WASHINGTON – For President Barack Obama, the outcome of the fiscal fights with Republicans this week could have broad consequences for his stalled second-term agenda.
A favorable deal for the White House that ends the partial government shutdown and lifts the debt ceiling could give Obama an opening to try to marginalize tea party lawmakers who have long blocked many of his priorities. But if no agreement is reached by Thursday’s debt limit deadline, Obama will become the first modern president to preside over a government default, a dubious distinction with potentially calamitous economic consequences that could consume the White House for the foreseeable future.
Another, perhaps more likely, option is that Obama ends up signing short term bills that keep Washington in the never-ending cycle of deadline-driven budget battles.
By JULIE PACE