The federal government has shut down. Here's the latest as updated through the day. By National Journal Staff
Washington is a little quieter this morning. Thousands of federal workers were furloughed; dozens of facilities across the District were closed; barricades blocking monuments on the Mall. It's the first government shutdown since 1996.
The House and Senate traded legislation back and forth until the midnight deadline on Monday, failing to pass a continuing resolution Republicans and Democrats could agree on—House Republicans pushed a bill that would delay the implementation of certain aspects of the Affordable Care Act, as Senate Democrats demanded a clean CR with no amendments.
Early Tuesday morning, House GOP leaders pushed for a conference committee to negotiate the final language for the CR—a proposal that later passed the House. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he opposed the proposal, saying he would not accept anything involving Obamacare or other conservative agenda items.
We'll be updating this all day. For minute-by-minute updates, see below.
Contributions from Stacy Kaper, Dustin Volz, Elahe Izadi, Matt Berman, Alex Seitz-Wald, Patrick Reis.
UPDATE: 8:06 p.m.: Top Conservatives, Certain of Shifting Momentum, Dismiss Calls for Clean CR
A growing number of House Republicans – 12, according to The Washington Post – are calling on Speaker John Boehner and his leadership team to pass a "clean" short-term CR that would reopen the federal government while the two parties hash out their budgetary differences.
But that's not going to happen, conservative lawmakers insist.
"The speaker is not bringing up a clean CR. He has made that clear," Rep. Steve Scalise, chairman of the Republican Study Committee, said Tuesday afternoon.
Senior GOP aides were emphatic on Monday that House leadership will not cave to Democratic pressure to pass a bill that funds Obamacare. But with similar pressure slowly ratcheting up within the Republican ranks on Tuesday, questions arose as to whether Boehner would eventually give in and propose a clean CR. The answer, according to conservatives: Don't count on it.
"Zero percent chance," said Rep. Rob Woodall, chairman of the RSC's Budget and Spending Task Force.
"I just don't think that's where we want to go," Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said of the GOP conference.
The reason many Republicans still oppose passing a clean CR – at least for now – is simple: They think it would let Democrats off the hook.
Senior GOP aides are convinced that House Democrats, having voted Tuesday night to defeat three individual funding bills, will now be forced to "own" the shutdown after refusing to fund various agencies and programs. To advance this narrative, GOP leadership plans to continue pushing individual funding bills this week, and are confident that eventually House Democrats will feel sufficient public pressure to relent and vote in favor of some individual funding measures.
Until that happens – or until their strategy is proven flawed – most Republicans think momentum resides on their side of the aisle. In their view, then, caving to pressure and passing a clean CR would serve only to undercut this position of strength they have finally established. (By Tim Alberta)
UPDATE: 8:02 p.m.: Third and Final Short-Term Measure Fails in House
The House Republican strategy to break up three popular elements of the federal budget did not work as the third and final piecemeal measure to fund the National Parks Service failed to reach the needed two-third majority votes. It was defeated by a 252 to 176 margin . (By Matt Vasilogambros)
UPDATE: 7:56 p.m.: House Does Not Pass D.C. Funding Bill
The second funding bill, which would have freed up immediate money for the local District of Columbia government, also failed to get the two-thirds votes need. It failed by a 265 to 163 margin . In this vote, 34 Democrats joined House Republicans in the vote. (By Matt Vasilogambros)
UPDATE: 7:45 p.m.: House Fails to Pass Veterans Measure
House Republican leaders failed to reach the two-thirds votes needed to pass a measure that would approve funding for veterans' benefits by a 264 to 164 measure . Thirty-three Democrats (Ron Barber, Ariz., John Barrow, Ga., Ami Bera, Calif., Tim Bishop, N.Y., Bruce Braley, Iowa, Cheri Bustos, Ill., Andre Carson, Ind., Jim Cooper, Tenn., Suzan DelBene, Wash., Bill Foster, Ill., Pete Gallego, Texas, Joe Garcia, Fla., Joe Heck, Nev., Bill Keating, Mass., Derek Kilmer, Wash., Dan Lipinski, Ill., David Loebsack, Iowa, Stephen Lynch, Mass., Dan Maffei, N.Y., Sean Maloney, N.Y., Jim Matheson, Utah, Mike McIntyre, N.C., Patrick Murphy, Fla., Bill Owens, N.C., Scott Peters, Calif., Gary Peters, Mich., Collin Peterson, Minn., Jared Polis, Colo., Raul Ruiz, Calif., Brad Schneider, Ill., Kurt Schrader, Ore., Kyrsten Sinema, Ariz., and John Tierney, Mass.) joined Republicans to pass the measure. (By Matt Vasilogambros)
UPDATE: 7:08 p.m.: House Bills, if Passed, Are D.O.A.
