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As Debt Deadline Nears, ‘Compromise’ Still A Dirty Word

House Speaker John Boehner, right, and Republican Conference Chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling, center, listen as House Majority Leader Eric Cantor gives a news conference in Washington, Tuesday. (AP)

House Speaker John Boehner, right, and Republican Conference Chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling, center, listen as House Majority Leader Eric Cantor gives a news conference in Washington, Tuesday. (AP)

As the countdown to government insolvency continues, there is no sign of a deal to raise the nation’s debt ceiling.

The high-stakes debate took another twist Monday, with dueling addresses to the nation by President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner.

“The American people may have voted for divided government, but they didn’t vote for a dysfunctional government,” President Obama said from the East Room of the White House.

Following the president’s remarks, Speaker Boehner shot back, urging Obama to sign on to a GOP plan that would temporarily lift the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt limit by cutting spending by at least $1.2 trillion. Under the proposal, the debt limit would immediately rise by $1 trillion. A second lift to the debt ceiling would occur next year, and be tied to the ability of a bipartisan Congressional commission to identify more spending cuts.

With the Aug. 2 debt deadline fast approaching, each party in the talks seems to be digging in their heels, hoping the other side will blink first. It might make for good politics, but it may not be the smartest negotiating tactic, according to Robert Bordone, a professor of law at Harvard University and director of the school’s clinical program in negotiation and mediation.

If lawmakers would like to break the impasse, Bordone said, they may want to consider expanding the number of people at the negotiating table. What’s key, he added, is including members of Congress who can help deliver votes.

“Bringing a complete spoiler to the table is problematic,” Bordone said, “but shutting out people who can ruin your deal completely is also problematic.”

Guest:

  • Robert Bordone, director, Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program

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  • comma

    Please stop making the suggestion that each side is equally at fault for the current debt crisis problems.  Misinforming the public as you are presently doing, is deeply disingenuous.  The presdient has offered a number of plans that are much farther to the right – certainly in terms of revenue raised versus services cut.   This issue is brought on because republicans can’t take yes for an answer, and are unwilling to even accept token levels of compromise.  Your insistance on blaming the parties equally in this situation is a complete derliction of duty on your part as journalists.

    • Anthony

      I understand your frustration and appreciate your comment. 
      In our interview today we were really TRYING to avoid the politics and talk to a professional negotiator about how this impasse might be resolved.  That said, I did mention that this “negotiation” is complicated by the fact that many Republican Tea Partiers in Congress are apparrently uninterested in a compromise. 
      Thanks writing.

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