Government Shutdown Standoff

  • ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ: With a potential government shutdown less than 12 hours away, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., called on her congressional colleagues to sign onto her bill which would stop pay for members of Congress in the case of a government shutdown. “It’s absolutely inappropriate. We should be treated the same as everyone,” Boxer said in a news conference today. Sending a message to House Speaker John Boehner, Boxer said, “Act like a speaker of the House not just like a speaker of the Republicans and pass my bill so your people don’t get paid.”

    “If he is going to force pain on everyone else, he ought to take the pain, he and his members really,” Boxer said. Boxer and Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., introduced a similar bill when a potential shutdown loomed in 2011. The bill passed the Senate but never received a vote in the House of Representatives.
  • ABC's JOHN PARKINSON: Earlier today, I took an elevator ride with Rep. Nita Lowey, the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee. I asked her what she thought was going to happen today and she said, “I don’t know. It’s disgusting!”

  • ABC’s JOHN PARKINSON: House Speaker John Boehner is huddling with fellow Republican leaders today in an attempt to head off a government shutdown, but earlier today he was still publicly promoting the bill the House passed Saturday night, which included a one-year delay of Obamacare.

    “This law is not ready for prime time. The House has done its work. We passed a bill on Saturday night -- sent it to the United States Senate -- that would delay ObamaCare for one year, and would eliminate permanently the medical device tax that is costing us tens of thousands of jobs that are being shipped overseas,” Boehner said on the House floor this morning. “Senate decided not to work yesterday. Well my goodness, if there’s such an emergency, where are they? It's time for the Senate to listen to the American people just like the House has listened to the American people and to pass a one-year delay of ObamaCare and a permanent repeal of the medical device tax.”

  • White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, speaking at his daily briefing today, reiterated President Obama's position that he will resist "this desire to unwind history and achieve through threat and extortion what Republicans couldn't do through the legislative process or the election process."
  • Is a shutdown inevitable? White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says, "No!"
  • ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ: As the Senate prepares to reconvene at 2:00 p.m. Eastern, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is currently holding a meeting with his Democratic caucus. Reid is expected to move to table the amendments the House added to the continuing resolution over the weekend with a vote and will send back a so-called "clean" CR back to the House.
  • ABC's ALEXANDER LAZAR: Members of Congress, pundits and administration officials have been throwing all sorts of terms around that even some experienced Capitol Hill hands need a dictionary to figure out. To help you sort through all the inside-the-Beltway jargon, ABC News has compiled a concise, easy-to-understand guide of key words so that you can follow all the action in our nation’s capitol like an insider.
  • ABC News Pollster GARY LANGER: Our last ABC/Post poll found just 27 percent support for shutting down the government to block Obamacare. And more people saw intransigence on the part of the Republicans in Congress (64 percent said they were not doing enough to compromise) as said the same about Obama (49 percent). So the GOP looks to be at greater risk.
  • ABC's JEFF ZELENY: The Senate is scheduled to convene at 2 p.m. and quickly vote to “table” the House action, which means this: It’s back over to the House – and back to Square One. At the same time, House Republicans are heading into a closed-door meeting to plot a way forward and see what their members want to do: Volley another bill back to the Senate or embrace a short-term option to avoid a shutdown.
  • ABC's JEFF ZELENY: The Senate has officially rejected the House plan to keep the government open on a partisan vote, with Democrats voting yes and Republicans voting no. The vote -- 54 to 46 -- puts the budget impasse back in the hands of the House.

    So what's next? The House will either give in or dig in and send the Senate back a bill later today that it won't pass. House GOP is meeting behind closed doors now to discuss. Here in the Capitol, there is discussion about a Band-Aid: A one-week temporary solution. But a top House GOP official tells ABC News that idea is a "no-go."