If the House passes its three bills to fund parts of the federal government, Democrats will reject any measure that makes it to the Senate, according to a Democratic aide. A clean continuing resolution is the only bill that the Senate will pass, the aide said. (By Michael Catalini)
UPDATE: 6:33 p.m. Senate Adjourned Until Wednesday
The Senate is adjourned until 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, concluding a day of Senate speeches and no votes to end the government shutdown.
But he still lays blame on the House: "The American people deserve more than their getting from the House of Representatives—the so-called people's house," Reid said at the end of the day's business.
The House is about to start voting on three bills. (By Matt Vasilogambros)
UPDATE: 6:21 p.m.: Cruz Office Remains Quiet on Charity Organization That Will Receive His Salary
Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's office in Austin said Tuesday afternoon that his Washington office has been receiving "hundreds, maybe even thousands" of phone calls. A spokesperson in Washington was unsurprised at an inquiry about to which charity Cruz will donate his salary, as he promised Monday, for the duration of a shutdown, but did not provide an organization name. Cruz is expected to reveal the charity tonight.
Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas, will donate each day of his salary to reduce the federal debt through pay.gov , a service that accepts contributions from anyone with an Internet connection. A spokesperson for Flores said the lawmaker will make a contribution at the end of the shutdown, or at the end of the month, whichever comes first. This isn't the first time the congressman has given some of his pay to the deficit. In April, he gave the U.S. treasury $8,700, which is 5 percent of the standard $174,000 annual salary for members of Congress. (By Marina Koren)
UPDATE: 6:15 p.m. Time Update on House Voting
As things stand now, the House will vote approximately between 6:45 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. This will be their only vote series of the day. (By Elahe Izadi)
UPDATE: 6:05 p.m.: Norton Defends D.C. Stand-Alone Bill
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., passionately defended a House bill that would allow the District of Columbia to continue spending its own money—one of the three piecemeal the House will vote on Tuesday night.
"I'm asking, keep the District open," Norton said. "Don't dare compare us to your appropriations. I understand the resentment on my side to what is being done here. But carry out your resentment without putting us in the position of a thing."
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., defended her speech, saying the bill doesn't involve federal taxpayer money, but income D.C. generates itself. The White House has threatened to veto this bill, however. (By Matt Vasilogambros)
UPDATE: 5:54 p.m.: House Republican Vents About GOP Strategy
Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said Monday afternoon that Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz's all-or-nothing strategy has backed the House into a corner with no solution in sight. The congressman had called his Republican colleagues "lemmings with suicide vests" the day before. This afternoon, he's still frustrated. See what he told National Journal 's Stacy Kaper here . (Stacy Kaper)
UPDATE: 5:45 p.m.: White House Issues Veto Threat on House Bills
The White House issued a veto-threat against the three piecemeal bills being debated before the House currently. In part, spokeswoman Amy Brundage says:
"These piecemeal efforts are not serious, and they are no way to run a government. If House Republicans are legitimately concerned about the impacts of a shut down - which extend across government from our small businesses to women, children and seniors - they should do their job and pass a clean CR to reopen the government."
Michael Steel, a spokesman for Speaker John Boehner, said the veto threat "is unsustainably hypocritical." (By Billy House)
UPDATE: 5:35 p.m.: House Democrats Encouraged to Vote 'No' on Piecemeal Bills Tonight
Democratic caucus members are being encouraged to vote "no" in a series of votes set for early Tuesday evening on three Republican bills to restart popular portions of government, according to a Democratic caucus leader.
The three bills are dubbed the "Honoring our Promise to America's Veterans Act," the "Open Our Nation Parks and Museums Act," and the "Provide Local Funding for the District of Columbia Act." But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has already rejected this offer of piecemeal budgeting.
It remains to be seen, however, if Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., can keep their troops in line in the House, in opposition to the move.
"Re-open the entire government -- stop this charade!" said Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., on the House floor in the debate that has been leading up to the votes, expected before 6:30 p.m.
But a sample of what Democrats who vote against the measures might be in for was provided on the floor by Appropriations Chair Hal Rogers, R-Ky., when at one point he told Rep. James Moran, D-Va. -- in reference to the parks bill -- he could not believe he would be opposed "opening these icons for Americans to visit."
But DeLauro pointed out in her remarks that, under this piecemeal approach, funding for a universe of programs outside of veterans needs, parks and DC is not addressed, including food banks, aide to small businesses, health programs, and programs directed at other childrens' needs.
