Although the government shutdown continues, it appears President Barack Obama and the White House are not getting any closer to negotiating with Republicans. A quotation from an unnamed senior administration official in today’s Wall Street Journal explains why.
Said a senior administration official: “We are winning…It doesn’t really matter to us” how long the shutdown lasts “because what matters is the end result.”
With this view, it explains why President Obama won’t agree to any piecemeal legislation that would keep Veterans Affairs and NIH open during the shutdown. And it explains why President Obama would rather cancel his Asia trip than negotiate with Republicans.
It’s because the White House (or, at least this unnamed official) believe it is “winning” by shutting down the government and blaming Republicans. And when one’s winning, he’s not likely to change course.
As the Journal details, Obama has also argued that he won’t negotiate over the debt ceiling because the stakes are too high.
Another risk for Mr. Obama is that people may not sympathize with his refusal to negotiate over the debt ceiling. The Treasury Department has said that no later than Oct. 17 it will only have $30 billion in cash—a sum that will be exhausted in one or two weeks, according to the Congressional Budget Office. After that point, Treasury is expected to start falling behind on its bills.
Again, Mr. Obama has vowed not to negotiate, saying the consequences of default would be so severe the matter can’t be held hostage to political negotiations. “There will be no negotiations over this,” he said Thursday.