News / USA

Without Compromise, US Government Heads for Shutdown

Cindy Saine
U.S. President President Barack Obama said on Monday he is not resigned to a U.S. government shutdown taking place with a midnight deadline looming and said he would talk to congressional leaders later.
During an Oval Office appearance with visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Obama said he supported a Senate bill that would allow for a short-term funding of the government without cutting funding from his signature healthcare law, which Republicans are seeking to gut.

Obama said all involved must sit down in good faith without a threat of a debt default because the U.S. dollar is the reserve currency of the world and "we don't mess with that.''

The president made the remarks Monday afternoon just ahead of a vote by the Senate on the current spending bill, likely to be rejected. The bill, passed early Sunday by the House of Representatives, ties funding the government to delaying Obama's signature health care law.  

But If no deal is struck by day's end, large parts of the federal government will be shut down and 800,000 federal workers will be furloughed.

Democratic Senate Majority leader Harry Reid has made clear that the Senate will not pass any measure to extend federal funding that is linked to measures pushed by Republicans to derail the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. It is expected the Senate will send a "clean" spending bill back to the House later Monday.

Speaking on the House floor Monday morning, House Speaker John Boehner called for the Senate to do what the House wants.

"It is time for the Senate to listen to the American people, just like the House is listening to the American people and to pass a one-year delay of Obamacare and a permanent repeal of the medical device tax," said Boehner.

How The Shutdown is Affecting Services

  • About 800,000 federal workers furloughed
  • The military's 1.4 million active-duty personnel remain on duty, their paychecks delayed
  • NASA is furloughing almost all its employees
  • Air traffic controllers and screeners staying on the job
  • Federal courts continue to operate
  • Mail deliveries continue since U.S. Postal Service is not funded by tax dollars
  • Most Homeland Security employees continue to work
  • Most veterans' services continue because they are funded in advance
  • National Parks and Smithsonian museums closing
The standoff between the Democratic-controlled Senate and the Republican-controlled House has become familiar to political observers in Washington. This time, the health care law is at the core.

Democrats point out the measure will allow millions of Americans to afford health insurance, while Republicans say the regulations will hurt the economy and interfere in Americans' private lives.

Lawmakers weigh in
Already, both sides are trying to make sure the other gets blamed for a government shutdown, if it happens. A group of House Republicans met Sunday on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, including Representative Marsha Blackburn.

"This is what President Barack Obama wants. This is all part of his game plan. Shut it down, so he can get the checkbook, and so he, and Attorney General Eric Holder can decide what parts of the federal government are going to stay open," said Blackburn.

Democrats blame Republicans for attaching what they say is a completely unrelated measure on health care to a routine bill to fund the government. Democratic Representative Nita Lowey.

"And once again here we are, discussing yet another unworkable Republican bill, that pushes us closer to a completely avoidable and unnecessary shutdown,” said Lowey.

If the Senate returns a clean spending bill to the House, as expected, it will be up to Speaker Boehner to decide what to do next.

Republican Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy told Fox News Sunday he believes a shutdown can still be averted.

"I think the House will get back together in enough time, send another provision not to shut the government down, but to fund it, and it will have a few other options in there for the Senate to look at again."

Analysts expect high drama on Capitol Hill right up to the midnight deadline, and it may be prelude to another drama later this month, this time over authority for the government to continue borrowing money to pay its bills.

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Comment Sorting
by: Aubray from: California
September 30, 2013 2:02 PM
A bill no one wants, a healtcare plan which doesn't really protect you or your family, and another way for the government to say "it's good for the American people" however if it's so good then why is Congress and Obama not first in line to sign up their families? If it's not good for the goose then its not good for the gander! The sad truth is these parties no longer care about the American people. Because if they did then this Obama crap plan would not have been so hard for the American people to understand. They would have clarified that it's the middle class who will be suffering the most and this will cause a division on classes resulting the very few who are rich and everyone else being dirt poor. This whole thing has been a joke since the day it started and we the American people are the ones who will suffer from it just so one man can have his name in the history books. Pretty sad to know these are the people we have in charge.

by: chas holman from: USA
September 30, 2013 12:07 PM
I am so weary of the GOT's antics.

Watching the way the world markets have reacted the last few weeks, if we give them another year like they want, the uncertainty will have us all dead and buried alive. 2014 could not come soon enough.

