WASHINGTON — Jim VandeHei, executive editor of Politico, and a panel of his reporters expressed pessimism Wednesday about a speedy end to the governmental paralysis gripping Washington and a possible U.S. default on its debt.
The panel took the place of Rep Michael McCaul (R-Texas) and chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security, who was supposed to address the luncheon at the Visa Global Security Summit.
The panel was uniformly pessimistic about an early or easy end to the current standoff, with neither side having much room to negotiate or compromise. VandeHei was particularly pessimistic, calling the chance of the U.S. government defaulting on its debt payments at about 30%.
As reasons for the shutdown, the panelists pointed to the lack of pressure on any of the most conservative House members. President Obama, likewise, is unwilling to be the first president to back down to Congressional threats, the Politico editor said.
“People keep saying, 'Oh, they have to compromise, they can't let it go that far,' VandeHei said. “But I keep wondering who these people have been talking to. I think there are Republicans who will be quite willing to see the U.S. default on its debt payments if they think that will let them make their point about the president's health care law.”