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Friday, December 2, 2011

White House Warns Spending Talks On Track For Another Shutdown ‘Crisis’

White House Warns Spending Talks Are On Track For Another Government Shutdown ‘Crisis’

Are Republicans Ready To Cave Again?

By Dell Hill

As Yogi Berra once observed, "It's deja vu all over again!".

“White House Budget Director Jack Lew on Friday warned that the negotiations on the 2012 omnibus spending bill are going poorly and could soon lead to a “crisis” that shuts down the government.

Appropriators are negotiating a nine-bill, $900 billion omnibus package, but the White House and Republicans are at odds over rider provisions attached to the spending bills, including ones related to abortion and the environment. Funding for the government runs out Dec. 16, leaving little time to resolve the disputes.

Lew said President Obama is prepared to veto an omnibus with ideological riders in it.”

Lew would not say that each and every rider needs to be removed from the bill, and instead said that appropriators know which types of provisions must be removed.  He cited family planning, women’s health, healthcare reform and mining in the Grand Canyon as examples of extreme provisions that the White House will not accept.

“The president is not going to be in a place where he can say everyone can go home for the holidays unless this gets done,” Lew said.

Well, of course he won’t Mr. Lew.  The President will be in a perfect position to say “There’s no Christmas this year because the Republicans voted against it”.  We know, from past experience, how this scene is played out.  We’ve been down this very same road twice before this year!

And speaking of what position the President will be in, we fully expect he’ll be on a much-needed and well-earned golf outing in Hawaii, because it’s much too cold to play golf at St. Andrews.

What would be really cool is for the Republicans to take a page from the Newt Gingrich playbook and let the government shut down.  (It never really “shuts down”...all kinds of vital services continue to function.  The term itself is used the scare the bejabbers out of naive followers.)

When President Bill Clinton tried this stunt, Newt was Speaker of the House and called Clinton’s bluff.  As soon as Clinton realized that the Republicans would go there, he backed off with the politically motivated scare tactics.

Would it be too much of a stretch to expect John Boehner’s House Republicans to do the same?  

Yeah, I think so, too.

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