POLITICS

Obama digs in, raising worries

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Politics,Chris Stirewalt,Power Play

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Buzz Cut:
• Obama digs in, raising worries
• Harry Reid: Media critic
• Amber Alert less important than union reps?
• Lew dodges on ObamaCare
• Never too late to make amends

TEN MORE DAYS OF CLIFF DIVING - President Obama is standing by his refusal to negotiate over the ongoing partial government shutdown and the looming debt-limit bust, so House Speaker John Boehner and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew took their talks on the fiscal crisis to the airwaves in dueling Sunday show appearances. The conclusions: The partial shutdown is bound to last for at least another 10 days and the stakes are growing by the hour as Americans come to believe Obama is serious about not budging. Boehner and House Republicans are unified behind a pressure play: They keep passing bills to provide funding for popular programs and Democrats’ sacred cows, particularly retroactive pay guarantees to government workers. If Obama remains aloof from the process, things are going to get very dicey on Wall Street and Main Street. To wit: Markets were already hitting the skids this morning.

[“The president has taken many steps over the last several years to show his willingness to negotiate. He’s done it with Democrats saying he’s too eager to negotiate!” – Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace” defending President Obama’s refusal to negotiate in the current fiscal impasse.]

Boehner’s ballet - Boehner went on ABC’s “This Week” to explain his position on the debt limit. Boehner didn’t dispute reports that he was adamant about not allowing a debt breach, which would block the government from borrowing the more than $3 billion a day it needs for regular functions and also likely send interest rates through the stratosphere. But that doesn’t mean he’s got nothing to bargain with. Boehner could allow a Democrat-led vote for an unconditional debt hike at the 11th hour and lift the limit for just a very short period. If Obama is looking for stability and a lasting bargain, he’ll have to deal. Boehner added “the votes are not in the House to pass a clean debt limit. And the president is risking default by not having a conversation with us.” And Boehner is right… so far. Democrats are feeling the squeeze on funding bills that fund vital services or are helpful to their party’s most important political patrons: unionized government workers.

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