With Friday's vote, the Republican party moved one step closer towards their goal of stopping President Obama's healthcare reform law from going into effect, an effort that could very well lead to a government shutdown. Sadly, after the political battles of the last few years, the threat of a government shutdown is no longer unique. Whether they are bargaining for spending cuts, or in this case, pushing back against a law they openly oppose, the debt ceiling has become a negotiating tool.
But when Rev. Sharpton asked one of his favorite professors, Melissa Harris-Perry, to put the current debate into historical context, she argued that it's the worst intransigence we've seen since the Civil War.
"Of course we've seen this before, and the last time that we saw this, this level of dysfunction, this level of unwillingness to implement the laws of the land, it led to the Civil War," she said.
"Now, I don't think that we are on the brink of a civil war," she added. "But the kind of behavior that we are seeing here, where a set of states and individual congresspersons have such an ideological disagreement with the fundamental laws of the nation that they are willing literally to secede from those laws, to not implement them, to not be part of them. Yes, we've seen this before and it nearly destroyed us."
While the House and Senate still has a little over a week to come to an agreement to keep the lights on in Washington, President Obama showed no signs of backing down from the battle.
According to House Speaker John Boehner's office, the president reached out to the speaker late Friday to tell him he had no plans to negotiate.
"The president called the speaker this evening to tell him he wouldn't negotiate with him on the debt limit," Press Secretary Brendan Buck told NBC News. "Given the long history of using debt limit increases to achieve bipartisan deficit reduction and economic reforms, the speaker was disappointed but told the president that the two chambers of Congress will chart the path ahead. It was a brief call."