Lawmakers feeling heat from government shutdown

The sun rises behind the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013. The political stare-down on Capitol Hill shows no signs of easing, leaving federal government functions — from informational websites, to national parks, to processing veterans' claims — in limbo from coast to coast. Lawmakers in both parties ominously suggested the partial shutdown might last for weeks. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

The sun rises behind the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013. The political stare-down on Capitol Hill shows no signs of easing, leaving federal government functions — from informational websites, to national parks, to processing veterans' claims — in limbo from coast to coast. Lawmakers in both parties ominously suggested the partial shutdown might last for weeks. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev., arrive on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013, for an event to celebrate the start of the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, with other lawmakers and people whose lives have been impacted by lack of health insurance. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev., arrive on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013, for an event to celebrate the start of the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, with other lawmakers and people whose lives have been impacted by lack of health insurance. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Lawmakers locked in a political stare-down Wednesday were buffeted by rising anger from across the nation about a partial government shutdown that ruined vacations, sapped businesses and closed military cemeteries as far away as France. Some on Capitol Hill ominously suggested the impasse might last for weeks, but a few Republicans seemed ready to blink.

Republican Rep. Peter King of New York accused tea party-backed lawmakers of trying to "hijack the party" and said he senses that a growing number of rank-and-file House Republicans — perhaps as many as a hundred — are tired of the shutdown that began Tuesday morning.

GOP lawmakers will be in meetings Wednesday to look for a way out, King said.

But GOP leaders and tea party-backed members seemed determined to press on.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a tea party favorite, said there would be no solution until President Barack Obama and Democrats who control the Senate agree to discuss problems with the nation's unfolding health care overhaul.

"The pigsty that is Washington, D.C., gets mud on a lot of people and the question is what are you going to do moving forward," Chaffetz, R-Utah, said on CBS' "This Morning."

Funding for much of the U.S. government was halted after Republicans hitched a routine spending bill to their effort to kill or delay the health care law they call "Obamacare." The president accuses them of holding the government hostage.

Republicans pivoted to a strategy of trying to reopen more popular parts of the government piecemeal, but were unable to immediately advance the idea in the House.

Meanwhile, another financial showdown even more critical to the economy was looming. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew told Congress that unless lawmakers act in time, he will run out of money to pay the nation's bills by Oct. 17. Congress must periodically raise the limit on government borrowing to keep U.S. funds flowing, a once-routine matter that has become locked in battles over the federal budget deficit.

Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the second-ranking House Democrat, said Democrats would overwhelmingly accept a short-term spending measure to reopen the government and increase the nation's debt limit while other political differences are worked out. "That would be a responsible way to go," Hoyer told CNN.

Fed-up Americans took to Facebook and Twitter to call members of Congress "stupid" or "idiots." Some blamed Republicans while others blasted Obama or Democrats "who spend our tax dollars like crack addicts."

Bruce Swedal, a 46-year-old Denver real estate agent, tweeted to Congress members: "You should not be getting paid. In fact, you all should be fired!"

A Wisconsin man began flying his flag upside down and urged other Americans to do the same.

Some 800,000 federal workers deemed nonessential were staying home again Wednesday in the first partial shutdown since the winter of 1995-96.

Across the nation, America roped off its most hallowed symbols: the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, the Statue of Liberty in New York, Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, the Washington Monument.

Its natural wonders — the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, the Smoky Mountains and more — put up "Closed" signs and shooed campers away.

Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia said he was getting pleas from businesses that rely on tourists. "The restaurants, the hotels, the grocery stores, the gasoline stations, they're all very devastated with the closing of the parks," he said.

The far-flung effects reached France, where tourists were barred from the U.S. cemetery overlooking the D-Day beaches at Normandy. Twenty-four military cemeteries abroad have been closed.

While U.S. military personnel are getting paid during the shutdown, thousands of civilian Defense employees are being furloughed.

Even fall football is in jeopardy. The Defense Department said it wasn't clear that service academies would be able to participate in sports, putting Saturday's Army vs. Boston College and Air Force vs. Navy football games on hold, with a decision to be made Thursday.

