John Boehner has a plan
You can sum up John Boehner’s strategy right now in four words: One at a time. Or, as his spokesman, Michael Steel, said in response to Democrats who wanted to merge the funding bill for 2011 into a broader conversation about deficit reduction, “we need to crawl before we can walk, and that means finishing last year’s business and complete a spending bill.”
It’s a very smart play: The threat behind the current fight is the possibility of a government shutdown. Democrats want to avoid that, while quite a few Republicans think it might be a good idea. In order to keep the government’s lights on, Boehner is demanding more than $60 billion in cuts for the rest of this year — a number that’ll destroy between 200,000 and 700,000 jobs, depending on whether you use Ben Bernanke’s estimate or Mark Zandi’s model.
In two months, we reach the debt ceiling. The threat here is even worse: the government defaults, throwing markets into chaos and strangling the recovery in his crib. More than 70 House Republicans have already signed a letter opposing a rise in the debt ceiling, and Jim DeMint is pushing the same line in the Senate. Boehner doesn’t want to see a default, but in order to avoid one, he’ll again demand huge concessions from the Democrats.
And then, as we finish off the year, we’ll need to pass legislation funding the government in 2012. Once again, the threat is a shutdown, and that gives Republicans leverage to demand major concessions from the Democrats.
Boehner wants to keep each of these separate, because each one is an opportunity to demand more and larger concessions from the Democrats. Democrats need to bring them together, which is part of why they’re trying to slide the 2011 spending bill into a larger deficit-reduction conversation that can also include a rise in the debt limit. At the moment, this — and not specific spending bills — is the key fight in deciding what the next year’s fiscal policy will look like.
| March 9, 2011; 9:43 AM ET
Save & Share: Previous: Wonkbook: Democrats want entitlements, taxes, and subsidies on the table
Next: How do you define 'rural subsidies'?
Posted by: pj_camp | March 9, 2011 10:05 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Mazzi455 | March 9, 2011 10:14 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: scarlota | March 9, 2011 10:18 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: EducatingTheFools | March 9, 2011 10:22 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: wdsoulplane | March 9, 2011 10:23 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Nylund154 | March 9, 2011 10:40 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: arm3 | March 9, 2011 10:46 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: MosBen | March 9, 2011 10:54 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: paulyheins | March 9, 2011 11:17 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: rfjohnson77 | March 9, 2011 12:09 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: snargy2 | March 9, 2011 1:07 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: BHeffernan1 | March 9, 2011 1:42 PM | Report abuse