Now entering the second week of a partial closure of the federal government, citizens and employees want to know when Congress will act and when the government will reopen.
Unfortunately, the wait may last another full week, or two, or more.
Since Congress was unable to avert the shutdown by acting to continue funding government operations prior to October 1, both political parties now see the leverage in negotiations as having shifted to the larger battle – that around the debt limit, which the nation will reach on or about October 17.
The President has repeatedly said he will not negotiate over the debt limit, insisting that it be “clean” and not contain any extraneous policy riders. This weekend House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said “we’re not going to pass a clean debt limit increase.”
Despite warnings from the business community that a default on the national debt would be catastrophic for a nation recovering from recession, and for the global economy, some representatives appear ready to take the nation over the edge.
The steadfast conviction held by those members that they are pursuing a righteous course may indeed result in the nation’s first default on its sovereign debt, unless congressional leaders break from their corners and allow a “clean” government funding or debt limit measure with bipartisan backing to come to the floor.
With nine days available until the debt limit is actually hit, the political parties will likely continue sticking to their talking points until the deadline is much closer. No one knows if one side or the other will blink at that point, or if the nation will actually cross over that limit.
Some predict that it is entirely possible that surpassing the debt limit will be required for this crisis to come to a conclusion.