Winners and losers of the debt-limit fight


The 2013 fiscal showdown was ugly, especially for Republicans. [WATCH VIDEO]

Both parties have scoffed that there are winners and losers in the debate.

Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerConservative allies on opposite sides in GOP primary fight Clinton maps out first 100 days The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-Ohio) recently said, “This isn’t a damn game!”

White House press secretary Jay Carney on Wednesday said “there are no winners” in the battle.

But in every political showdown, politicians rise and fall. This was no exception.

Winners

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidSuper-PAC targets Portman on trade Dem leader urges compromise on FCC set-top box plan Senate Dems introduce Iran sanctions extension MORE (D-Nev.). In 2011, Reid played a backseat role in the negotiations on lifting the debt ceiling. This time around, it was much different. Reid, a former boxer, stood in the middle of the ring as the House GOP bobbed and weaved. The wily Democrat, however, knew Republicans had no way out and would be forced to throw in the towel. Other than a gaffe in the middle of the battle, Reid played it perfectly.

President Obama. He was adamant about not negotiating with the GOP on the debt ceiling, and he deferred to congressional leaders on the day-to-day details. The strategy attracted criticism, but it worked.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Pelosi knows how to lean on her caucus, and her vow that all Democrats would reject this week’s hastily arranged House GOP bill was the beginning of its demise.

Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.). The New Jersey governor’s stock for 2016 is rising, and he emphasized his Washington outsider credentials by recently saying, “If I were in the Senate, I’d kill myself.”

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.). The Budget Committee ranking member pressed the GOP for a “clean” fiscal bill. His protest on the House floor was a huge hit on YouTube, attracting more than 2 million views.

Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Michael BennetMichael BennetBacteria found ahead of Olympics underscores need for congressional action for new antibiotics Top GOP senator: Trump will have little effect on Senate races Black GOP Senate candidate rips Obama MORE (D-Colo.). The jobs of the Democratic campaign chiefs got a lot easier because of the shutdown. The GOP’s poll numbers plummeted, increasing the chances the Senate remains in Democratic hands. Republicans are still favored to retain the House, but it’s not the slam dunk that it used to be.

Congressional staffers. The amendment crafted by Sen. David VitterDavid VitterDavid Duke will bank on racial tensions in Louisiana Senate bid Former KKK leader David Duke running for Senate Six senators call on housing regulator to let Congress finish housing finance reform MORE (R-La.) didn’t make it into the final bill. That measure would have eliminated the employer healthcare subsidies for congressional officials, something critics said would have led to “a brain drain” on Capitol Hill. Furthermore, staffers won’t have to worry about working Christmas Eve. The bill kicks the next fiscal showdown into early 2014.

Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray. Gray, who is mulling running for another term, took on both parties on the government shutdown, which significantly affected the D.C. government. The photo of the in-your-face showdown with Reid, which ran on Page 1 of The Washington Post, boosted Gray’s stock.

Terry McAuliffe. Before the shutdown, McAuliffe had expanded his lead over Virginia GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli. The shutdown didn’t help Cuccinelli in a state filled with government workers and contractors.

Women lawmakers. Female legislators took a leading role in trying to craft a bipartisan deal. Sen. Susan CollinsSusan CollinsThe Trail 2016: Words matter Lobbyists bolting Trump convention early GOP sen at convention: I'm not ruling out voting for Clinton MORE (R-Maine) crafted a solution that didn’t catch fire, but she worked closely with a number of female senators on both sides of the aisle. Those members, who include Sens. Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteKasich doesn't regret skipping convention Top GOP senator: Trump will have little effect on Senate races Hindu-American emerges as Trump mega-donor MORE (R-N.H.), Lisa MurkowskiLisa MurkowskiBig Oil makes a push for risky and reckless Arctic drilling GOP divided over 0M for climate fund Overnight Energy: House passes first Interior, EPA spending bill in seven years MORE (R-Alaska) and Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharSenate Dems push Obama for more Iran transparency Senators launch broadband caucus Spotify vs. Apple comes to Washington MORE (D-Minn.), could form a new power base in the upper chamber.

Losers

BoehnerJohn BoehnerConservative allies on opposite sides in GOP primary fight Clinton maps out first 100 days The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE and his lieutenants. Boehner didn’t fight the ObamaCare defunding strategy until it was too late. Then, he embraced it. Boehner and his leadership deputies came up with creative legislation to jab the Senate, but they had no exit strategy. The result was another failure to unite House Republicans against Obama and Reid. Once again, the House caved to the Senate.

Trust in government. Congressional approval ratings increased after lawmakers rejected military intervention in Syria. Weeks later, they dropped like a stone amid shutdown politics. Washington is as unpopular as ever.

The economy. The shutdown cost the fragile economy at least $24 billion, according to a new estimate by Standard & Poor’s. It was a self-inflicted wound.

Vice President Biden. The possible 2016 presidential candidate played almost no role in the deal-making, a striking contrast to prior fiscal battles. Biden is respected on both sides of the aisle, but some Democrats on Capitol Hill have not been fond of the vice president’s negotiations with the GOP. Last weekend, Biden was vacationing at Camp David. Sen. John McCainJohn McCainFox News bests major networks in convention ratings Meghan McCain: ‘I no longer recognize my party’ Why a bill about catfish will show whether Ryan's serious about regulatory reform MORE (R-Ariz.) cracked that Biden was in the witness protection program.

Immigration reform. Immigration was pushed to the side this fall, and the chances of a bill getting to Obama’s desk this Congress are slim.

GOP campaign committees. Donations to Republican committees seeking to retain the House and win the Senate are likely to take a hit. This was a demoralizing GOP defeat, and the hangover could last a while.

Mixed

Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzIt's midnight in America Walker jabs at Kasich for snubbing GOP convention Trump: Cruz is 'lucky' that I walked in on his speech MORE (R-Texas). The GOP base loves Cruz, evidenced by his triumph in the presidential straw poll at the Values Voters Summit this month. But many establishment Republicans don’t like Cruz — at all. Winning a GOP presidential nomination usually requires the help of kingmakers in Washington, D.C., something Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulWhat to watch for on Day 2 at the GOP convention Cyber squatters sitting on valuable VP web addresses Majority of GOP senators to attend Trump convention MORE (R-Ky.) has acknowledged through some of his actions. Cruz is taking a different path and will continue to take arrows in the back.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellProgressive group changes tone on Kaine Trump hits Kaine on TPP: He supports a 'job killer' Clinton maps out first 100 days MORE (R-Ky.). McConnell has been hit by the left and the right for the deal, which he ironed out with Reid. Earlier this fall, McConnell was attacked by Sen. Tom CoburnTom CoburnThe Trail 2016: Words matter Ex-Sen. Coburn: I won’t challenge Trump, I’ll vote for him Coburn: I haven't seen 'self-discipline' from Trump MORE (R-Okla.) for not being engaged. McConnell is being challenged in a primary but is favored to win. In the short term, the agreement hurts McConnell. But in the general election, it might help him. Win or lose, McConnell’s eleventh hour involvement cements his reputation as a legislator.

— Ian Swanson contributed.