Mitchell Reports | February 23, 2011
>>> democrats and republicans have only nine days left to avoid a government shutdown . even if they do that's only the first step. the national journal ron brown steen and politico professional bureau chief join us now. ron , where do we start? you and i were at a round table this morning with tim geithner , the treasury secretary at the bloomberg news morning breakfast. he said they are first dealing with the cr but not with entitlements and doesn't seem to sense an urgency to deal with entitlements. they're looking at a three to five year spending cut plus he says revenue enhancements have to be part of it.
>> a couple of points. there's kind of a steeplechase of hurdles one after another. first funding the federal government through the rest of the fiscal year. then they have the debt ceiling which is probably another occasion for another round of budget disputes. and then the republicans have to come out with their long-term budget. i think if history is any guide -- i mean, both sides are looking to 2012 to strengthen their hand against the other in the long term budget fight. if you look at '95 and '96 with bill clinton and the republican congress they collided for two years. after the election they were able to make a deal. in '97. i got a feeling in talking to geithner this morning he has that kind of time frame . if obama is reelected and republican reelected maybe 2013 they can do a deal. meantime they have to find a way to keep the government running.
>> that's where we bring in martin katy. at this point do republicans feel contrary to what happened with newt gingrich this time they have the political leverage on their side and this game of chicken really favors them to go up to the brink and beyond?
>> yeah. there's an argument to be made and republicans make it it is different this time. it's not 1995 . the mood among american voters is much more anti-spending and concern about the deficit. we have people covering town halls during this brief recess and they are still hearing that sort of tea party driven passion. yeah, shut down the government. don't compromise. we're hearing that sort of thing from town halls now. congress comes back monday. they have four days to figure out a compromise that's somewhere between the house cut of $60 billion and the senate cut of essentially zero. and they're going to either find another continuing resolution, stop gap measure or midnight next friday the government runs out of money and we head into a shutdown.
>> ron , finally. what we heard from tim geithner was that they might move towards some framework of the deficit reduction commission for down the road but they don't see any short-term need to deal with a long-term big issues, entightment issues or pressure from the markets either.
>> i think they feel leery there is an opportunity to make a fundamental long term agreement between the sides. federal revenue the last few years is running 15% of the economy, the lowest since 1950 . entitlements are half the spending. you have a lot of big issues the two sides have a hard time coming to and may not be until the voters give a sense of the landscape in 2012 .
>> ron brownstein.