The White House said Obama would have to truncate a long-planned trip to Asia, calling off the final two stops in Malaysia and the Philippines.

Even as many government agencies closed their doors, the health insurance exchanges that are at the core of Obama's health care law were up and running, taking applications for coverage that would start Jan. 1.

"Shutting down our government doesn't accomplish their stated goal," Obama said of his Republican opponents at a Rose Garden event Tuesday hailing implementation of the law. He said the Affordable Care Act "is settled, and it is here to stay."

GOP leaders faulted the Senate for killing a House request to open official negotiations on the temporary spending bill. Senate Democrats led by Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada insist that Republicans give in and pass their simple, straightforward temporary funding bill, known as a continuing resolution, with no strings attached.

Republicans insisted that Democrats must agree to negotiate over the health care law as part of the funding deadlock.

House Speaker John Boehner said his party was working to "deal honestly with the problems we face."

"We hope that Senate Democrats — and President Obama — change course and start working with us on behalf of the American people," Boehner wrote in an op-ed in Wednesday's USA Today.

Late Tuesday, House Republicans sought passage of legislation aimed at reopening small slices of the government. The bills covered the national parks, the Veterans Affairs Department and city services in Washington, D.C., such as garbage collection funded with local tax revenues.

The move presented Democrats with politically challenging votes but they rejected the idea, saying it was unfair to pick winners and losers as federal employees worked without a guarantee of getting paid and the effects of the partial shutdown rippled through the country and the economy.

Since the measures were brought before the House under expedited procedures requiring a two-thirds vote to pass, House Democrats scuttled them, despite an impassioned plea by Democratic D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, who recalled that in the last shutdown 17 years ago she prevailed on House Speaker Newt Gingrich to win an exemption to keep the D.C. government running.

"This piecemeal approach will only prolong a shutdown," Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., said.

Meanwhile, the District of Columbia was pursuing its own solution. The D.C. Council authorized using contingency funds to keep the city's employees working, so that trash pickup, libraries and more could go on during the federal shutdown.

Congressional Republicans said there could be more votes Wednesday, perhaps to allow the National Institutes of Health to continue pediatric cancer research. The NIH's famed hospital of last resort wasn't admitting new patients to research trials because of the shutdown. Dr. Francis Collins, agency director, estimated that each week the shutdown lasts would force the facility to turn away about 200 patients, 30 of them children, who want to enroll in studies of experimental treatments. Patients already at the hospital are permitted to stay.

Republicans also said the House may vote anew on the three measures that failed Tuesday, this time under normal rules requiring a simple majority to pass.

Republicans hoped such votes would create pressure on Democrats to drop their insistence that they won't negotiate over the spending bill or the upcoming debt limit.

There were suggestions from leaders in both parties that the shutdown could last for weeks and grow to encompass the measure to increase the debt limit. "This is now all together," Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said.

"It's untenable not to negotiate," House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said. "I've always believed it was the debt limit that would be the forcing action."

EARLIER:

Government shutdown: No progress on ending stalemate

WASHINGTON (AP) — The political stare-down on Capitol Hill shows no signs of easing, leaving federal government functions — from informational websites, to national parks, to processing veterans' claims — in limbo from coast to coast. Lawmakers in both parties ominously suggested the partial shutdown might last for weeks.

A funding cutoff for much of the government began Tuesday as a Republican effort to kill or delay the nation's health care law stalled action on a short-term, traditionally routine spending bill. Republicans pivoted to a strategy to try to reopen the government piecemeal but were unable to immediately advance the idea in the House.

National parks like Yellowstone and Alcatraz Island were shuttered, government websites went dark and hundreds of thousands of nonessential workers reported for a half-day to fill out time cards, hand in their government cellphones and laptops, and change voicemail messages to gird for a deepening shutdown.

The Defense Department said it wasn't clear that service academies would be able to participate in sports, putting Saturday's Army vs. Boston College and Air Force vs. Navy football games on hold, with a decision to be made Thursday.

And the White House said Wednesday that President Barack Obama would have to truncate a long-planned trip to Asia, calling off the final two stops in Malaysia and the Philippines.

