WASHINGTON — The scene here is starting to resemble a much more high-stakes version of the TV show “Deal or No Deal,” and it looks like House Speaker John Boehner will ultimately be the guy who has to decide whether to push the red button and take $33 billion or more in cuts, or tell the proverbial banker (in this case President Obama and Senate Democrats) there’s no deal and the government is going to shut down.
Here’s where we stand as of about noon today:
- The government’s appropriations authority runs out Friday at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time. That’s 36 hours away.
- Both Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said they’re less confident of a deal now than they were last night, when they met with President Obama for two hours in the White House. Another meeting between the three is set for this afternoon.
- House Republicans are set to vote on a one-week extension, with $12 billion in additional cuts, within the hour. They’re calling it a “troop funding bill” in statements, because they’ve added in language allowing paychecks for military members during any shutdown, but the legislation has riders attached that make it a no go in the Senate. President Obama issued a veto threat today.
- Realizing that voting against troop funding is an untenable position, House Democrats responded with a so-called “clean” bill offer, continuing government funding for a week with no changes. House Republicans rejected that offer.
- Democrats are saying the hitch in the deal is now no longer over numbers, but policy riders. Specifically: Curbing the power of the EPA, various abortion restrictions in the District of Columbia and defunding Planned Parenthood. To little surprise, those have been ruled out as well.
- Remember that Republicans originally asked for $33 billion in cuts. They’ve been conceded that already. A very large part of the reason negotiations are still ongoing is that a very large number of the Republican caucus in the House thinks the opening bid was too low.
- Friday, which had been an off day, is now a work day. Majority Leader Eric Cantor said on the House floor minutes ago that the House would remain at work until “we have fufilled our obligation and begin getting our fiscal house in order,” at which point he was interrupted by a standing ovation from the right side of the aisle.
Update: The House passed the veto-threatened continuing resolution on an almost party-line vote, 247-181. Republicans Chip Cravaack, John Kline, Erik Paulsen and Democrat Collin Peterson voted yes; Democrats Keith Ellison, Betty McCollum, Tim Walz and Republican Michele Bachmann voted no.