Shutdown Nears As Congress Remains Deadlocked
Catheryn Carroll of Washington, D.C. berates House Republicans at a Sunday press conference (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Congress careened toward a shutdown Monday, with lawmakers running out of time and options to keep the government from running out of money.
The fate of the national parks, more than 800,000 federal workers and even the Library of Congress website hinges on when — and whether — lawmakers can craft a deal before the clock strikes midnight.
Early Sunday morning the House revised the temporary budget plan that had passed the Senate on Friday, adding a one-year delay in the implementation of President Barack Obama’s health care reform law. House lawmakers also approved a provision to repeal a 2.3 percent tax on medical device manufacturers aimed at helping pay for the law. The spending bill also included a “conscience clause” that would allow employers and insurers to opt out of providing health care services they find morally objectionable, such as contraceptive coverage.
In a separate vote, the House unanimously passed a measure to ensure members of the military would be paid in the event of a shutdown. Senators said that was one element that would likely pass.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid vowed Sunday that his chamber would reject the House bill when it returned to work Monday afternoon. “At that point, Republicans will be faced with the same choice they have always faced: put the Senate’s clean funding bill on the floor and let it pass with bipartisan votes, or force a Republican government shutdown,” Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson said in a statement.
The Senate remained closed on Sunday even after the House acted, a decision Speaker John Boehner called “an act of breathtaking arrogance by the Senate Democratic leadership.”
Boehner added: “They will be deliberately bringing the nation to the brink of a government shutdown for the sake of raising taxes on seniors’ pacemakers and children’s hearing aids and plowing ahead with the train wreck that is the president’s health care law.”
A group of about 20 House conservatives sought to drive home that point Sunday, holding an afternoon press conference on the steps of the Senate, accusing Reid and his fellow Democrats of seeking to run out the clock.
All weekend, aides to top leaders were telling the NewsHour that no meetings or backroom conversations were taking place. One said simply, “No one is talking. Period.”
Politico reported Monday that when Mr. Obama considered a meeting with the four congressional leaders at the White House, “Reid privately urged Obama to call off the meeting.” The report states that, “Reid believed that it would amount to nothing more than a photo-op that would give the false impression that a serious negotiation was occurring, even warning he wouldn’t attend such a session. Obama scrapped it.”
As lawmakers considered the measures on the House floor Saturday, there was plenty of incendiary rhetoric.
“Your hate for this president is coming before your love of this country,” said Rep. David Scott, a Democrat from Georgia. “Because if you love this country you would not be closing it down.”
And the blame game carried over onto the Sunday talk shows.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who led the effort to try and defund the health care law as part of the funding bill, said the new House proposal represented a compromise on the part of Republicans and blamed Reid for being unwilling to do the same.
“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 said during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “His position is 100 percent of ‘Obamacare’ must be funded in all instances, and other than that, he’s going to shut the government down.”
Other Republicans on the shows offered similar rebukes of Reid, and complained that Mr. Obama went golfing on Sunday as the House voted. That did not prevent the White House, however, from issuing a veto threat.
One reason for the calcified positions is politics, with lawmakers seeing a benefit from staking out their sides.
A new survey of the possible 2016 presidential field from the left-leaning Public Policy Polling found Cruz has surged to become “the top choice of Republican primary voters,” leading the pack with 20 percent of the vote, an 8-point jump since PPP’s last poll.
PPP’s analysis noted that Cruz has credibility with base GOP voters and, “is now viewed more broadly as the leader of the Republican Party,” winning out on a question of trust over Senate leaders.
But a new CNN poll released Monday found Republicans would be held most responsible for a government shutdown. The survey showed 46 percent of Americans “say they would blame congressional Republicans for a government shutdown, with 36 percent saying the president would be more responsible and 13 percent pointing fingers at both the GOP in Congress and Obama.” It also revealed that six in 10 respondents said that avoiding a shutdown was more important than making major changes to the health care law.
When the Senate returns to work Monday at 2 p.m. ET, there will be 10 hours until the government shuts down. It’s not impossible to reach a deal in that limited time, but if they get there, it’s not going to be easy.
The NewsHour will be closely covering the debate on the Senate floor and action that follows in the House Monday. Keep an eye on the Rundown blog for breaking news throughout the day, follow @NewsHour for the latest and tune in Monday night.
EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT HEALTH CARE
The NewsHour has been offering up a series of explainer segments as the implementation of the health care insurance exchanges prepares for a Tuesday launch. From addressing how young people should approach the new insurance system to how poor people can best get coverage, Ray Suarez led conversations with experts to answer your questions.
