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October 16, 2013 1:10 PM Not With a Bang But a Whimper

By Ed Kilgore

So it appears the Great Government Shutdown and Debt Default Saga of 2013 is over. Senate leaders Reid and McConnell have announced an agreement that includes small reciprocal “concessions” to both parties: for the Dems flexibility for the Treasury in managing funds to put off a debt default, and for the GOPers, steps to beef up enforcement of Obamacare’s means test for health insurance subsidies. The debt limit will be extended to February 7. And the CR reopening government will extend to January 15, accompanied by budget negotiations revolving around the second round of sequestration scheduled to hit that day.

In a mild surprise, Ted Cruz is saying he won’t hold up a Senate vote to approve the deal (though he will vote against it). And that means earlier plans to insist that John Boehner start the process by passing it in the House with mostly Democratic votes will likely be put aside, avoiding a second straight day of utter humiliation for the permatanned Speaker. Now it appears the House vote will anti-climactically follow the Senate’s.

Speaking of the Speaker, the Montgomery/Kane/Wilgoren report on the deal at WaPo has a revelation about the failed Boehner effort to leap into the end-game that has to provide some laughs to the wingnuts who foiled it:

GOP senators had pleaded with Boehner late last week to try to pass a bill that would give Senate Republicans leverage in their talks with Reid. On Monday, Boehner met with McConnell and several other Senate Republicans. And on Tuesday, Boehner was ready to go.

So it’s the RINO squish Senate Republicans who were behind Boehner’s firm step forward onto a garden rake! Shoulda known.

All in all, this unnecessary stroll through an early Halloween house of horrors looks as though it will end not with a bang but a whimper, with the loudest whimpering coming from him that loosely holds the House gavel.

UPDATE: When I wrote this I didn’t realize that my esteemed friend Jonathan Cohn had used the same poetic metaphor to describe Boehner’s final, futile spasms of failed leadership in a TNR post last night. Great minds and all that.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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