As the rhetoric is increasing, so are the chances for a government shutdown. Following a meeting with House Speaker John Boehner and Senate leader Harry Reid, President Obama expressed his exasperation: “As I’ve said before, we have now matched the number that the speaker originally sought. The only question is whether politics or ideology are going to get in the way of preventing a government shutdown.”
To clarify, the original “number” was $61 billion in cuts, passed by the House in March. The Democrats offered $10 billion in cuts initially, and then raised it to $33 billion. Boehner suggested he could “sell” $40 billion in cuts to the House as a compromise, $7 billion more than the Democrats are offering, but $21 billion less than the House wanted. And so, pick a number. It’s a game.