Government Shutdown Standoff - Live Blogs & Updates - ABCNews

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 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: 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: 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 JONATHAN KARL: Hunker down. This government shutdown could go considerably longer than anticipated. Just a few days ago, key players in both parties assumed there would be no shutdown and even if it did happen, so the thinking went, it would only last a matter of hours or, at most, a day or two. It now appears likely the shutdown will drag on all week — and potentially beyond that. The White House is preparing for the possibility that President Obama’s planned trip next week (he is scheduled to leave Saturday) to Asia will need to be canceled. If this drags on into next week, and it easily could, the shutdown will be overshadowed by the far bigger problem: the prospect of US government default on October 17. Republicans seem to think Democrats will be forced into one big negotiation on both issues. There is no indication whatsoever that the White House will budge from its firm no-negotiation position on either one.

    Here’s how the next few days could unfold: As the White House and Congressional Democrats blame the Republicans for the shutdown, Republicans will accuse Democrats of being unreasonable for refusing to negotiate about anything. Look for the Republican-appointed “negotiators” — including GOP heavy hitters Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Budget Chairman Paul Ryan and Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp — to convene for “negotiations” across from empty chairs, demanding that Democrats at least sit down to talk. The game will play out until somebody gives in.


  • Who’s “winning” the shutdown? By one measure, Democrats are saying they are. According to a Democratic National Committee official: “In the 24 hours preceding the GOP shutdown, the DNC raised nearly $850,000 from over 30,000 donors – 6,537 of whom gave for the first time ever. That’s the best single day of fundraising we’ve had this cycle. With Republicans shutting down the government and Obamacare going live, Democratic grassroots supporters are engaged, energized and ready to fight for the causes they’re committed to.”
  • ABC’s ARLETTE SAENZ: The Senate reconvened at 9:30 this morning and was back at it again – shooting down the House’s motion to go to conference on the budget bill. The Senate voted, yet again, on party lines – 54 to 46 – to table the House’s message calling for a conference committee on the continuing resolution.

    “The government is closed because of irrationality of what’s going on on the other side of the Capitol,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said. With this latest rejection, the House is back at square one and the Senate, once again, signaled it won’t negotiate on the continuing resolution and won’t pass anything but a clean spending measure.
  • A tweet from House Speaker John Boehner's spokesman:

  • ABC’s JEFF ZELENY: The Capitol is hopelessly deadlocked. The House and Senate can keep passing the poisonous budget baton back and forth for days, but that’s not likely to change the will on either side. So what will break the logjam? Public opinion and public sentiment is the best — or perhaps the only — antidote. The shutdown has been theoretical until now. But as soon as lawmakers start hearing voices from back home and real examples of hardship start dominating local news coverage and dinner table conversations, there is likely to be movement. The late-night House GOP idea of trying to send this to a conference committee took the Senate by surprise. But even though it was clever, it doesn’t change a thing. Why would we presume that a small group of lawmakers could settle what the rest of Congress cannot?
  • What do Americans think of the government shutdown? A Quinnipiac University poll out this morning shows that American voters, by an overwhelming 72 percent to 22 percent margin, oppose Congress shutting down the federal government to block implementation of Obamacare. And more than half of all voters in the survey (55 percent) mainly blame Republicans for gridlock gripping Washington. “President Barack Obama enters this standoff over the budget with an edge over Congressional Republicans in the voters’ eyes,” according to Quinnipiac pollster Peter A. Brown.
  • ABC’s ARLETTE SAENZ: On the Senate floor Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the government shutdown amounts to a “good day for the anarchists.” Why? Because the government is closed,” Reid said. “Speaker Boehner and his band of Tea Party radicals have done the unthinkable. They’ve shut down the federal government.”

    “It’s too late to avert the worst effects of the shutdown, but it’s not too late to send the federal employees back to work,” he said, calling on the House to vote on a clean spending bill. But Senate Republicans were quick to blame the Democrats for the closing of government. “Democratic leaders in Congress finally have their prize – a government shutdown that no one seems to want but them,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said.
  • ABC’s ALEX LAZAR has been talking to experts -- of various political stripes -- about the affects of a shutdown. Here are two perspectives:

    Scott Lilly, Senior Fellow at the liberal Center for American Progress and longtime staffer on House Appropriations Committee, Joint Economic Committee, and Chief of Staff to David Obey: “The cost to the taxpayer of the 1995 shutdown was initially placed at over a billion dollars. Later analysis has shown it may have been much higher. But it is likely that the cost of such events to the U.S. economy and our well-being as a people is much greater. It is a signal of monumental national incompetence and of the growing power of extremist factions within our society that cannot resolve differences in a civilized and orderly manner. Such signals materially weaken our society here at home and the perception of us by others. It cannot help but weaken the resolve of those considering investments in new American based enterprises. It dampens the willingness of consumers to make the purchases we need for economic growth. It makes tax payers believe that their hard earned dollars will not be well used and weakens our capacity to use government to solve the problems that only government can solve. It is a big deal and a very bad deal.”

    Dr. June O’Neill, CBO Director from 1995-1999, now at Baruch College and the conservative American Enterprise Institute: “As I recall, the actual shutdown was not actually as important as its current press would suggest. Around the agencies people joked about who was ‘essential’ and could not be furloughed. The biggest complaints from the public as I recall concerned the closing of the passport office for a few days. An unusually huge snowstorm held up DC during or after the second shutdown (they had little snow removal equipment at that time) and really made it difficult for the government to function, adding to the bad press for the shutdown. Also, the period coincided with Christmas holiday when many take vacations. Usually the only ones in town are those working on the budget or writing final reports. I think that those who were furloughed were eventually reimbursed.”
  • ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ: As Capitol Hill was absorbed with a government shutdown Tuesday, congressional Democrats took a moment to cheer for the Affordable Care Act. Joined by labor leaders, medical professionals, and uninsured Americans, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and congressional Democrats lauded the start of enrollment in healthcare exchanges.

    “After decades of dreaming of fighting for the dream of healthcare reform, we have added a third pillar of security – the Affordable Care Act -- to make healthcare a right for all, not just a privilege for the few,” Pelosi said in news conference Tuesday. But Reid and Pelosi said that despite the start of the program, Republicans were determined to derail its success and willing to compromise the state of the government in the process.

    “Since the day this was signed into law, Republicans have been obsessed with doing something to stop this. We found that last night when they shut down the government trying to kill injure hurt or destroy Obamacare,” Reid said. “We will work together and reach out and try to get government open again and work for the American people,” Pelosi said. “While it was sad that they shuttered the doors of America’s government, they cannot diminish our enthusiasm for the history we are making today.”
  • ABC’s KAREN TRAVERS: Republican Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., told ABC News there is enough Republican support to pass a clean continuing resolution with House Democrats -- it's a matter of whether it can get to the House Floor for a vote. "Right now if it's put out there, we certainly have enough to pass it, that's for sure," he said.

    King said some Republicans from the Northeast have been saying enough was enough "quietly for the past four or five days" -- and they're now starting to say it more openly. "There's no doubt a large number of Republicans want this to end but the question is when are they going to go public and say it," King said.

    As for House Speaker John Boehner putting a clean CR on the House Floor, King was uncertain. "I would think the Speaker probably wants to wait until the Tea Party people come to him and say that's enough," he said.


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