Just how bad was the shutdown for America’s image on the world stage? So bad, says Secretary of State John Kerry, that foreign officials joked about buying him meals.
“I have seen how our allies, our partners and those who wish to challenge us or to do us harm are all sizing us up every day,” Kerry said at an event hosted by Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank. “What we do in Washington matters deeply…that’s why a self-inflicted wound like the shutdown can never happen again.”
Kerry added that the shutdown delayed security aid to Israel. “The dysfunction and the shutdown and the simplistic dialogue that came with it didn’t impress anyone,” he said.
The federal government was mostly shuttered for 16 days after House Republicans refused to sign off on a budget unless it stripped away funding for President Obama’s health care law. The impasse was condemned repeatedly by the Democratic leaders and progressive policymakers at the conference.
“I do love this country, damnit, and this country is in deep trouble,” declared former Vice President Al Gore. “What happened down there on Capitol Hill was pathetic.”
The shutdown sent the GOP’s approval ratings spiraling downward, leading some Democrats to think they might be able to take over the House in the 2014 mid-term election. “If they stay on course Democrats have a good chance,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a former congressman who led the Democratic Party’s House campaign committee. “If they reverse course than it’s a district by district scenario.
Gerrymandering by GOP-led state legislatures, however, have left few competitive seats. “This is a map that the Republicans designed nationwide,” Emanuel said. “If you want to win it back, you have to pick the lock nationwide.”
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President Trump’s portrayal of an effort to funnel more Medicaid dollars to Puerto Rico as a "bailout" is complicating negotiations over a continuing resolution on the budget. "House Democrats are now requiring such assistance as a condition for supporting the continuing resolution," a position that the GOP leadership is amenable to. "But Mr. Trump’s apparent skepticism aligns him with conservative House Republicans inclined to view its request as a bailout, leaving the deal a narrow path to passage in Congress."
Facebook "outlined new measures it is taking to combat what it calls 'information operations' that go well beyond the phenomenon known as fake news" on Thursday. Facebook acknowledged that there are governments using its platform as a tool to launch propaganda information campaigns and "manipulate public opinion in other countries. ... Facebook suspended 30,000 accounts in France ahead of last Sunday’s first-round presidential election."
Democrats in the House are threatening to shut down the government if Republicans expedite a vote on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, said Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer Thursday. Lawmakers have introduced a one-week spending bill to give themselves an extra week to reach a long-term funding deal, which seemed poised to pass easily. However, the White House is pressuring House Republicans to take a vote on their Obamacare replacement Friday to give Trump a legislative victory, though it is still not clear that they have the necessary votes to pass the health care bill. This could go down to the wire.
Members of Congress are eyeing a one-week spending bill which would keep the government open past the Friday night deadline, giving lawmakers an extra week to iron out a long-term deal to fund the government. Without any action, the government would run out of funding starting at midnight Saturday. “I am optimistic that a final funding package will be completed soon," said Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.