The chances of averting a partial shutdown of the federal government seemed to vanish Sunday as leading members of Congress blamed their opponents for being unwilling to come to an agreement on a spending bill keep government operations running.
The House voted late Saturday night to delay President Barack Obama’shealth care overhaul for a year – a move which made it almost inevitable that a partial shutdown — which would idle tens of thousands of federal workers — will start Monday at midnight.
As head of the executive branch, and as the man who dominates media coverage, President Barack Obama has a strong and unique advantage over his Republican foes: he’s got the power to control both the practical details and the theatrics of the ongoing sequestration debate.
He can design the spectacle in a way that could inflict political embarrassment and damage on Republicans, with the goal being to pressure them to agree to another round of tax increases.
Those hikes would be part of a deal to avert the spending cuts mandated by the Budget Control Act, which Congress passed and Obama signed into law in 2011 as part an agreement to raise the government’s borrowing limit.