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  • Here’s what I know. On the way in this morning, I was feeling more and more convinced that we might be on our way to another government shutdown. I knew that Speaker of the House John Boehner was going to be critical to determining whether or not the government kept operating past Wednesday of next week. His weakened leadership position as Speaker might have forced him to go along with the radical elements advocating for defunding Planned Parenthood, and not passing a Continuing Resolution, just as they did two years ago, when the issue was their aborted attempt to derail the Affordable Care Act.

    Coming into the South Building, I ran into my old friend, Jeremy, and we rode up on the elevator together. Of course, the pending shutdown came up as we rode. As he was getting off on his floor, I asked, “So what do you think the odds are that it’ll happen?”

    “70-30 that it will”, he shot back, as the elevator doors closed. Jeremy’s a pretty bright fellow. I was thinking more along the lines of 50-50, but his odds made me even more certain that it might go down – again.
  • The boss was peering over the shutdown plans, as he had to get back to his bosses to let them know who would be staying, and who would be going, in a potential shutdown. During the course of the day, my potential status in a shutdown went back and forth – first, I was going to stay, then I was going to go. I’m good, either way. Just let me know where you want me.

    Meanwhile, yesterday, up at the Capitol, I’d heard that John Boehner had met privately with Pope Francis, prior to the Holy See’s address to the Joint Houses of Congress. It was Boehner who had invited him to speak there, and for him, it was the culmination of a dream, something that he had always wanted, to have a pope speak to the United States Congress. It is said that Boehner was visibly crying during the pope’s address.

    A little later in the morning today, Kathy called to let me know she just heard that Boehner is retiring as Speaker of the House, and from the House altogether, effective the end of October. At first, I thought this was a sure harbinger that a shutdown is imminent, but then I learned that it will almost ensure that a deal gets made, and the government remains open. Alright!
  • So, the question I had to ponder was – what exactly did Pope Francis say to John Boehner in their private meeting? Did it have anything to do with Boehner’s eventual decision to retire from his position? We may never know.

    But, this is what I think. I think the pope stopped the government shutdown. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

    However, I don’t want to count my chickens before they come to a fork in the road and take it, to get to the other side, and hatch. After all, it ain’t over until the fat lady says it’s over, right?
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