Stan Collender, who knows his way around Capitol Hill, sees a real similarity in the imminent deadline that congressional leaders face for a budget agreement and a certain retired yet still popular comedy.
“The budget conference committee that’s been meeting sporadically since last month was given until December 13, that is, until a week from this Friday, to agree on some kind of deal,” Collender writes at his blog.
“So what happens if there is no agreement by December 13? ” he asks. “Absolutely nothing.”
“Like ‘Seinfeld,’ which was a TV show about nothing, December 13 is the budget deadline that’s about nothing. ”
“… There will be no immediate practical impact if the budget conference committee fails. The government won’t instantly shut down, the federal debt ceiling won’t be breached the next day, and sequestration won’t be immediately triggered.
“The real deadlines are January 15 — when the current funding for the government expires and another shutdown is possible — and January 18 — when the next sequester is likely to happen… It’s certainly possible, of course, that the conference committee might not just fail, but it might fail so acrimoniously that additional negotiations before January 15-18 become even harder.
“But it’s far more likely that a failure by the 29-person budget conference committee to agree on anything by December 13 will simply means that the large-group negotiations that were always going to be difficult (29 people meeting on Capitol Hill these days won’t be able to agree on what to order for lunch) will be replaced by a much smaller (as in 2) group that will continue the discussions.”
See our own report on the “Do-Nothing Congress.”