The Republican majority in the House still plan to act on these bills through so-called "suspension votes," a process that normally is equated with non-controversial measures, and requires a two-thirds majority for passage.
In other words, in a House chamber with 433 current members – even full support by the 233 House Republicans won't be enough. A big chunk of some of the 200 House Democrats will be needed to provide their votes for passage, or the measures will fail.
But one Democratic leader, speaking on background, suggested there should not be so much worry over that. "Bottom line: government still is shut down." (By Billy House)
UPDATE: 4:28 p.m.: Reid Calls House Gambit "Just Another Whacky Idea"
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid came to the floor a little before 4:30 p.m. to knock down the latest House Republican plan to fund parts of the government. It's "just another whacky idea" from tea party Republicans, Reid said. "We support the federal government," he said. "That's our job. That's what we do."
Calling tea party Republicans "rabble-rousers," the Nevada Democrat said that "we won't be forced to choose" between what parts of the government to bring back from shutdown. It's "not a serious plan," Reid said.
Reid suggested that the latest House gambit is just another way of trying to get rid of Obamacare. It's just Republicans trying to "nitpick these little things" until the Affordable Care Act is dead. "It won't work." (By Matt Berman)
UPDATE: 4:12: House Votes Tonight
House Republican leaders announced their plans to begin floor action at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday on three bills to keep restart funding for three popular areas of government.
The votes are to occur before 6:15 p.m.
The three bills are dubbed the "Honoring our Promise to America's Veterans Act," the "Open Our Nation Parks and Museums Act," and the "Provide Local Funding for the District of Columbia Act." (By Billy House)
UPDATE: 3:20: Could You go to Jail in a Government Shutdown?
A shutdown can make a criminal out of the most surprising people. Take Jonathan Prince. Just your typical law-abiding presidential speechwriter for President Bill Clinton, until.... Let's let his Tweet sum it up: "@jonathanmprince: 95: Presidential speechwriters weren't "essential" so I had to hide in the WH while writing BC's first post #shutdown speech."
According to a decades-old law called the Anti-Deficiency Act, Prince had broken the law, and could be punished with fines and prison time (and not to mention he could have been fired). No matter, Clinton was scheduled to speak at the Democratic Leadership Council the next day, and he hoped to use that moment to give a big rallying speech about the shutdown. Prince would have to risk it.
"Was I worried?" Prince said when reached by phone. "Not Really. What are they going to do? Send me to jail because I was working on a president's speech?"
When told that technically that was a possibility, he said: "Well, hopefully the statue of limitations has passed on that one." (By Ben Terris)
UPDATE: 3:08 p.m. More Shutdown Gamesmanship?
House Republicans have a new plan to try and embarrass congressional Democrats, and it could see action as soon as this evening.
House Republicans expect to bring three separate funding bills to a vote that would reopen a few government agencies and operations. The vote would go through a procedural path that would require significant House Democratic support for passage. And then, if Democrats object and don't support the measures, Republicans hope blame for their failure would fall on Democrats.
The three bills, according to Republicans leaving a closed-door session, would fund the D.C. government, veterans' affairs programs, and national parks. But that list is not necessarily finalized.
The twist is that Republicans will put these bills' passages at risk for the sake of potential political points.
That's because, according to members, these items will be acted on through so-called "suspension votes," a process that normally is equated with non-controversial measures, which limits debate and requires a two-thirds majority for passage.
In other words, in a House chamber with 433 current members – even full support by the 233 members of the House Republican conference won't be enough. A big chunk of some of the 200 House Democrats will be needed for passage.
That means that even before we learn for sure if Senate Democrats would support this piecemeal plan—and early indications suggest they may not—Republicans will first have to deal with House Democrats.
But White House press secretary Jay Carney said the proposal "shows the utter lack of seriousness that we're seeing from Republicans."
"If they want to open the government, they should open the government, and then we can negotiate about how we fund our budget priorities in the future," said Carney during a briefing with reporters. (By Billy House)
UPDATE: 3:03 p.m.: Republican Freshman: GOP Losing This Fight
Elected in the freshman wave of 2010, Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., is admitting that this fight just isn't breaking the GOP's way. When asked if he thought Obamacare would be implemented despite their efforts he said: "Ultimately that's going to happen, in my opinion. We have voted 41 times to defund it or get rid of it. If my people back home say: Oh my gosh you voted to fund Obamacare, so be it. We've lost this battle. We need to move on to the next one."
Hours later, his press person called to make it clear that he "wasn't trying to be defeatist." (By Ben Terris)
UPDATE: 2:39 p.m.: How the White House is Using Social Media Today
How do you get political points during a government shutdown? One way might be to limit your Instagram posts.