  • ABC's MARY BRUCE: President Obama says he remains hopeful that a deal can be reached to fund the government. “I am not at all resigned [to a government shutdown],” he told reporters today after an Oval Office meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

    Placing blame squarely on House Republicans, Obama said “the bottom line is that the Senate has passed a bill that keeps the government open, does not have a lot of extraneous issues to it, that allows us then to negotiate a longer-term budget and address a range of other issues but that ensure that we’re not shutting down the government and we’re not shutting down the economy at a time when a lot of families out there are just getting some traction in digging themselves out of the hole that we’ve had as a consequence of the financial crisis."
  • ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ: Today’s opening prayer from Senate Chaplain Barry Black was quite fitting as a potential government shutdown looms less than 10 hours away: “Let us pray. Eternal God, our ever present help in trouble, as our nation stumbles toward a seemingly unavoidable government shutdown, keep our lawmakers from sowing to the wind, thereby risking reaping the whirlwind. May they remember that all that is necessary for unintended catastrophic consequences is for good people to do nothing. Lord, lead them away from the unfortunate dialectic of us vs. them as they strive to unite for the common good of this land we love. Let them not be content to wait and see what will happen, but give them the determination to make the right things happen. Bless them with the courage to stand for something less they fall for anything. We pray in your merciful name amen.”
  • ABC’s JEFF ZELENY: The House is digging in. Republicans are moving toward taking another shot at Obamacare in the budget fight. This time, by proposing a one-year delay of the individual mandate -- and canceling subsidies on health insurance for members of Congress and staff, lawmakers and aides tell ABC News. This will take several hours to unfold. There could be another volley of votes before midnight, but unless there's a change of approach, the shutdown is soon upon us.
  • ABC’s JEFF ZELENY: House Democratic leaders say they will provide the votes to help Speaker John Boehner pass the budget bill, saying today for the first time they would accept a lower level of funding for the next six weeks to keep government open. "Democrats are making an explicit offer to the speaker to keep the government open," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters. "Take yes for an answer."

    Lost in the back-and-forth fight between the House and the Senate is one key point: How much funding to give the government to stay open. Republicans were pushing for the so-called sequester level of $988 billion, while Democrats wanted to start at the original amount that is slightly higher.

    The decision by Democrats today marks the first time they said they would accept the sequester level -- for the next six weeks, until the next budget is negotiated. Pelosi called it: "A bitter pill to swallow."
  • ABC News Pollster GARY LANGER:  A new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds the Republicans in Congress at greater risk of political damage in a government shutdown: Sixty-three percent of Americans disapprove of their handling of the budget debate, 13 points worse than Barack Obama’s rating on the issue. Neither side gets remotely positive scores, indicating plenty of irritation to go around. But Obama’s 41-50 percent approval rating for handling the budget negotiations far exceeds the GOP’s 26-63 percent. The Democrats in Congress fall between the two, at 34-56 percent.

    While these views are highly partisan and ideological, the Republicans are weaker in their base. Seventy-one percent of Democrats and 61 percent of liberals approve of Obama’s handling of the issue. Fewer Republicans or conservatives approve of the GOP’s performance, 56 percent and just 40 percent, respectively. Notably, even among those who call themselves “very” conservative, fewer than half, 45 percent, approve of how the Republicans in Congress are handling the issue. (Naturally, even fewer in this group, 17 percent, approve of Obama’s approach.)
    by Michael Falcone

  • ABC’s JEFF ZELENY: Five words move a shutdown ever closer. "That's not going to happen," Speaker John Boehner said when asked if the House would consider before midnight a bill without some health care provision attached. The House could start voting around 5 p.m. on the next plan: Keeping the government open by delaying the individual mandate requiring people to buy health insurance and lifting a special exemption for members of Congress and their staffs on Obamacare.

    "This bill makes everyone equal," Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., chairman of Budget Committee says.

    Rep. Peter King told reporters he would vote “no” on the plan, saying it's time to take steps to prevent a government shutdown. He said as many as 20 Republicans could join him.
  • This just in from the White House: "the President will deliver a statement in the Brady Press Briefing Room" at 4:45 p.m. Eastern.
  • ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ: For you "Breaking Bad" fans out there, here's Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., on the shutdown threat: “I think Republicans saw ‘Breaking Bad’ last night and thought they could put on an even better finale and create more drama. They could cook up even more toxic sides. They could break this government in every bad way possible.”

  • ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ: The Senate passed a bill today that ensures members of the military receive their pay on time in the case of a government shutdown. The bill was passed by unanimous consent. The House voted unanimously on this same measure in the early morning hours on Sunday.

  • ABC’s STEVEN PORTNOY: As the House gets set to vote late Monday on a package that would strip members of Congress and their staff of the employer contribution they currently enjoy for their health benefits, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) says that’s “probably not a good idea.” Paul said many low-paid staffers will “suffer” if they must pay for their coverage in the exchanges in full. “Singling out Congress and their staffs is probably not a good idea,” Paul told ABC News in a radio interview Monday. “But it’s become an emotional football.”

    The Kentucky senator says talk from conservatives of a congressional “exemption” has confused the issue. “People really aren’t telling the full story about this, that it’s not whether or not congress and their staff will be under Obamacare. That is already the law,” he said. Paul argues it would be most fair to eliminate the employer contribution for all federal workers, forcing them all into Obamacare exchanges.

    “We’ll be the only category of people in the country who are forced to [pay for the exchanges out of our own pockets]. if I’ve got to do it, I think Justice Roberts ought to have to do it, and so should the president,” Paul said.
  • In the White House at this hour, President Obama is running through a laundry list of the departments, agencies and government services that would be affected by a shutdown, including hundreds of thousands of workers who would be furloughed without pay. "What will, of course, not be furloughed are the bills that they have to pay," Obama said.
  • "It does not have to happen," Obama says. "All of this is entirely preventable if the House chooses to do what the Senate has already done."
  • Obama: "The Affordable Care Act is moving forward. The funding is already in place. You can't shut it down."

  • Obama: "Does anybody truly believe that we won't have this fight again in a couple more months?"

  • Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, is unleashing some tough talk on John Boehner, asking the House Speaker why he has not allowed an up-or-down vote on a clean continuing resolution. "If he had that vote, it would pass, it would pass on a bi-partisan basis," Van Hollen said.

    The Maryland Democrat added another question for Boehner: "Mr. Speaker, why don't you just quicken it up and pass Senator Cruz the gavel and let him run thew House?
  • ABC's JOHN PARKINSON: A statement from Brendan Buck, press secretary to House Speaker John Boehner:

    “The president called the speaker this evening to discuss funding for the government and Obamacare. The speaker told the president that Obamacare is costing jobs and that American families are being denied basic fairness when big businesses are getting exemptions that they are not. The call lasted nearly ten minutes.”
  • ABC’s JONATHAN KARL: Here's the White House’s take on the president's calls with House Speaker John Boehner and the other Congressional leaders this evening. As you can see -- no breakthrough in sight:

    “This evening, the President placed separate calls to Senate Majority Leader Reid, Senate Minority Leader McConnell, Speaker Boehner and Democratic Leader Pelosi. The President made clear that Congress has two jobs to do: pay the bills on time and pass a budget on time. Failure to fulfill those responsibilities is harmful to our economy, small businesses and middle class families across the country. The President made clear to the Republican Leadership that they must act, as the Senate has, to pass the bill that funds the government for six weeks that doesn’t include any extraneous ideological riders. The President urged the House to bring up this clean Continuing Resolution for a vote tonight to keep the government open and avoid a shutdown.