Even as many government agencies closed their doors, health insurance exchanges that are at the core of Obama's health care law were up and running, taking applications for coverage that would start Jan. 1.

"Shutting down our government doesn't accomplish their stated goal," Obama said of his Republican opponents at a Rose Garden event hailing implementation of the law. "The Affordable Care Act is a law that passed the House; it passed the Senate. The Supreme Court ruled it constitutional. It was a central issue in last year's election. It is settled, and it is here to stay. And because of its funding sources, it's not impacted by a government shutdown."

GOP leaders faulted the Senate for killing a House request to open official negotiations on the temporary spending bill. Senate Democrats led by Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada insist that Republicans give in and pass their simple, straightforward temporary funding bill, known as a continuing resolution.

"None of us want to be in a shutdown. And we're here to say to the Senate Democrats, 'Come and talk to us,'" House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said as GOP lawmakers designated to negotiate the shutdown legislation met among themselves before cameras and reporters. "At each and every turn, the Senate Democrats refused to even discuss these proposals."

In an op-ed in Wednesday's USA Today, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, wrote: "As for House Republicans, we will continue our efforts to keep the government running and deal honestly with the problems we face. We hope that Senate Democrats — and President Obama — change course and start working with us on behalf of the American people."

Late Tuesday, House Republicans sought passage of legislation aimed at reopening small slices of the government. The bills covered the national parks, the Veterans Affairs Department and city services in Washington, D.C., such as garbage collection funded with local tax revenues.

The move presented Democrats with politically challenging votes but they rejected the idea, saying it was unfair to pick winners and losers as federal employees worked without a guarantee of getting paid and the effects of the partial shutdown rippled through the country and the economy. The White House promised a veto.

Since the measures were brought before the House under expedited procedures requiring a two-thirds vote to pass, House Democrats scuttled them, despite an impassioned plea by Democratic D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, who recalled that in the last shutdown 17 years ago she prevailed on House Speaker Newt Gingrich to win an exemption to keep the D.C. government running.

"I must support this piecemeal approach," Norton said. "What would you do if your local budget was here?"

But other Democrats said Republicans shouldn't be permitted to choose which agencies should open and which remain shut.

"This piecemeal approach will only prolong a shutdown," Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., said.

Republicans said there could be more votes Wednesday, perhaps to allow the National Institutes of Health to continue pediatric cancer research. The NIH's famed hospital of last resort wasn't admitting new patients because of the shutdown. Dr. Francis Collins, agency director, estimated that each week the shutdown lasts would force the facility to turn away about 200 patients, 30 of them children, who want to enroll in studies of experimental treatments. Patients already at the hospital are permitted to stay.

Republicans also said the House may vote anew on the three measures that failed Tuesday, this time under normal rules requiring a simple majority to pass.

Republicans hoped such votes would create pressure on Democrats to drop their insistence that they won't negotiate on the spending bill or an even more important subsequent measure, required in a couple of weeks or so, to increase the government's borrowing limit.

There were suggestions from leaders in both parties that the shutdown could last for weeks and grow to encompass the measure to increase the debt limit. "This is now all together," Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said.

"It's untenable not to negotiate," House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said. "I've always believed it was the debt limit that would be the forcing action."

While GOP leaders seemed determined to press on, some Republicans conceded they might bear the brunt of any public anger over the shutdown — and seemed resigned to an eventual surrender in their latest bruising struggle with Obama.

Democrats have "all the leverage and we've got none," Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia said.

Rep. Scott Rigell of Virginia said it was time to pass legislation reopening the government without any health care impediments.

"The shutdown is hurting my district — including the military and the hardworking men and women who have been furloughed due to the defense sequester," he said.

But that was far from the majority view among House Republicans, where tea party-aligned lawmakers prevailed more than a week ago on a reluctant leadership to link federal funding legislation to the health care law. In fact, some conservatives fretted the GOP had already given in too much.

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Comments » 11

August8 writes:

The problem here is the 3rd Democrat, the media.As Obama Care comes out the crud will seep out and blow back over all of these fine folks, so I say hold the line and good people will eventually prevail.

