Budget Showdown Spells Deja Vu On Capitol Hill
The chaos on Capitol Hill forced House leaders to tell lawmakers they’ll likely have to scrap a vacation set for the week of Sept. 23 so they can be available to work out a short-term spending bill to keep the government running past the Oct. 1 start of the new budget year. Photo by Getty Images
There is nothing quite like the threat of having to stay in Washington an extra few days to motivate members of Congress to reach a solution to the latest fiscal ordeal.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor warned lawmakers Thursday that the Sept. 30 deadline for agreeing on new legislation to fund the government is rapidly approaching. The month already had given them just nine working days in Washington, and several of them this week were unexpectedly dominated by talk of a strike against Syria. The Virginia Republican said members should be prepared to stay at work the week of Sept. 23 instead of heading home for a scheduled recess, officially known as a “District Work Period.”
Republican leaders had hoped to approve a temporary spending measure Thursday that would avert a government shutdown and withhold funding for President Barack Obama’s health care reform law. But the Senate could then vote down the de-funding proposal and pass the spending measure, an idea that prompted a revolt from some GOP conservatives. Without the 218 supporters needed, leaders were forced to postpone a vote on the plan.
House Speaker John Boehner told reporters he was confident Republicans could work out their differences before the deadline.
“I think there’s a way to get there. I’m going to be continuing to work with my fellow leaders and our members to address those concerns,” Boehner said.
The New York Times’ Jonathan Weisman notes that a bloc of 43 House Republicans undercut Boehner by “introducing yearlong funding legislation that would increase Pentagon and veterans spending and delay President Obama’s health care law for a year — most likely adding to the budget deficit.”
Weisman also reported that House members are “preparing for the worst,” and Rep. Scott Rigell, R-Va., began circulating a 14-page fact sheet on the impact of a government shutdown.
Democrats weren’t having it. Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., accused Republicans of pursuing a strategy that was doomed to fail.
“There was a poll taken November 2012. The president of the United States won that poll. But your myopic focus on that one issue threatens to shut down government and put at risk the creditworthiness of the United States of America,” Hoyer said on the House floor Thursday.
Across the rotunda, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid compared Republicans to anarchists, and suggested a majority of GOP members in the House favor shutting down the government.
“If the Republican leaders keep giving into the Tea Party and their impossible demands, they must be rooting for a shutdown,” Reid said at an afternoon press conference.
And then they all went home for the weekend.
Just your typical week in Congress.
When they get back to business Monday, a spending bill will be front and center. Lawmakers also will wrestle with a mid-October deadline to increase the nation’s debt ceiling, and it’s possible the Syria resolution will resurface while the Obama administration works on diplomatic solutions abroad.
The PBS NewsHour on Thursday examined the impending fiscal fights, and talked with Todd Zwillich of WNYC’s “The Takeaway” about what might happen next.
Watch the segment here or below:
Mr. Obama has chosen Jeff Zients to be his chief economic adviser.
Vice President Joe Biden spoke at an event Thursday and suggested Republicans who slowed down the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization are a “sort of Neanderthal crowd.”
Phil Rucker has details in the Washington Post about federal investigators’ probe into Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, “as part of an effort to expand their case against a D.C. businessman alleged to have financed below-the-radar political operations.”
A proposed media shield law advanced in the Senate.
Talking Points Memo’s Daniel Strauss has a list of the five other states where New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s gun control group wants to get involved, following the recall of two pro-gun control state senators in Colorado this week.
Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., responded to Vladimir Putin’s New York Times op-ed with one of his own in a Russian newspaper.
Roll Call reports on the arrest of dozens of women who were holding an immigration reform rally at the Capitol Thursday.
Politico’s James Hohmann and Manu Raju report that Mr. Obama’s “second cousin once removed” might mount a Republican primary challenge against Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts next year.
The Associated Press reports that a Pennsylvania judge Thursday “ordered a suburban Philadelphia clerk to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.” Commonwealth Court Judge Dan Pellegrini said Montgomery County Register of Wills D. Bruce Hanes did not have the power to decide on his own whether Pennsylvania’s same-sex marriage ban violates the state constitution.
In an interview with National Journal, Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson said he wants to be more involved in Senate GOP primaries and shared his top presidential picks for 2016. Politicians’ stances on Syria aren’t weighing on this staunch Israel-backer, though. “I don’t think it makes a hill of beans difference,” he said.
A fire torched about 20 businesses along an iconic part of the New Jersey Boardwalk on Thursday, undoing months of rebuilding efforts following the damage caused by Superstorm Sandy last fall.
Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said Wednesday that “the U.S. government ‘blew it’ when it came to communicating the motivations behind its surveillance program and that it didn’t properly balance the requirements entailed in protecting ‘all of us, our freedom and the economy,’” the Washington Post reports.
Mayor Vincent Gray vetoed a bill that targeted Wal-Mart by proposing to raise the minimum wage in Washington, D.C. The City Council does not likely have the votes to override him.
A state lawmaker in Arizona will live on the streets of Phoenix to raise money for a homeless center that helps female veterans that may be forced to shut down.
Time’s Richard Stengel is headed to the State Department.
- The Washington City Paper chronicles 20 years of the famed Black Cat club on 14th Street.
Join a Twitter chat with Hari Sreenivasan at 1 p.m. EDT Friday using the hashtag #anchorhours.
Hari is exploring the future of television in a series of conversations.
Jeffrey Brown started a new series we’re calling “Where Poetry Lives.”
Larisa Epatko tells the stories of Egypt’s Coptic Christians.
Ray Suarez talked to author Molly Raskin about her new book telling the story of technology entreprenuer Danny Lewin, who was killed aboard one of the 9/11 flights.
- Keep an eye on the Rundown blog for breaking news throughout the day, our home page for show segments, and follow @NewsHour for the latest.
URGENT GENEVA, September 13, 2013 (AFP) – Kerry to travel to Jerusalem Sunday to meet Israeli PM: US
— Mike Allen (@mikeallen) September 13, 2013
This is New Jersey. As soon as this is over, we will pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and get back to work. http://t.co/lFuGmjZs1y
— Governor Christie (@GovChristie) September 13, 2013
"At least 15 journalists have joined the Obama administration since 2009." http://t.co/yoQcpKOk3G
— Michael Calderone (@mlcalderone) September 13, 2013
Quiz time. In the fight between SF's New Money and Old Money, whose side are you on? (It's okay to select neither.) http://t.co/VMAhdGRHd1
— Jon Steinberg (@jonsteinberg31) September 12, 2013
— Anne Bell (@AnneBell) September 12, 2013
Hill stats of week (1/2). House spent less than 65 hours here. Passed 1 bill non-controversial. Adjourned for a 127-hour "weekend" break.
— Paul Kane (@pkcapitol) September 12, 2013
Hill stats of week (2/2): Senate spent 68 hours here, held 1 vote (confirming lower level judge) and went home for 100-hour "weekend".
— Paul Kane (@pkcapitol) September 12, 2013
— Senator Tim Kaine (@timkaine) September 12, 2013
Simone Pathe contributed to this report.
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