1. Any deal that comes from the White House will not pass muster with House Republicans. So every effort MUST start and end in Congress. That is an incontrovertible political truth.
2. There are no cage-rattlers at the White House. Rahm Emanuel was a cage-rattler. He was capable of making ripples that could tip dynamics and make the incontrovertible … controvertible. The White House today is much quieter. There are no huge, saber-teeth personalities.
3. The agencies are doing the job for him. From flight delays to FBI furloughs, entities that are more trusted than politicians are giving the lowdown to the media, which is repeating it. The projected misery is what will influence public opinion, which, in turn, might influence Congress.