillion cuts (that will never materialize) won’t even begin to touch the $16.5 trillion and growing debt we already have rung up.

And even in some fairy tale world where these cuts are made and are real, the Democrats will want more revenue as part of any deal (remember the $800 billion Boehner offered up instead of a tax rate hike? Now it will be in addition TO that hike).

And what leverage does the GOP have to get anything for a debt hike? The threat to not raise the ceiling? Well they blinked last year on that and they blinked at going over the cliff when the stakes were “only” tax hikes that could easily be undone quickly. Yet we’re supposed to believe the GOP is willing to hold firm on the ceiling, even if it means irreversible damage such as the “full faith and credit” of the US [technically what could happen is somewhat different from the political and market fallout], an interest rate spike that will balloon our out of control debt exponentially overnight and a global recession as the cherry on top?

It’s not going to happen and everyone knows it.

The last pressure point the GOP will have is the upcoming fight on a Continuing Resolution to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year in September. The only leverage they will have then is the threat of a complete government shutdown.

After blinking on the fiscal cliff and debt ceiling, do you really think they will shut the government down? Really?

This is why Boehner will be reelected Speaker today. Who wants to fight a battle to get to preside over that pending disaster. Oh sure, a bunch will run if by some miracle Boehner doesn't get a majority on the first ballot but run an active coup against him? Nope.

Don't think of the New Years' Day Disaster as the end of a long and horrible year for the GOP, think of it as practice for the real disasters that lay ahead.

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posted by DrewM. at 10:11 AM

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