Senator Chuck Schumer can’t see into the future, but he’s already predicting how the partial government shutdown and debt ceiling crises currently engulfing Washington will end.
Mr. Schumer’s bet? That GOP House Speaker John Boehner will fold his hand–snubbing Tea Party hardliners who have demanded health care policy concessions in exchange for funding the federal government.
“The problem here is Speaker Boehner, so far, has been unwilling to break with the Tea Party, but let me make a prediction,” Mr. Schumer said on CNN’s New Day this morning. “When we get close to [the] debt ceiling, he will have to break with the Tea Party.”
Host Chris Cuomo pressed Mr. Schumer, noting that the October 17 deadline to raise the debt ceiling and avoid having the United States default on its debt is quickly approaching.
“No, closer,” Mr. Schumer responded. “The debt ceiling is such a calamitous possibility that you could go on to a recession or even a depression worse than Lehman Brothers and AIG in 2008.”
“The economy could collapse,” Mr. Schumer argued later. “Will it? No one’s certain, but there’s a high enough chance that no one–no one–should risk it and no one should say, ‘I want my political agenda attached to it, otherwise, I will let it happen.’”
But Mr. Schumer, who charged Tea Party lawmakers “hate” the government, argued that it would be impossible for the Democratic-controlled Senate to agree to curtail the president’s signature health care reform bill to avoid potential economic collapse.
“Obviously, we want to sit down and talk to them,” Mr. Schumer said. “But … you cannot negotiate with a hostage situation like that. You cannot negotiate with a gun to your head.”