Open Thread & News Round-Up: Budgetfuck

Here's some of what I've been reading this morning...

WaPoObama, congressional leaders make no progress on budget:
The first federal government shutdown in more than 15 years drew closer Tuesday as President Obama and congressional leaders failed to make progress on a budget for 2011 after back-to-back meetings at the White House and on Capitol Hill.

Obama and Congress remained billions of dollars apart and at odds over where to find savings after an 80-minute West Wing meeting that included House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.). In the meeting, Boehner floated the possibility that he may seek as much as $40 billion in cuts, $7 billion more than the two sides have been discussing for the past week.

Growing irked by the prolonged negotiations, Obama demanded that the congressional leaders "act like grown-ups."

"If they can't sort it out, then I want them back here tomorrow. And if that doesn't work, we'll invite them again the day after that," Obama told reporters in a rare appearance in the press room, hours after the meeting.
A transcript of the presser can be found here.

PoliticoJohn Boehner: Democrats 'win' in government shutdown: "Speaker John Boehner is warning his Republican colleagues that Democrats would 'win' a government shutdown and the GOP would suffer a political catastrophe if the federal government runs out of money at the end of this week. 'The Democrats think they benefit from a government shutdown. I agree,' Boehner said during a closed-door, 90-minute meeting on House Republicans on Monday night, according to several lawmakers who attended the session."

New York TimesBudget Stances Harden as Deadline Nears for Shutdown:
President Obama on Tuesday flatly dismissed a short-term Republican plan to keep the federal government operating past Friday as Speaker John A. Boehner sought deeper spending cuts, putting Congress and the White House on a course toward a government shutdown.

..."As I've said before, we have now matched the number that the speaker originally sought," the president said. "The only question is whether politics or ideology are going to get in the way of preventing a government shutdown."
Also see:

The HillObama, Boehner jostle for edge in spending-plan fight as deadline nears.

Wall Street JournalBudget Talks Head to Brink.

This fight is the Democrats' to lose. The GOP is publicly expressing fears that they'll suffer a backlash if the government shuts down; Congressional Dems and the President just need to have a goddamn spine. At this point, they should be telling the GOP to stuff their budget cuts because AUSTERITY DOESN'T WORK and proposing instead a raft of economy-stimulating infrastructure initiatives, but that would make way too much sense for the Dems. Still. They at least oughtn't cave on anything to a party running scared and bluffing with empty bravado.

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