Yesterday President Barack Obama invited the leader of both parties in both Chambers to the White House for a meeting about ending the shutdown and raising the debt ceiling, which must be done in the next two weeks. This morning, the government was still shut down.
The Hill: No Sign of Government Shutdown Ending After White House Meeting
One of the proposals to end the shutdown is a “clean” continuing resolution (CR), which would essentially provide the same amount of money for the government as last year, without any changes in policy. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said today that it would not work, since it would require all Democrats to vote for such a CR. A clean CR would keep automatic budget cuts, known as sequesters, in place, which liberal Democrats have pledged to fight.
The Hill: Cantor Suggests ‘Clean’ Continuing Resolution Wouldn’t Pass House
Part of the problems with the clean CR solution is that it would violate the “Hastert Rule,” which states that the House leadership should a bill to a vote only if it enjoys the support of a majority of the majority. The Hastert Rule, which we have critiqued in the past, is named in honor of former Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, who denies that he originated it.
National Journal: Dennis Hastert: ‘There Is No Hastert Rule’
Despite the potential problems of the Hastert Rule, one of its quirks is that a bill that enjoys a wide consensus would satisfy it. If Washington would like to enact a stable solution to its fiscal problems, elected officials would need to reach a very wide-ranging consensus. They would have to come to a…wait for it…a…GRAND BARGAIN! It has been elusive in the past—see Bob Woodward’s The Price of Politics for more details—but some are wondering if that is the only viable solution.
Politico: Is Grand Bargain the Only Way Out?
And if a grand bargain doesn’t work, there is always divine intervention.
Roll Call: Senate Chaplain Asks God to ‘Save Us from the Madness’ of a Shutdown
Senate Chaplain Barry Black really knows how to make the news.