Despite the late Friday market optimism that the government shutdown, and more importantly debt ceiling impasse, may both be coming to an end as more republicans appeared ready to pass a "clean" continuing resolution, it was only fitting that a few hours after Bank of America said an "agreement is almost impossible as long as Obamacare is on the table", that the House speaker Boehner, who appeared on ABC with George Stephanopolous' This Week earlier today, escalated matters once again making any near term resolution virtually impossible.
That this happens on day 6 of the government shutdown (and with neither chamber of Congress set to meet until Monday evening, an eight day or longer shutdown is virtually inevitable) is bad. That this is happening with 11 days left until the debt ceiling X-Date is worse, especially since the republicans have made it clear they will now look to roll the debt ceiling negotiation into the government shutdown debate, both of which are driven fundamentally by the republicans' opposition to Obamacare. Furthermore, with the halfway reopening of the government following the recall of furloughed Pentagon civilian employees, the government's cash will run out that much faster.
Ironically, the fight to defund Obamacare came in earlier than many had expected. As Politico notes, Boehner had expected that the Obamacare fight would come during the next vote to raise the debt ceiling, “but, you know, working with my members, they decided, let's do it now," he said. "And the fact is, this fight was going to come, one way or another. We’re in the fight. We don't want to shut the government down. We’ve passed bills to pay the troops. We passed bills to make sure the federal employees know that they're going to be paid throughout this.... You've never seen a more dedicated group of people who are thoroughly concerned about the future of our country," he said of House Republicans.
"It is time for us to stand and fight." Boehner added.
Below is the excerpt which contains Boehner's admission that he may have changed his mind on a stern resolve to not let the US default:
Boehner also appeared to back off of private assurances he’s offered colleagues that the nation would not default on its debt. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has said the nation will run out of ways to continue to pay all of its bills Oct. 17, making an increase in the debt limit an urgent priority.
Boehner said repeatedly that he does not intend to have the nation default on its debt. But he declined to guarantee that he’d bring a debt-limit bill to the floor of the House without concessions from Democrats.
Asked by Stephanopoulos whether that no negotiations means the country will default on its debt, Boehner responded: “That’s the path we’re on. Listen, the president canceled his trip to Asia. I assumed, well, maybe he wants to have a conversation. I decided to stay here in Washington this weekend. He knows what my phone number is. All he has to do is call.”
About not having enough votes to pass a clean CR in the House, despite evidence that this may no longer be the case as ever more Tea-Partiers flip:
Some 21 House Republicans have said publicly that they’re willing to support a “clean” measure to extend all government funding without other conditions attached, according to ABC News’ count. That’s apparently enough, when added to Democratic votes, to pass a bill out of the House.
But the speaker disputed that notion: “There are not the votes in the house to pass a clean CR.”
“The nation’s credit is at risk because of the administration’s refusal to sit down and have a conversation,” he said. “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…. We’re not going down that path. It is time to deal with America’s problems. How can you raise the debt limit and do nothing about the underlying problem? ”
Just like to Obama it is all the republicans' fault, so the vice versa is obviously true:
Boehner acknowledged that the showdown over government funding, aimed at scaling back the Obama health care law, isn’t a fight that he chose. He also appeared to confirm that, in conversations with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, he had previously sought to ensure full government funding, only to be convinced to take a different course after consulting with his fellow House Republicans.
“I and my members decided that the threat of Obamacare and what was happening was so important that it was time for us to take a stand. And we took a stand,” he said. “I thought the fight would be over the debt ceiling. But you know, working with my members, they decided, well, let’s do it now. And the fact is, this fight was going to come, one way or the other. We’re in the fight.”
Finally, and as always, the bottom line is the simple revenue vs spending issue:
Boehner suggested that he’d like negotiations with the president to include entitlement reform. But he ruled out including new tax revenues as part of a deal.
“The president got … $650 billion of new revenues on January the 1st. He got his revenues. Now, it’s time to talk about the spending problem,” he said. “Very simple. We’re not raising taxes.”
Which, as the Supreme Court found, is just what Obamacare is.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So bottom line, you're saying this is your absolute position. If the president continues to refuse to negotiate over the debt limit, if Democrats refuse to continue to negotiate over the government shutdown, the government is going to remain closed and the United States is going to default?
BOEHNER: The president -- the president, his refusal to talk, is resulting in a possible default on our debt. All he has to do is pick up the phone. This is the most reasonable thing in the world. I think the American people understand, why wouldn't they talk to each other? I'm ready to talk. I've been ready to talk.
STEPHANOPOULOS: When is this going to end?
BOEHNER: If I knew, I would tell you.
The full transcript of Boehner's speech can be found here, and the video of this morning's interview is below.