Shutdown Looks Likely as Congress Hits Final Hours

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, walks to the House Floor at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013.  Lawmakers from both parties urged one another in a rare weekend session to give ground in their fight over preventing a federal shutdown, with the midnight Monday deadline fast approaching. But there was no sign of yielding Saturday in a down-to-the-wire struggle that tea party lawmakers are using to try derailing President Barack Obama's health care law.
National Journal
Michael Catalini and Billy House
Michael Catalini Billy House
Sept. 29, 2013, 11:52 a.m.

With just hours to go un­til a gov­ern­ment shut­down, Sen­ate Demo­crats are prom­ising to tor­pedo the House’s latest le­gis­lat­ive vol­ley, Re­pub­lic­ans are for­mu­lat­ing last-minute plans to score a vic­tory against Obama­care, and both sides are dig­ging polit­ic­al en­trench­ments that make shut­ter­ing the gov­ern­ment in­creas­ingly likely.

With the Sen­ate set to act next, and the House ready­ing a re­sponse, the two cham­bers are en­gaged in a game of polit­ic­al hot potato, with both try­ing not to be con­sid­er­ing the last ver­sion of a con­tinu­ing res­ol­u­tion when the dead­line hits.

But with a par­tial shut­down — the first since 1996 — slated for mid­night, many are pess­im­ist­ic. Asked on CBS’s Face the Na­tion if he thinks a shut­down will oc­cur, the Sen­ate’s No. 2 Demo­crat, Dick Durbin of Illinois, said, “I’m afraid I do.”

“The House po­s­i­tion, which is ba­sic­ally the same one they sent us the last time, is go­ing to be re­jec­ted again,” Durbin said. “And we are go­ing to face the pro­spect of the gov­ern­ment shut­ting down.”

What hap­pens next, ac­cord­ing to Sen­ate Demo­crat­ic aides, is that the Sen­ate will take up the con­tinu­ing res­ol­u­tion passed by the House early Sunday morn­ing, but will strip out what Demo­crat­ic lead­ers view as tox­ic pro­vi­sions that would af­fect the Af­ford­able Care Act.

The House’s bill delays the im­ple­ment­a­tion of Obama­care for a year and re­peals a med­ic­al-device tax that funds por­tions of the ACA. A sep­ar­ate res­ol­u­tion passed by the House calls for pay­ing the mil­it­ary in the event of a shut­down.

House Re­pub­lic­ans are hop­ing that Demo­crat­ic sen­at­ors from con­ser­vat­ive states will join with those who op­pose the med­ic­al-device tax to pres­sure Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Harry Re­id, D-Nev., for a vote on those pro­vi­sions.

But Re­id’s next move is any­thing but a mys­tery. Say­ing that the House’s ac­tion Sunday was “point­less,” Re­id in­tends to strip the con­tro­ver­sial pro­vi­sions (wheth­er the Sen­ate will vote on the mil­it­ary fund­ing is still un­clear) with a mo­tion to table, which re­quires a simple ma­jor­ity, ac­cord­ing to a Sen­ate Demo­crat­ic lead­er­ship aide. Re­id will then send the same bill that passed the cham­ber on Fri­day back to the House, the aide said.

After the Sen­ate acts, the House is likely to have only hours to ad­dress the Sen­ate ver­sion of the “clean” fund­ing bill, a fact that Speak­er John Boehner, R-Ohio, railed against in a state­ment Sunday. “If the Sen­ate stalls un­til Monday af­ter­noon “¦ it would be an act of breath­tak­ing ar­rog­ance by the Sen­ate Demo­crat­ic lead­er­ship,” he said. “They will be de­lib­er­ately bring­ing the na­tion to the brink of a gov­ern­ment shut­down.”

But House Re­pub­lic­an lead­ers said Sunday that they were also mulling op­tions on how to pro­ceed in a way that might be ac­cept­able to enough con­ser­vat­ive mem­bers of their con­fer­ence as they race against the mid­night dead­line.

“We have oth­er op­tions for the Sen­ate to look at,” said House Ma­jor­ity Whip Kev­in Mc­Carthy, R-Cal­if. He would not out­line those, or say wheth­er a “clean” fund­ing bill was an op­tion.

One op­tion be­ing con­sidered, House GOP mem­bers say, is to re­vise the CR to in­clude lan­guage by Sen. Dav­id Vit­ter, R-La., that would pre­vent mem­bers of Con­gress and their staffers from re­ceiv­ing ex­emp­tions from key Obama­care meas­ures.

