Boehner, Reid: The Guys Who Won't Budge

Boehner could end the shutdown tomorrow; Reid leaks emails in cutthroat move

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 3, 2013 7:55 AM CDT | Updated Oct 3, 2013 7:59 AM CDT

(Newser) – The government shutdown is dragging on thanks in no small part to two men: John Boehner and Harry Reid. Boehner, the Washington Post points out, could almost certainly pass a clean CR and end the shutdown if he wanted to—but he'd have to rely on a coalition of mostly Democrats and a handful of GOP moderates (19 are on record as supporting it). Doing that would weaken his hand in debt ceiling negotiations, blow up his uneasy alliance with the Tea Party, and probably cost him his speaker gig.

Reid, meanwhile, is in take-no-prisoners mode; in a cutthroat move yesterday, he leaked email conversations he'd had with Boehner about preserving health care subsidies for Congress, the New York Times reports. That had the predictable effect of angering conservatives, and led Glenn Beck to brand Boehner a "lying thief," according to Politico. Reid has long believed Democrats will get their best deal by holding out in a shutdown. His staff quashed White House talks last week, the Wall Street Journal reports, and he didn't exactly support yesterday's session. "It's not my meeting," he told reporters. Afterward, he said, "We're through playing these little games. … We're locked in tight on ObamaCare." Of course, these two aren't the only ones feeling the heat: Ted Cruz is under fire as well.

Harry Reid and John Boehner sit next to each other during a ceremony on Capitol Hill in this June file photo.
Harry Reid and John Boehner sit next to each other during a ceremony on Capitol Hill in this June file photo.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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