Tonight on NewsHour: What Deals Does Congress Have Left to Make?

BY newsdesk  September 26, 2013 at 5:20 PM EDT


Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

“It’s a Rubik’s cube of hell. It’s changing every 15 minutes.”

Ron Bonjean of Singer Bonjean Strategies, on budget talks in Congress

“We’ve got to drain the poison from the swamp.”

Jim Manley of QGA Public Affairs, on how to end political brinksmanship

Those are the bleak assessments from two former top Congressional aides as they watch this week’s iterations of budget proposals trickle out from Capitol Hill. Manley is a former spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and was press secretary for Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy. And Bonjean had been a top spokesman for former Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert and for Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott. Both veteran strategists spoke with NewsHour reporter-producer Katelyn Polantz Thursday.

Bonjean described the many possibilities that Republican leadership could float before a Monday night deadline. Manley says the poison he mentioned is tea party conservatives in congress. Draining them, of course, would have to wait until the 2014 mid-term elections.

We’re at the edge of the fiscal cliff again, Manley and Bonjean say, because Republicans and Democrats both hope timing their votes closer to a deadline will buy them leverage. The U.S. Senate, led by Democrats, plans to pass a resolution that will keep the government funded through Nov. 15. House Republicans, unhappy with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, may want to add measures in addition to the budget resolution that would please tea party conservatives but not defund the Act.

The pair will appear on the NewsHour Thursday night in an interview with Gwen Ifill. Watch live around 6:10 p.m..

For more details on the budget standoff, read today’s Morning Line.