First it’s just a little tremble. Then a pebble falls. Then a twig snaps. Then you feel a little movement, and soon the ground is shifting. Then pretty soon the whole thing gives way and it’s down the mountain we go.
In a Capitol rattled by a shooting on the grounds that killed a woman and injured a police officer, tempers have flared and pressure appears to be mounting to resolve a stalemate that has shut large parts of the government, sidelined 800,000 federal workers and forced more than one million more to work without pay.
As the shooting incident was still unfolding, Representative Tim Griffin, Republican of Arkansas, took to Twitter to imply a connection with the shots fired outside the Capitol and the heated words inside. “Stop the violent rhetoric President Obama, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi. #Disgusting,” he wrote, only to delete the message later.
There were signs on Thursday, however, that some lawmakers were willing to work together to end the dispute. About 20 Republicans and Democrats signed on to a proposal that would reopen the government, finance it for six months and repeal the health care law’s tax on medical devices, a provision that has bipartisan opposition.
Representatives Charlie Dent, Republican of Pennsylvania, and Ron Kind, Democrat of Wisconsin, framed it as a compromise that both sides should be willing to accept to reopen the government.
“It’s important that we accept incremental progress when we can,” Mr. Dent said. “What we’re talking about here is leadership.”
Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, approached Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, to try to open talks, also centered on the medical device tax as a face-saving victory for Republicans looking for a graceful way to back down.
I think I just heard a twig snap.
Note to Chuck Schumer: Do not let them have a graceful way out. Make it public, make it uncomfortable, make them pay for it.