Speaker of the House John Boehner

The potential deal reached in the Senate to end the shutdown is basically a surrender. It does effectively nothing to Obamacare and that was supposedly the entire point of this Republican shutdown. Speaker John Boehner, in an attempt to save face, tried to grab a few Obamacare-related table scraps in his counter offer but it was almost immediately shot down by President Obama.

A White House spokesperson called it a “ransom” and reaffirmed that the administration will not pay it. Boehner’s counter offer seems to have died before it was even really made.

This is a remarkable response because the few asks Boehner was making were relatively small and unimportant. They are changes Boehner probably could have gotten as part of a normal negotiation on any number of issues. Basically they are table scraps, but the Obama team wants the House Republicans to get nothing.

This fight is no longer about the policies in the final bill, it is about principle. Obama said he will not reward a Republican temper tantrum that threatens the country, and so far he is holding firm. Obama doesn’t want to beat the GOP in this shutdown, he wants to break them.

Photo by Gage Skidmore under Creative Commons license