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And on Tuesday, after weeks of warning of a financial meltdown on Aug. 2, the Washington Post reported that three large financial institutions, UBS, Barclays and Wells Fargo, now believe that the government won’t “run out of money to pay all bills” before Aug. 8, or possibly until the end of the month.
Is it any wonder that House Republicans are cynical about promises to cut spending and address the nation’s long-term economic health through entitlement reform?
So what do House Republicans want and need right now?
“We need to be able to tell voters that we’ve fixed the debt problem, that we won’t need to continue to raise the debt ceiling again and again in the future,” one GOP operative said, setting the bar extremely high.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama looks terribly weak and irrelevant, a mere bit player as the all-important third act opens.
While he calls for shared sacrifice and higher taxes on the wealthy, Reid offers a plan that cuts spending but raises no taxes.
Less than three weeks ago, the president vowed to veto a short-term extension of the debt limit to give negotiators more time to construct a deal. But now, it’s clear that politically he could not afford to do so.
“In the end,” one GOP strategist told me recently, “somebody is going to have to blink.” It’s still unclear whether it will be Boehner, Reid or Obama. But I wouldn’t yet count on it being House tea party conservatives.
Stuart Rothenberg is editor of the Rothenberg Political Report.