Republicans in Washington are singing Jim Morrison today: “This is the end/My only friend, the end…” The government will be reopened soon, but they will be left out in the cold. The only thing consoling for them is that the shutdown and debt ceiling drama can do them no more damage.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced a deal today that would reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling. The government will be funded until the middle of January 2014 and the debt ceiling will be pegged at a level allowing the country to borrow until the beginning of February. The Senate will vote on the deal first, and then it will go to the House of Representatives.
Senator Ted Cruz was a leader in the movement to use the spending legislation to defund Obamacare, so some were wondering how he would react to the deal. He said he would not try to hold up the legislation.
In all this, the man with the most thankless job was Speaker of the House John Boehner. A conservative who is open to compromise, he has had to lead the House Republican Conference, which includes a number of conservatives who are less willing to do so. Earlier this year, a number of this wing of the party tried to depose the Speaker. However, they have pledged not to do so now, even though he supports the Senate deal.
The government will be funded for an additional three months, when, in all likelihood, the Congress will come close to another shutdown. It will be interesting to see what the right-wing Republicans learned from this episode, since it doesn’t look like they got much of anything out of it. As Byron York points out, they actually could have gotten a little bit of something if they had gone along with the House leadership’s last attempted plan.