But Re­id has shot down any pro­vi­sions that would af­fect Obama­care.

In­deed, the Sen­ate Demo­crats’ po­s­i­tion has opened them up to blis­ter­ing at­tacks from Re­pub­lic­ans, in­clud­ing Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who paint Re­id and Pres­id­ent Obama as un­bend­ing. With House Re­pub­lic­ans ar­guing they’ve ac­ted to pre­vent a shut­down, they say it’s up to Re­id to ca­pit­u­late.

“Let’s be clear what the Sen­ate has done,” Cruz said on NBC’s Meet the Press. “So far Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Harry Re­id has es­sen­tially told the House of Rep­res­ent­at­ives and the Amer­ic­an people, go jump in a lake. He said, ‘I’m not will­ing to com­prom­ise. I’m not will­ing to even talk.’ “

Cruz, who has helped set in mo­tion the latest con­gres­sion­al ac­tion against Obama­care, did not lay out his plans on Sunday.

Sen­ate Demo­crats are bet­ting that the pub­lic will blame the GOP for a shut­down, and a con­tin­gent of Sen­ate Re­pub­lic­ans agree. The think­ing is that Cruz has set the GOP on a crash course be­cause Obama has threatened to veto any le­gis­la­tion that re­peals or delays the Af­ford­able Care Act.

Asked about the cri­ti­cism from oth­er Re­pub­lic­ans, Cruz was un­fazed. “I’m just try­ing to fight for 26 mil­lion Tex­ans and the Amer­ic­an people,” he said.

The fed­er­al gov­ern­ment has shut down 17 times since 1976, ac­cord­ing to an NBC tally. The last time was for 21 days in late 1995 and early 1996, when House Speak­er Newt Gin­grich and Pres­id­ent Clin­ton clashed over spend­ing. That shut­down left a deep polit­ic­al scar, with Clin­ton’s ap­prov­al rat­ing skyrock­et­ing after the shut­down and Re­pub­lic­ans shoul­der­ing much of the blame.

In a per­sist­ent GOP line on sev­er­al Sunday talk shows, House Re­pub­lic­ans said the show­down has res­ul­ted from a pres­id­ent who has re­fused to ne­go­ti­ate over Obama­care.

“People are pan­icked in this coun­try over high­er premi­ums, lack of ac­cess. This law is hav­ing a neg­at­ive ef­fect,” House Re­pub­lic­an Con­fer­ence Chair­wo­man Cathy Mc­Mor­ris Rodgers, R-Wash., said on CNN’s State of the Uni­on.

She said the stan­doff will end “with us com­ing to the table and ne­go­ti­at­ing. But “¦ Re­pub­lic­ans do not want to shut down the gov­ern­ment.”

However, House Budget Com­mit­tee rank­ing mem­ber Chris Van Hol­len, D-Md., said on Face the Na­tion that the Re­pub­lic­an ef­fort to delay the law “is a way to pre­vent mil­lions of Amer­ic­ans from sign­ing up for more af­ford­able health care.”

As he put it, “What you see in the House is that Speak­er Boehner has es­sen­tially handed the gavel over to Sen­at­or Cruz.”

{{ BIZOBJ (video: 4474) }}

What We're Following See More »
STAFF PICKS
When It Comes to Mining Asteroids, Technology Is Only the First Problem
23 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.

Source:
STAFF PICKS
Obama Reflects on His Economic Record
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”

Source:
STAFF PICKS
Reagan Families, Allies Lash Out at Will Ferrell
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."

Source:
PEAK CONFIDENCE
Clinton No Longer Running Primary Ads
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-ex­pec­ted primary battle be­hind her, former Sec­ret­ary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton (D) is no longer go­ing on the air in up­com­ing primary states. “Team Clin­ton hasn’t spent a single cent in … Cali­for­nia, In­di­ana, Ken­tucky, Ore­gon and West Vir­gin­ia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “cam­paign has spent a little more than $1 mil­lion in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone back­er in the Sen­ate, said the can­did­ate should end his pres­id­en­tial cam­paign if he’s los­ing to Hil­lary Clin­ton after the primary sea­son con­cludes in June, break­ing sharply with the can­did­ate who is vow­ing to take his in­sur­gent bid to the party con­ven­tion in Phil­adelphia.”

Source:
CITIZENS UNITED PT. 2?
Movie Based on ‘Clinton Cash’ to Debut at Cannes
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."

Source:
×