    “The President reinforced with the Republican Leaders that he will continue to oppose any politically-motivated attempts to defund or delay the Affordable Care Act, attempts which would never pass the Senate or become law. And he reiterated that he will not negotiate on the debt limit: Congress must pay the bills it has already incurred and avoid a devastating blow to our economy. The President expressed his gratitude to the Democratic Leaders for their efforts to support and pass a clean bill that funds the government at current levels, and made clear that leaders in Washington have a responsibility to do more than just avert disaster. That’s why the President will continue to work with members in both parties to pass a budget that protects the kinds of investments we need to grow the economy, create good jobs and build a better bargain for the middle class.”
  • ABC’s JOHN PARKINSON: A potential revolt by moderate Republicans fell flat this evening when the House approved a vote to move on to general debate on the GOP’s latest amendment to the continuing resolution. After Speaker Boehner and the Republican leadership announced plans to amend the bill once again, Rep. Pete King, R-N.Y., attempted to form a coalition of moderate Republicans to reject the amendment and essentially force Republicans into moving a clean CR.

    In the end, just five Republicans joined King, and the rule passed 225-204. Reps. Michele Bachmann, Paul Broun, Charles Dent, Louie Gohmert, and Steve King joined the failed effort. A vote on passage of the amendment is expected to pass around 8:30 p.m. tonight -- less than four hours before the government shuts down.
  • ABC's JEFF ZELENY on where things stand now: The House is set to vote after 8 p.m. on another amended continuing resolution. This one calls for a one-year delay in requiring people to buy health insurance as well as cutting subsidies for health care insurance for members of Congress and their staffs. If the House passes its bill, the Senate is then expected to act quickly and reject — yet again — any House budget bill that dismantles Obamacare, placing the ball back in Boehner’s court.

    Will Boehner suddenly cave by midnight? “Not likely,” a Boehner confidante and member of Congress told ABC News. “Why would he do that now?”
  • If the federal government shuts down, some 800,000 workers would be furloughed. Members of Congress, however, will continue to draw a salary. Tonight, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., is announced he will donate his salary to charity, saying that if “Harry Reid forces a government shutdown, I intend to donate my salary to charity for each day the government is shut down. Elected leaders should not be treated better than the American people, which is precisely why hardworking Americans deserve the same Obamacare exception that President Obama has already granted Members of Congress.”
  • House Speaker John Boehner's press secretary tweets this photo:

  • ABC’s JEFF ZELENY: The House has just voted -- 228-to-201 -- to send the budget resolution back to the Senate. No cracks in the GOP armor are apparent, with Rep. Peter King standing almost alone in saying it's time to end this back-and-forth. "I'm ‘no’ from here on in," King told reporters. "We have to end this."

    The Senate is poised to send the budget resolution right back to the House within the hour. No sign of anything stopping a shutdown -- at least by midnight.
  • Taking the Senate floor few minutes after the latest House vote, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said, "It's hard to believe that we're only three hours away from shutting down the government of the United States of America." For emphasis he repeated the line again: "Shutting down the government of the United States of America."

    Durbin accused Republicans of being "obsessed" with defunding Obamacare because they are "living in mortal fear" that Americans will like the new law.
  • ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ: Shortly after the House voted to send another funding bill over to the Senate, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said House Republicans have “lost their minds.”

    "They keep trying to do the same thing over and over again,” Reid said on the Senate floor. “The Senate will vote it down and the House Republicans will be in the same pickle they’re in now, but even with less time before the government shuts down."
  • Not long ago, ABC's JEFF ZELENY took this shot of a list of Republican members of the House who voted "no" on the bill to keep the government open by delaying Obamacare. The bill passed 228-201, with most Republicans who voted “no” saying it wasn't tough enough.

    by Michael Falcone
  • A tweet from President Obama (signed "—bo"):

  • ABC’s JEFF ZELENY: That didn't take long. The Senate rejected the latest House budget resolution at 9:37 pm., one hour after the House sent it over. It was a party-line vote of 54-46.

    If this sounds familiar, it should. It's the second time this has happened today, a sign that despite a burst of activity, lawmakers are no closer to resolving their impasse. So it's back to the House -- a case of deja vu. Speaker Boehner is meeting behind closed doors with House Republican leaders. There is talk of sending another resolution back to the Senate, but time is running out tonight. For now, we're at a standstill -- and the clock is ticking.
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