The budget summit at the White House has ended, with predictable results. Speaker John Boehner released a statement a short while ago, picked up by the Daily Caller, saying that no deal had been reached, and left little hope that Barack Obama or Harry Reid intend to get serious about reducing spending and deficits:
Democratic President Obama and Republican House Speaker John Boehner have not reached an agreement on a spending bill to fund the government for the rest of the year according to a statement from Boehner’s office.
“While there was a good discussion, no agreement was reached,” the statement says.
As for the discussion, Boehner tweeted an assessment earlier that sounded a lot less positive:
Boehner also tweeted at about 11:30 a.m., “It’s become sadly evident to me that the White House and Senate Democrats are just not serious yet about enacting real spending cuts.[“]
Boehner refused to make a choice between bad and worse, according to his statement as reported by Politico:
“The Speaker told the president that the House will not be put in a box and forced to choose between two options that are bad for the country (accepting a bad deal that fails to make real spending cuts, or accepting a government shutdown due to Senate inaction),” according to the release from Boehner’s office.
Where does this leave the budget? The House has already passed one full-year budget, while the Senate has yet to pass anything from either party. Boehner had held off proposing a new version of HR1 while the negotiations took place. The only option now would be to try to get the Senate to pass HR1 again, push the new CR, or head into a shutdown.
The White House isn’t keen on another CR, says Eric Cantor, and that puts the shutdown on their shoulders:
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor already accused the White House Tuesday of setting up a shutdown by rejecting a short-term deal that would slash $12 billion and keep the government running for another week.
“The White House has indicated now that they are already rejecting that notion,” Cantor said of the proposal, “raising the risk for a government shutdown.”
The Appropriations Committee released a bill that would fund the government for a week, but cuts $12 billion and keeps the Defense Department funded.
Brinksmanship has about another 60 hours to play out. My guess is that the CR has a good shot at getting through if Boehner and Cantor push it hard enough. Even if Democrats refuse it, however, the effort puts Republicans in position to show good-faith efforts to stop a government shutdown, as I wrote in my previous post. The White House must be betting that voters will just blame the GOP for any failure, but that’s a risky bet to make in this political environment, especially with the President all but abdicating leadership on budgetary matters.
Update: Heritage Action for America asks a good question — if an Obama government shuts down, could anyone tell the difference?
Update II: Fixed the coding error, and changed the title. As Gabriel Malor said in an e-mail, it made it sound as if Boehner turned down a deal.