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GOP, Democrats Still at Loggerheads as Shutdown Drags On

Barrington M. Salmon | 10/9/2013, 3 p.m.
It’s Week Two of a government shutdown which has paralyzed the nation and brought government operations to a virtual standstill.

Gray has requested a meeting with Obama and Congressional leaders to discuss the effects of the shutdown on the city, and there’s a plan to protest the shutdown on the East Lawn of the Capitol Wednesday afternoon.

David A. Bositis, senior political analyst at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in Northwest, called the Republicans’ actions “nothing but extortion.”

“[They] had their chance the first Tuesday in November, but they lost,” Bositis said. “Ann Romney was already measuring drapes in the Oval Office. Every four years, the white population is reduced by two percent. With the new minority-majority, conservatives are going to die. That’s why they’re so angry. But look on the bright side, if they default on the debt, the Koch brothers will lose billions.”

Bositis, a noted author and editor, said the shutdown was unavoidable because Obamacare opponents, in what a New York Times story described as “a constellation of conservative groups,” met and produced a blueprint to defund Obamacare by shutting down the federal government.

“The Koch brothers, Ed Meese and others met in secret. They’re unindicted co-conspirators,” Bositis said. “This has the potential to really end very, very badly. We could see another recession worse than 2008. The Dow, as we speak, is 14,990. In March 2009, it was at 6,500. It could easily go back to 6,500. 401Ks, pensions and assets could be in the toilet.”

One issue that portends more gridlock is the Thursday, Oct. 17 deadline to raise the debt ceiling. Conservative Republicans know that as America runs out of money to pay its bills, Obama will need Congress’ approval to raise the debt ceiling. The GOP wants to extract concessions such as “reforms” of social welfare programs and cuts to the long-term deficit in return for raising the $16.7 trillion debt limit.

Obama has refused to negotiate, saying that he’s willing to sit down only after the GOP ends the standoff and raises the debt limit.

“This is very much tied to the debt ceiling. That’s the real issue,” Bositis said. “The government shutdown is bad, but [not raising] the debt ceiling would be catastrophic. The only way out of this is for Boehner to put a resolution on the floor with ‘clean’ bills for both.”

“This time around, Obama isn’t going to concede anything. He essentially would be giving Romney the election. The Republicans aren’t holding Congress hostage, Boehner is.”

If Boehner introduced a “clean” continuing resolution to the floor, it would likely pass, but would ignite an insurrection in the GOP ranks.

On Tuesday, Obama likened a U.S. debt default to a nuclear bomb hitting the economy. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has called on Congress to increase the debt ceiling limit quickly to avoid "substantial and enduring damage" to the economy, which Congress has ignored.

As the brinksmanship continues, uncertainty has rattled financial markets and consumer confidence, leaving federal employees anxious and unnerved.

Michael Watson (not his real name) a federal government employee for 19 years, has been sitting at home since Oct. 1.