As you hear about developments this week towards an agreement on FY2011 spending or a government shutdown, keep asking yourself these questions:
- Can John Boehner convince his tea party members to vote for a deal with the White House?
- If Boehner can’t convince his tea party folks to support the deal, can he get them to understand/forgive his working with Democrats to get the CR passed and avoid a government shutdown?
- Is there any way for Boehner to broker a deal with the White House that will pass the House that doesn’t require him having to support it himself?
- Will the White House and House Democrats allow Boehner to not support the deal or will they insist that he publicly declare his love and affection for it?
- What price will House Democrats demand to vote with Boehner on the CR and provide the votes to pass it?
And then ask yourself the following questions about what happens next:
- If Boehner compromises with the White House and the tea party doesn’t like it, will a deal on the debt ceiling become more difficult because Boehner has to use it to show that he’s really a tea party supporter?
- If there’s a government shutdown and the GOP is blamed, will that make it easier to negotiate a deal on the debt ceiling?
- If there’s a government shutdown and the Democrats are blamed, will that make the tea party folks in the House more likely to try a similar tactic on the debt ceiling?