The odd thing is, much like how no matter what the polls said and was so obvious during last election, they demanded Romney will win the Presidency and had the whole base demanding they didn't lose even after the election was over and Obama won by 5 million votes even taking some surprise conservative states. 'They' just refuse to get it, no matter what the cost to the nation or their party.

They are inescapably daft.

by: Sham from: D.C.
September 30, 2013 9:27 AM
It turns out that the ominous “government shut down” isn’t so apocalyptic after all since it won’t actually shut down government because the vast majority of federal services and activity will continue as normal. In addition, the same thing has happened – without dire consequences – no less than 17 times over the past three decades. The dispute over Obamacare means it is “99.9%” certain that the US government will “shut down” on October 1st because lawmakers have failed to pass legislation that will authorize the government to spend money to fund its operations from the beginning of the new fiscal year. However, as the Washington Post highlights, the same “shut down” has occurred 17 times since 1977. Most of the previous shut downs lasted from a few hours to a few days. The longest ran for 21 days from December ’96 to January ’97 during the presidency of Bill Clinton. Obama supporters and Democrats have attempted to portray a potential government shut down as something approaching a doomsday scenario, most notably Democratic Senator Tom Harkin, who hyped the prospect of it “as dangerous as the breakup of the Union before the Civil War.”

by: We are LYING to you. from: White House
September 30, 2013 9:25 AM
False claim #3: House Republicans are bluffing, and President Obama holds all the aces in the budget debate. “They said, “Yeah, we negotiate with everybody and we don’t like where it came out. We want our way. It’s our way or the highway. And if you don’t do it, we’ll shut the government down.” I think there are times when you have to call people’s bluff.”
— Former President Bill Clinton, on Republican claims, to George Stephanopoulos in This Week, September 29
Why it’s a lie: Republicans hold a constitutional royal-straight-flush on funding, as they control a majority of the House of Representatives. Under the constitutional appropriations process, funding for just about all programs ends automatically every year. Thus, funding for all programs must pass the House of Representatives every year or the programs will die. Therefore, House Republicans an absolute, veto-proof constitutional stop on spending.

Democratic Party talking points for the past year are that the GOP House has voted 30- or 40-odd times to defund Obamacare, to no effect. The reality is that House Republicans don’t need to vote at all to defund Obamacare; they simply need to avoid passing a bill to fund the program and it will die.
When Bill Clinton told George Stephanopoulos that Obama should “call people’s bluff,” Clinton was projecting from experience. Clinton bluffed against Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s royal-straight-flush back in 1996 with the same pair of deuces which today Obama holds, and the GOP folded its winning hand. Look for the same likely outcome this time. The real bluff may be that the GOP is pretending to have a spine, and it’s not there.

The reality is that the GOP-controlled House of Representatives has been the lifeblood of ObamaCare thus far, always granting it full funding up until this point. If the GOP finds its spine, Republicans will have to convince the American people that true compromise must not be based upon what is absent from a bill, but instead on what is in a bill. In short, Republicans need to embrace constitutional “reductive compromise” and reject the White House extortion strategy, initiating a compromise strategy that involves only spending money that is agreed upon by both parties.
In Response

by: outside in from: outside the US
September 30, 2013 12:26 PM
and when will you all realise that the very rich medical insurance companies are terrified of ObamaCare and are lobbying like there is no tomorrow. When will you realise the Republicans are only doing what there masters tell them too.

by: DAVID LULASA from: tambua,hamisi,vihiga
September 30, 2013 6:53 AM
when americans are all in a coma,thats when the country/government will have to shut down...and its friends can help the government continue running still..all money meant for the health care must be used to stop the government shutting down.

lulasa...the president(USA)
tambua village,gimarakwa,hamisi,vihiga,kenya.

by: Kafantaris from: Warren, Ohio
September 30, 2013 5:27 AM
Recklessness is intoxicating -- and the more reckless the better.
Like Thelma and Louise, these guys are barreling towards the cliff and there is not a soul at the GOP to remind them that they are taking the Party down with them.
As if they swallowed a stupid pill, they have lost their common sense; their foresight; their wits.
And the stalwarts of the GOP lost their guts.
Maybe the Party should go down the cliff. Indeed, this might be the only way to have a quick rebirth.
In the meantime, however, we will all suffer; a two-party system is the only way we know how to govern ourselves.
No, there are no winners here -- not even those who think they will win.

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