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Posted at 11:12 AM ET, 02/28/2011

A shutdown is still likely

By Ezra Klein

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.

By Ezra Klein  | February 28, 2011; 11:12 AM ET
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Kicking the can down the road for a mere 14 days suggests to me that a stalemate causing a shutdown is even more likely. There still seems to be no framework for a solution that will be palatable to both parties.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 28, 2011 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Republicans are still ahead of Democrats,
with $65 Billion. Democrats have been in control of congress since 2007 and haven't cut a penny.

Posted by: ohioan | February 28, 2011 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Start picketing the Capitol on weekends federal employees!

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | February 28, 2011 12:34 PM | Report abuse

I know it sounds stupid, but I'm a working guy and tried to imagine why I would care if the government shut down and everyone just went home. Aside from some police, firemen and the military, I couldn't find a way I would even know.

Posted by: tommariner | February 28, 2011 8:24 PM | Report abuse


Maybe you put your paycheck into a bank, which is FDIC-insured so you don't get wiped out if your bank goes under. Maybe you eat meat that gets inspected by the USDA, or take medicines that have to meet FDA standards. Maybe your family hasn't gotten a deadly foodborne illness because that bad batch of hamburger, eggs, spinach, or raspberries was recalled in time. Maybe you haven't been injured at work because of standards imposed by OSHA or another agency. Maybe your children weren't injured or killed by cheap, defective cribs, strollers, or toys. Maybe your car isn't a deathtrap because the manufacturer was required to install seatbelts and to meet other minimal safety standards. Maybe your neighborhood hasn't been destroyed by industrial pollution or exploding pipelines because federal regulators have kept an eye on companies that might view such an incident as an absorbable cost of doing business and an unfortunate PR situation. Maybe you drive to work on a federally funded highway -- or even a bridge that hasn't collapsed yet because of government funding. Maybe you have flown somewhere on a plane that met certain safety standards, flown by a qualified pilot, and directed around other planes by FAA controllers. Maybe you have avoided losing money to fraudulent schemes because the FTC caught them. Maybe you have phone service (and even internet) because the FCC made sure that your part of the country got wired, even when it might not have been economical to do so. Maybe you have been spared deadly communicable diseases or have benefited from treatments for illnesses that resulted from federal research.

And so on...

Posted by: Janine1 | March 1, 2011 12:42 PM | Report abuse

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