As of Friday morning, there's no deal to raise the debt ceiling and both parties want everybody to know it.
"There is no deal," House Speaker John Boehner said on 'The Rush Limbaugh Show' Thursday evening. "No deal publicly, no deal privately; there is absolutely no deal."
White House press secretary Jay Carney similarly sought to dampen speculation that a deal is near. "The fact is that there is no progress to report," he said Thursday afternoon after The New York Times reported a deal was at hand.
So with less than two weeks to go before the Aug. 2 deadline set by Treasury Secretary Geithner, our elected officials seem unable to come up with a compromise — grand or otherwise — to avoid a default — technical or otherwise — and the potential financial market upheaval that may result.
And while all this is going on, the Senate today will be spending time voting on the House "Cut, Cap and Balance" bill that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says has zero chance of passage.
There is a method to the madness of Washington, says David Walker, CEO of the Comeback America Initiative and former U.S. Comptroller General. Casting symbolic votes is important for some politicians so they can show constituents they're "trying as hard as you can to get done you said you would do," Walker says; having done that, politicians typically are more willing and able to compromise.
As was the case 10 days ago, Walker believes a deal will be reached prior to the Aug. 2 deadline. "The question is: Is it going to be a big deal or a small deal?," he says. "It's looking more and more like they'll do a small deal and do a bigger deal later to take 'em past the election."
One reason Walker remains optimistic is this week's announcement by Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, that allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire would not violate the 'no-tax' pledge signed by 236 House members and 41 senators. That should give Congressional Republicans cover to vote for a deal that includes some revenue and not just spending cuts.
Even if a deal gets done by Aug. 2, Walker says Americans are right to have gone from "disappointed to disgusted" with the political process.
"The real problem is not the partisanship, it's the ideological divide," he says, suggesting there are a "disproportionate" number of Congress members who either either "far right or far left" and don't want compromise.
Unfortunately, political ideology is preventing some in Congress from being "realistic about what needs to be done now and what ultimately has to be done over time," Walker says.
For instance, the concept of 'Cut, Cap and Balance' makes sense, "but numbers they're using don't make sense," he says.
- House Speaker John Boehner
- the Senate
- financial market
- Thursday afternoon