If you were hoping the impasse over the Continuing Resolution (CR) and ObamaCare would be solved over the weekend, you no doubt woke up to disappointing news this morning. Today is the seventh day of the government shutdown and it appears that the White House and Congress are no closer to a resolution.
While ObamaCare was the initial focus of House Republicans, they’ve now shifted their strategy to get a deal that would fund the federal government and raise the debt limit, which will be reached in 10 days.
The White House believes that they “are winning,” according to an anonymous source quoted in the Wall Street Journal, and that “[i]t doesn’t really matter” how long the government shutdown lasts “because what matters is the end result.” Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) had harsh words in response to that quote, telling reporters on Friday that “[t]his isn’t some damn game.”
“The American people don’t want their government shut down and neither do I,” said Boehner. “All we’re asking for is to sit down and have a discussion and to bring fairness — reopen the government and bring fairness to the American people under Obamacare. It’s as simple as that. But it all has to begin with a simple discussion.”
In the interim, however, the House has continued to pass measures to fund certain areas of the government. On Friday, the House passed a measure to fund the WIC program, which provides food vouchers to poor mothers with children under the age of 5, and passed funding for FEMA. In a rare Saturday session, the chamber unanimously passed a measure to pay furloughed federal workers, which the Senate is expected to take up at some point today.
Boehner insisted on Sunday that President Obama negotiate with the congressional Republicans. He also said that there aren’t enough votes to pass a so-called “clean CR,” despite reports that moderate Republicans are ready to break from Republican leadership and end the stalemate over government funding.
Other Shutdown News
House Republican Majority in Jeopardy: A poll paid for by MoveOn.org, a leftist organization, found that 24 seats current held by Republicans are vulnerable, largely because of the government shutdown. Given that mid-terms are usually good for the party not in control of the White House and we’re still 13 months out from the election, take this one with a big grain of salt.
House Democrats Get Tricky: If House Democrats can get 218 signatures for a clear CR, they may be able to get a vote in the chamber. They would ultimately have to relay on moderate Republicans to force the issue, which is a possibility given that a growing number of them are ready to end the stalemate.
Economic Stimulus? Government Shutdown Hits Federal Regulations: Due to the lack of federal workers on the job, regulators and bureaucrats have been unable to come up with new rules and regulations, giving businesses a reprieve from red tape.
President Divider: The National Journal noted last week that the government shutdown has highlighted one of President Obama’s biggest weaknesses, which is his inability to build relationships with leaders in Congress.
Civilian Defense Department Workers Recalled: Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, a former Republican senator, recalled some 400,000 civilian employees back to work on Saturday.