Beltway Buzz

'Lord, Deliver Us from Governing by Crisis'

We here at Beltway Buzz don't take credit for the title of this post.

Those words actually came from the mouth of the Rev. Dr. Barry Black, the Senate chaplain, during a prayer on the Senate floor just four days before a looming government shutdown.

Chaos consumes Capitol Hill as Washington appears to be veering closer and closer toward what looks like the inevitable. Indeed, the unfolding scenario has pundits split. Some are predicting a last-minute compromise while others forecasting no way to avoid a shutdown.

The major stickler, of course, is the conservative drive to de-fund or delay the implementation of Obamacare, the president's health care law set to open for business at the beginning of October.

Last week, the GOP-controlled House passed a measure that would keep the government up and running, but it also stripped funding for Obamacare. And Texas Republican Ted Cruz stalled debate on the same bill in a marathon 21-hour speech on the Senate floor a few days later.

It's still unclear exactly how things ultimately will shake out between the Senate plan and the House plan. One thing, however, is clear. It likely will get messier before there's any semblance of a resolution. Already there's a public fight taking place among the GOP - and even some of their allies - as to whether they're pursuing the right course and if Republicans will take the brunt of the blame if a shutdown occurs.

The problem with all of this is the uncertainty it causes in the markets. There's already a lot of uncertainty given the shaky economy, a slew of new government regulations, etc., and the ever-expanding federal debt.

Clearly, Washington needs to get serious about tackling the national debt. Absolutely, Washington needs to rein in spending. And, regardless whether you agree with Republicans or Democrats on how to achieve that, there's something about Rev. Black's words that ring true ... even if lawmakers do avoid a shutdown.

Right now, Republican leaders in the House have suggested they plan to attach their demands to the upcoming debate over raising the nation's debt limit, which is scheduled to arrive Oct. 17. And President Obama has vowed not to negotiate "on anything when it comes to the full faith and credit" of the U.S.

That simply means the next crisis is in the not too distant future  -- and we're not even through with this one yet.