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October 3, 2013

Obama Convenes Meeting with Congressional Leader to Discuss Shutdown


On the second day of the government shutdown, President Obama convened a meeting with the leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives to discuss the stalemate preventing Congress from passing a budget that would reopen federal agencies.

While Republicans going into the meeting said they expect the president is now ready to negotiate, President Obama said that first Congress must pass a bill to fund the government with no strings attached.

“Until we get that done, until we make sure that Congress allows Treasury to pay for things that Congress itself already authorized, we are not going to engage in a series of negotiations,” he said.

House Republicans also worked on five separated spending bills designed to reopen parts of the government, including national parks and monuments, despite warnings Senate Democrats would reject them.

“We ought to be working as hard as we can to open up the government in all the areas that we agree on,” said Rep. Eric Cantor (R – VA). “No one disagrees that these memorials should be open. No one — no one disagrees that we should be helping our veterans and the kinds of services that they need.”

Democratic Representative Barbara Lee of California spoke against this “cynical” strategy, saying that these “piecemeal bills…will not end impacts of a shutdown that extend across the country.”

Meanwhile, those who use social programs like Head Start for low-income children and WIC, a nutritional program for women with infant children saw their services cut off. James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, also warned that along with sequestration cuts the shutdown “seriously damages our ability to protect the safety and security of this nation and its citizens.”

Warm up questions
  1. What is a government shutdown? For an excellent kid-targeted video resource on the government shutdown from Time Magazine click here.
  2. Who is affected most when the government shuts down?
  3. Why does the government shut down?
Discussion questions
  1. Who is to blame for the shutdown? Is it more than one person? Did several groups of people contribute to the shutdown?
  2. Why is the government shutting down now? What needs to happen for it to “re-open”?
  3. How are leaders working to “re-open” the government?
  4. How is the government shutdown effecting citizens? Be specific
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