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On Day 3 Of Shutdown, It's Deja Vu All Over Again

Pick your comparison.

On Morning Edition, NPR's Mara Liasson went with a Lewis Carroll reference, saying there was a "down the rabbit hole" sense Wednesday night when congressional leaders and President Obama came out of a meeting at the White House to essentially say they'd made no progress and that the partial shutdown of the federal government would continue.

She also noted that in the "political life cycles" of shutdowns, "this is just the beginning." Judging from past experiences, it takes about 7 days for public anger over closed offices, barricaded parks and lost federal business to build. We're only into Day 3.

For our part, since it's playoffs time we'll go with that sage of the baseball diamond, Yankee great Yogi Berra. "It's deja vu all over again," he once supposedly said about watching Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris hit homers.

With little to say other than that the shutdown continues and the two sides aren't showing any signs — at least in public — of shifting, the news certainly does have a "deja vu all over again" feel.

So are there any reasons to think there could be a breakthrough anytime soon?

In her report, Mara said there is a suggestion from some that if the White House and the president's Democratic allies would agree to one relatively small change to the new health care program, that might give Republicans a "face-saving" way to drop their opposition to funding the government.

What might that relatively small change be? Repealing a tax on medical devices, Mara says.

There's also word from the conservative-leaning National Review and some other news outlets that House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, "wants to craft a 'grand bargain' on fiscal issues as part of the debt-limit deliberations. ... He's looking at potentially blending a government-spending deal and debt-limit agreement into a larger budget package." He and President Obama came close to a "grand bargain" in 2011.

But perhaps we should turn back to Yogi for the last word on all this. As he once said, "it ain't over 'til it's over."

(Note: Yes, we know we've used the "deja vu all over again" line before when reporting about budget negotiations. But isn't repeating it part of the point when covering this story?)

Update at 10:55 a.m. ET. It's A "Reckless Republican Shutdown," Obama Says:

Reprising what he's been saying for several days now, President Obama just told a crowd in Rockville, Md., that a "reckless Republican shutdown" threatens to send the economy into a tailspin and is hurting "hundreds of thousands of Americans [who] suddenly aren't receiving their paychecks."

Republican leaders, of course, have been saying it's the president and his Democratic colleagues who are at fault.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.
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