Maybe Geithner was trying to prod lawmakers to act quickly, but when Hill politicos read that, they immediately thought: We have loads of time. “It doesn’t hafta hafta be done until July 8,” says one GOP Senate source. “We’ve got all of May and all of June.” Remember, the last crisis, averting a government shutdown, was literally settled at the 11th hour on the day the government was to have closed.
That’s why Geithner took to the talk shows on Sunday to argue that there can’t be shutdown-style brinksmanship this time. “If you take it too close to the edge, then people will start to wonder, really, what are we doing, what are we thinking,” Geithner told ABC.
The treasury secretary is unlikely to get his wish. Both sides are so far apart, and feel they have so much time, that it’s impossible to imagine the issue being resolved before the end of June, or maybe early July. Especially not with Speaker John Boehner telling President Obama that the White House can forget about getting a so-called “clean” bill, that is, one that raises the ceiling without other measures to control spending. “There will not be an increase in the debt limit without something really, really big attached to it,” Boehner said at a fundraiser April 9.