A shutdown is still likely
So does the two-week funding extension show that the two sides can compromise and avoid a shutdown? Not really. Look at what's in the legislation: It makes $4 billion in cuts over the next few weeks, which means it's cutting at the same speed that House Republicans have been demanding all along -- roughly $100 billion if spread out over a year. But because it's only making cuts that President Obama made in his budget, it's not cutting anything Democrats can't live without.
So Republicans managed to resist compromising on how much to cut and Democrats managed to resist compromising on what to cut. That might work for the next two weeks, but it won't work to avoid a shutdown. Going forward, one or both sides are going to have to actually compromise on the part of this that's important to them. So far, Democrats have shown some willingness to move to the right on this -- they don't like a lot of these cuts, even if they are in Obama's budget. But insofar as Republicans have shown a willingness to move, it's been to the right, with John Boehner and the rest of the Republican leadership quieting a tea party revolt by agreeing to cut about $65 billion, rather than the $30-some billion they'd originally announced.
| February 28, 2011; 11:12 AM ET
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