As we enter day 15 of the government shutdown and Republican poll numbers are dropping out of the sky a deal is reportedly developing in the Senate to end the shutdown and raise the debt ceiling. The deal funds the government until January 15th and raises the debt ceiling until some time in February – the 7th or possibly the 15th.
An emerging deal to reopen the government and raise the nation’s debt ceiling until February gathered political momentum Monday evening after Senate Republicans signaled they would likely support it. Lawmakers and aides said the legislation would fund the government until Jan. 15 and extend the nation’s borrowing authority until February but leave ObamaCare largely untouched.
However, part of the deal relies on a rehash of the super-committee theory in that a joint committee of the House and Senate or a “Senate-House budget committee” will be responsible for ending automatic sequestration cuts. Even if this committee works it is likely to be a vehicle for special interests to spare themselves the pain of austerity while keeping it going on those without friends in Washington.
Senate Republicans, who have seen their party’s approval rating plummet during two weeks of a government shutdown, are eager to accept a deal as long as it keeps spending levels consistent with the 2011 Budget Control Act in place.
“Most everybody that’s on our side of the aisle in the United States Senate feels the $987 [billion spending level] is the thing that can’t be moved,” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said in reference to prolonging current spending levels.
So the $987 billion spending level (or roughly the Ryan Budget) stays and a super-committee of the most ambitious and venal congress members will be convened to decide how to not end but redirect the austerity. No thanks.
But really this is all academic anyway unless there is some movement in the House. Speaker Boehner is reportedly taking a “wait and see” approach, waiting to see if the bill the Senate passes will be acceptable to the Tea Party faction of the House GOP he must seek approval from in order to lead.