26yearsonmarco writes:

I am deeply concerned the "Shutdown" will delay future projects such as the one featured in this article:

http://cnsnews.com/news/article/eric-...

August8 writes:

in response to 26yearsonmarco:

I am deeply concerned the "Shutdown" will delay future projects such as the one featured in this article:

http://cnsnews.com/news/article/eric-...

The longer the goverment is closed the better off the average citizen will be.

happy6 writes:

the part the big O neglects to tell us is that all those government laggards that are "on furlough" will get full pay retro active once all the dust settles...kinda like he forgot to mention the $6,000 deductible for OCARE.
and sir harry keeps saying the repubs are causing everything to shut down...the big O has vetoed every funding bill congress has sent up in the past 3 days....what a freakin joke this guy is.

26yearsonmarco writes:

This would be my plan:

Reopen the government but fire all the "Nonessential Workers".

Give the "Essential Workers" a ten percent raise to also do the work of the "Non Essential" workers, and if they don't like it, fire them too, and turn the entire operation over to "Private Industry".

Konfuzius writes:

in response to August8:

The longer the goverment is closed the better off the average citizen will be.

How silly is that? The second day of shutdowns in America: In the public service there is in many places, because a dispute over the budget raging in Congress stalled. There is simply no money gone to maintain the operation of national parks, museums or other attractions.

Experts fear for the State of the world's largest economic power. Because Democrats and Republicans Block constantly mutually important political decisions, America was a degenerated ineffective player, says about Harold James, Professor at the elite US University Princeton.

Still, stock markets react relatively quiet on the attack of the State administrative apparatus. Still, most experts believe that Democrats and Republicans will settle their dispute rapidly. About great US President Barack Obama met on Wednesday with the heads of major international banks, including Deutsche Bank Chief Anshu Jain, presumably to discuss possible solutions of the budget dispute. The bickering hurts with the Republicans but the economy already.
The problem is, nobody know something more accurate how expensive the shutdown is exactly - there are different estimates. Relatively harmless sounds the forecast by Mark Zandi, the Chief Economist of Moody's analytics financial information service. According to his calculations, a three-to four-week shutdown would America's economic growth in the fourth quarter cut well 1.4 percentage points. Instead of 2.5 percent would grow the economy therefore only to around one percent.
The forecasts of the macroeconomic advisers, a financial service, which has a former top managers of fed fed aboard with Laurence Meyer are gloomy. Already two weeks stops, so its forecast would cause that the economy in the fourth quarter shrinking by 0.3 percent. The loss of about 50 billion dollars would be expressed in absolute terms.
In addition: the shutdown would be just a small taste of the economic devastation that would threaten, if still not have reached even up to October 17. Then, the so-called debt ceiling currently 16.7 trillion would be achieved. Although creditors would lend on the United States, but it is forbidden to accept this and to incur new debts beyond the upper limit of the Government by law. The State would be virtually broke.

It would be impossible, to meet their obligations the United States of America, had warned already last week Treasury Secretary Jack Lew. The consequences would be a devastating impact on the economy. Not only in America but around the world.

This happens when one follows the fanatical ideologues of the tea party and not President Barack Obama. Downfall. Ray the mocker blogged: They are doing their duties. USA is not South Korea or DDR. BS. In the moment irresponsible.. That is South Korea or DDR. Take it seriously. Tea party is garbage.

26yearsonmarco writes:

What A Government Shutdown Means For You
Infographic • Politics • politicians • ISSUE 49•40 • Sep 30, 2013

