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Deficit talks collapse: What are you hearing?

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House Speaker John Boehner and President Obama at the White House July 23. (Jewel Samad/Getty Images)

About two weeks ago I described deficit talks as going from bad to worse. Well, on Friday things went from worse to abysmal. President Obama says House Speaker John Boehner stopped returning his calls when they were supposedly wrapping up the final details on a deal, and then pulled out of negotiations. Boehner says Obama backtracked on a handshake deal on new revenue and demanded another $400 billion in taxes.

This photo, taken Saturday when top lawmakers were summoned to the White House for emergency talks, tells the whole story. The fatigue and frustration can be plainly seen on Obama and Boehner’s faces, and it seems the two men can’t even look at one another anymore.

There’s barely eight days left to agree on some way to raise the debt ceiling before … well, who knows what will really happen Aug. 3? Unions and employee groups haven’t been told anything. During a partnership council meeting in March, before the averted shutdown, they peppered administration officials with questions that went unanswered. But at last week’s partnership meeting, unions didn’t even bother asking Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry how a default would hurt feds. “Didn’t get us very far” last time, American Federation of Government Employees National President John Gage said.

Federal Times would like to hear from you on this subject. Are you hearing anything at all from your higher-ups on what a default would mean? Is there talk of furloughs, or other unfortunate consequences? What other questions do you have? E-mail me at slosey@federaltimes.com. If you don’t want to be quoted, that’s not a problem.

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  1. Jason Usborne Says:
    July 25th, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    It is an election year. The radicals in the GOP are absolutely adamant about no new revenues. The Dems are almost equally adamant about new revenues be part of a compromise. Also, the GOP does not want this issue solved before next elections. I believe the radicals WANT government to fail. The fools, they don’t know the damage they will do! Ah, well, the chaos that may erupt from more unemployment, foreclosures, business failings, seized credit markets, and lower revenues all around may be ripe grounds for the theocrats to try to stage a populist uprising a la Republic of Gilead. There has been “chatter” across the net about such things. Be ready, America!

  2. Jim Says:
    July 25th, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    I’m a life long Republican. But after seeing the Rep leadership in action, I’ve become an Independent. The best way out of this situation is to throw term limits on these idiots and get them out of office. The partisan politics is impacting the average American now and cannot be tolerated further. The only way we are going to be able to boot these incompetents out is by changing the law. They will not leave while enough uninformed voters keep selecting a straight ticket. A third, independent, party could sneak in while the big 2 are busy attacking each other. Perhaps then we could get the leadership we desperatly need and deserve.