Watch all of the videos here or below:
Rep. Spencer Bachus will not seek reelection next year, the Alabama Republican announced Monday in an interview on “Good Day Alabama.”
In case you were wondering, two Democrats joined House Republicans to vote “Yes” on delaying the health care law: Reps. Jim Matheson of Utah and Mike McIntyre of North Carolina, both in districts where they face difficult re-elections. And two Republicans joined the Democrats to vote against the delay: Rep. Richard Hanna and freshman Rep. Chris Gibson, both of New York.
Trains, cafeterias and tours of the Capitol would all ground to a halt in the event of a shutdown, reports Roll Call’s Hannah Hess.
The Justice Department is keeping up its aggressive fight against voter ID laws, and Attorney General Eric Holder will announce Monday that the DOJ is suing North Carolina to block its new measure.
Reaction to the president’s historic phone call with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani reverberated around the globe this weekend.
The Associated Press’ Erica Werner has details on behind-the-scenes immigration talks happening among House Republicans.
The Hill rounds up all the members of Congress who were serving the last time there was a government shutdown.
The New York Times’ Jonathan Martin notes that first-term Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is in high demand in Democratic circles.
Here is the New York Times’ big project on children and guns published Sunday.
2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney spoke with CNN’s Jake Tapper on Friday, and said a government shutdown would hurt Republicans.
Former Vice President Al Gore in a speech Friday at the Brookings Institution accused Republicans of “political terrorism.”
ABC and Yahoo take a look at 40 on Capitol Hill under the age of 40.
Women’s health care providers in Texas sued the state Friday, “attempting to block as unconstitutional key provisions of a strict new abortion law that drew massive protests and threw the Legislature into chaos before it was approved this summer,” the Associated Press reports.
Friday night, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy suggested to rank-and-file lawmakers that they go see “Prisoners” at the theater as people bickered over who was calling whom a hostage-taker. And Democrats over the weekend showed a “Daily Show” clip making fun of Cruz during their caucus meeting.
Apparently, Red Sox fans “are feeling awfully optimistic about their prospects for October,” with 83 percent of people asked in a new survey from Public Policy Polling believing the team will make it to the World Series. Also notable, according to PPP: “Tom Brady has a 70/10 favorability rating among all Massachusetts voters. Those numbers are pretty impressive but don’t quite stack up to how beloved Drew Brees is in Louisiana (81/6) or Aaron Rodgers is in Wisconsin (75/7).”
- Here’s Jimmy Fallon, The Roots and some muppets singing “Sesame Street.” Because, why not?
- Mark Shields and Ramesh Ponnuru of National Review, sitting in for David Brooks, analyzed the shutdown showdown, Mr. Obama’s phone call with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, the situation in Syria and American influence in the Middle East and abroad.
Ponnuru characterized the split in the Republican Party as populists versus the establishment. Shields said GOP leadership “is really intimidated by the firebrands.”
Watch here or below.
- Christina chatted with Hari Sreenivasan on NewsHour Weekend about the shutdown showdown. That’s right, we’re seven days a week now. You can watch the Saturday show here or below.
- Watch the Sunday show here or below.
In “Gwen’s Take” this week, she raises the idea of a “threat matrix.”
- 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.
Friends, the furloughs are much more operationally significant than reported. There will be Assistant Secretaries answering phones tmr.
— Simon Rosenberg (@SimonWDC) September 30, 2013
DC stores already advertising for a shutdown pic.twitter.com/tpKd5Hynaq
— Sam Stein (@samsteinhp) September 30, 2013
— Nick Swisher (@NickSwisher) September 30, 2013
— Stew (@StewSays) September 28, 2013
Visiting our national museums is a great pre-government shutdown activity.
— Tony Fratto (@TonyFratto) September 28, 2013
Historic phone call in the Oval Office: Pres Obama talks w Iran Pres Hassan Rouhani this afternoon pic.twitter.com/5EZSOdBouD
— petesouza (@petesouza) September 27, 2013
— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) September 27, 2013
Welcome to Twitter Dikembe @OfficialMutombo!
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) September 27, 2013
"Cloture" sounds like a medical condition, and not a good one. #analysis
— E McMorris-Santoro (@EvanMcSan) September 27, 2013
Senate chaplain Barry Black opened today with this prayer: "Keep us from shackling ourselves with the chains of dysfunction."
— EJ Dionne (@EJDionne) September 27, 2013
Alexander resignation today, whole # House lawmakers is 432 (232 GOP, 200 Dem, 3 vacant – Alexander, Markey, Bonner). 217 for bill to pass
— HowardMortman (@HowardMortman) September 27, 2013
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Questions or comments? Email Christina Bellantoni at cbellantoni-at-newshour-dot-org.
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