• All national parks and zoos will be closed, but animals will be fed and cared for by Sens. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and Tom Harkin (D-IA)
• No trash collection in Washington, D.C., which means the only solution is for residents to eat their own garbage
• Those who died and are honored in the Holocaust Museum will become de-memorialized and will no longer be resting in peace
• Old man with giant beard who walks hundreds of steps to light the gas lamp in the Statue of Liberty every night will be unemployed
• You will still be able to send and receive mail, but any attempt to poison government officials will have to be held off until they return to their offices after the shutdown ends
• This probably won’t have any actual effect on your marriage, but it’s better to blame it on this than facing what the real issues are
• Any harm that may occur to you during the shutdown will still affect your body in real life. Essentially, if you die in the shutdown, you die for real.
• Most government workers will be furloughed—a procedure that involves halting their pay, sending them home, and then castrating them with a gelding knife in front of their spouses
• Realistically, you won’t be affected by this very much in your day-to-day life, but you’ll feel the full effects during the 2014 midterm election when you lose your seat in Congress

ajm3s writes:

In the midst of a government shutdown, where is the President today? Rockville, MD.

I recommend everyone listen to that oratory...and bear in mind, he is the executive.... talking trash....well......he's the man, bro'.

But this segment of his speech was just precious!

“If a worker shut down a manufacturing plant until they got what they wanted, they’d be fired,”

http://allamericanblogger.com/25527/o...

Konfuzius writes:

Patriotism is easy to understand in America. It means looking out for yourself by looking out for your country. ---Calvin Coolidge

Marriott is looking out for themselves by not looking out for Marco Island.
I can not believe that somebody on Marco Island believes in the impact for the Marco Island business community. The resort thinking of the Marriott concept is keeping their guests inside the Marriott facilities. The plan of the top of the world restaurant tells you everything.
Wake up Islander. It is referendum time.

Konfuzius writes:

in response to ajm3s:

In the midst of a government shutdown, where is the President today? Rockville, MD.

I recommend everyone listen to that oratory...and bear in mind, he is the executive.... talking trash....well......he's the man, bro'.

But this segment of his speech was just precious!

“If a worker shut down a manufacturing plant until they got what they wanted, they’d be fired,”

http://allamericanblogger.com/25527/o...

Powerful hunger and a cool signal.

While Democrats and Republicans in the US budget battle wedge, great President Barack Obama and his Deputy Joe Biden make a relaxed lunch on Friday.

Flanked by numerous agents of the secret service walk America's most powerful from the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue. Their goal: A gourmet sandwich shop in the heart of Washington.

While before the "Taylor" already spectators gathered, great President Barack Obama quickly risked a look at the lunch bags of the other guests. He briefly consults with his Deputy at the box office and inspected a packet of biscuits. Deputy Biden pulls out a twenty dollar bill and America's President can fill their lunch bags.

Satisfied great President Barck Obama takes his bag, takes time for the people waiting and waving goodbye, as is on cozy White House direction the baggage train.

Back at the White House, great President Barack Obama greets a security man with "Shake Hands" and disappears into his official residence.

Unbelievable cool this President. Great leader!

ajm3s writes:

in response to Konfuzius:

Patriotism is easy to understand in America. It means looking out for yourself by looking out for your country. ---Calvin Coolidge

Marriott is looking out for themselves by not looking out for Marco Island.
I can not believe that somebody on Marco Island believes in the impact for the Marco Island business community. The resort thinking of the Marriott concept is keeping their guests inside the Marriott facilities. The plan of the top of the world restaurant tells you everything.
Wake up Islander. It is referendum time.

Nice analogy. I have no problem with Marriott looking out for its best interests, just as I have no problem residents looking out for their own best interests.

Now, the Marriott is susceptible in this debate, because it is requesting the nullification of its contract with the city in the form of a PUD as well as, requesting a variance to build its hotel on the beach, 17 feet higher than code allows. It is essentially asking for height changes on both sides of the street.

Regardless of the convention and traffic impact, I ask the Planning Board as truly serving for the benefit of elected council members to weigh the impact of these requests, in light of residents views that wish to maintain the island primarily as a residential community. In fact, the bulk of complaints on this is island is parking related, so why would the city exacerbate the problem with expanded parking across the street on Collier Blvd. Even in Old Marco, the restaurants are under attack by condos ACROSS the street for parking in the swales which is legal under current code.

If you want a residential community, we need to request a local government, that is not incessantly lamenting that it needs more because the folks require a high level of service.

We may need a referendum to confirm if the folks want a higher level of service or simply a large sign "No Parking Here".

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