David Rogers, the unofficial dean of the congressional press corps, has been reporting on Capitol Hill since Charlie Wilson was figuring out ways to fund the mujahedeen in Afghanistan (and, in fact, he broke that story). When it comes to budget issues, nobody is more respected on Capitol Hill.
And the root of the impending government shutdown, he is reporting, goes back to the House Republican budget, authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), that promised unrealistic cuts that finally have collided with reality:
To understand the shutdown crisis in Washington, go back to the House Republican balanced budget plan last spring.
To placate the right, promises were made then that could not be kept, and with a new fiscal year beginning Tuesday, GOP leaders are running out of running room. President Barack Obama may very well be in denial about the federal debt, as Republicans suggest. But Speaker John Boehner and his deputies have a credibility deficit of their own.
Indeed the supreme irony is the health care fight now is being resurrected on a continuing resolution or CR that is at odds itself with GOP plan six months ago.
Back in March, that resolution held out the promise of repealing Obamacare but only got to balance by keeping hundreds of billions in added revenues and Medicare savings in the Affordable Care Act. It promised to protect defense spending while living with the post-sequestration caps of $967 billion set in the Budget Control Act. But to deliver on this pledge, it required such large cuts from domestic spending bills that the whole appropriations process collapsed by mid-summer.
On Saturday, Republicans decided to attached a one-year delay of Obamacare to a spending bill that would keep the government open, virtually assuring a shutdown barring a last-minute miracle.
Read Rogers' entire piece here.