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Reason Major Budget Deal Failed In Washington Due To Conservative Republicans

July 11, 2011

On July 7th I asked the basic question.

Question for Republicans…what matters more….nation’s economic health…..or partisan politics?

On July 8th I wrote the following.

I have long suspected that House Speaker Boehner wants more of a moderate plan that can actually pass, and may at the end of the day need to arouse some wrath from congressional teabaggers in order to get a deal for the country.  After all, there is no way that the harsh measures from the extreme right of his party can be implemented.  But the middle road approach of means testing some entitlements, and closing tax loopholes would have, I strongly suspect,  enough votes to pass.

This weekend we learned that the large deal collapsed, and the White House along with Boehner are trying to strike a smaller deal.

Today The New York Times analyses why that has happened…..which takes me back to what I asked on July 7th.  Question for Republicans…what matters more….nation’s economic health…..or partisan politics?

But the speaker’s lofty ambitions quickly crashed into the political reality of a divided, highly partisan Congress. His decision on Saturday night to abandon the comprehensive deficit-reduction package, citing the White House’s insistence on tax increases, was a sharp reversal. It highlighted the challenge he faces in persuading his party to tolerate any compromise on government spending and exposed the fissures within his own leadership team over how to proceed.       

Had Mr. Boehner forged ahead with a plan that fell flat with his rank and file, it could conceivably have led to a challenge of his leadership position, and it would certainly have undermined confidence among conservatives in his ability to lead the Republicans. Even opening the door to increased revenues as part of a deal with Mr. Obama and the Democrats struck many Republicans as a profound misreading of what conservatives, in Congress and at the grass-roots level, would tolerate.       

Yet in his push for a sweeping deal, Mr. Boehner may also have underestimated the willingness of Mr. Obama to make concessions on traditional Democratic priorities and to challenge Congressional Democrats to give ground on programs like Medicare and Social Security, an approach that put pressure on Mr. Boehner to cede territory as well.       

This point seems not correct as reports have surfaced for days of real savings from entitlements on the table, to the point that some on the left in Congress were truly upset.  But when there is one party that will not even think or consider that any new tax revenues must be created to run government, that only leads to a most dysfunctional problem in Washington.

As an example, Republicans led by Congressman Cantor, rejected proposals to close loopholes or other tax breaks for owners of corporate jets, oil and gas companies and hedge funds. They said these measures, which would have raised about $130 billion, amounted to tax increases.

By pulling the plug on those negotiations, Mr. Boehner no doubt reduced the prospect of a messy fight within his party. But he also disappointed those — including some Republicans — who had hoped lawmakers and Mr. Obama could defy the odds and deliver a budget deal of historic consequence.      

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