That's the strategy that the White House is attempting on Tuesday. In its single post of the day, it shows a dire message :
But while the Instagram feed is stagnant, aimed at riling up a younger audience, the White House's Twitter and Flickr accounts remain active, including this photo of the president meeting with his senior staff this morning:
UPDATE: 1:46 p.m.: Pass in Bits and Pieces?
Some Republicans in the House are talking about funding the government in parts. According to a Republican aide, a clean continuing resolution would be passed in pieces, at sequester levels, through Dec. 15. This would not be a normal appropriations bill.
It would "reopen certain aspects of the government important to people and show they're trying to work toward solutions," the aide said, "while at the same time giving time to come to a larger deal to reopen the entire federal government."
However, after his repeated rejections of anything but a complete clean CR, it is unclear that Reid would go for this proposal. (By Elahe Izadi)
UPDATE: 1:38 p.m.: On the Shutdown, Democrats Still Thinks Tea Party Republicans Lose Politically
Senate Democrats are swatting away the suggestion that they too could absorb some of the blame for the partial government shutdown.
Asked who he thinks would be blamed and whether Democrats could too face criticism, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., said it would be the tea party Republicans.
Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., did not answer directly when asked if his constituents could put pressure him to negotiate with the House, but cast blame on the GOP.
"There's no question of compromise on we ought to be keeping the government open," he said. "This will hurt the Republican Party because it is a small group of the tea party that basically don't like government." (By Michael Catalini)
UPDATE: 1:24 p.m.: Obam a: This Is a "Republican Shutdown"
Speaking from the Rose Garden Tuesday afternoon, President Obama called the federal closure a "Republican shutdown."
"Many representatives, including an increasing number of Republicans, have made it clear that had they been allowed by Speaker [John] Boehner to take a simple up or down vote on keeping the government open with no partisan strings attached, enough votes from both parties would have kept the American people's government open and operating," Obama said. Now that it's closed, Obama continued, it's up to House Republicans to fix it.
Until then, the 15 percent of Americans who are uninsured can start enrolling at the health insurance marketplace, he said. For some, the federal website, healthcare.gov , slowed or returned error messages for users trying to apply. Obama said such glitches are to be expected, saying that more than 1 million visitors to the site this morning created delay in the signup process. He likened the infant website to iOs7, Apple's latest software update, which received complaints from some users about the new design.
"I don't remember anybody suggesting that Apple stop selling iPhones or iPods or that they shut down the government if they didn't," Obama said. "That's not how we do things in America." (By Marina Koren)
UPDATE: 1:06 p.m.: Republicans Show Up to Conference Meeting They Knew Democrats Wouldn't Attend
Does House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., feel any personal embarrassment over the government shutdown?
Cantor isn't answering that question.
But the House's No. 2 Republican and a group of GOP colleagues, including Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., were made available on Tuesday, kind of, as they posed sitting around one side of a long table, jackets off.
It was as if these House Republicans were standing at the alter, ready to start a two-chamber conference to hammer out an agreement on a stop-gap budget plan. But sadly for this group of would-be negotiators, they were left waiting for a Senate Democrat negotiating team that would never come.
Of course, no one was really waiting for anyone. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and his Democratic colleagues have already rejected such a conference. They insist a more simple solution to the standoff would be Cantor and his House Republican colleagues to pass a short-term spending bill without any anti-Obamacare language, which they've refused to do.
As a result, the expected photo opportunity: Cantor and his would-be conferees sitting on one side of a table, the other side empty. Along with Ryan, the included, among others, Dave Camp, R-Mich., chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, Hal Rogers, R-Ky., chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, and Rep Tom Graves, R-Ga., author of a legislation to delay or defund the president's health care plan.
The group did take a few questions. And Cantor at one point raised the news that veterans had entered the World War II Memorial site, despite barriers. "Because they should as Americans, as veterans, people who've served this country, have the ability to enjoy that site," he said.
But as reporters and photographers were suddenly ushered out of the room, Cantor remained tight-lipped to a question over whether he feels any personal embarrassment.
Ryan was asked during the same appearance Tuesday with Cantor about why House Republicans want to go to conference with Senate Democrats now on a short-term spending bill, when for months the House GOP has been refusing to go into a similar process over a year-long budget?
Ryan said he and Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray, D-Wash., have been talking. But the upshot, he said, is that it has been premature to do so, and that if we went prematurely, that would decrease the likelihood we'd get to a budget agreement." He said the discussions over a debt limit increase could provide a needed "forcing mechanism" to "bring the two parties together. (By Billy House)
UPDATE: 12:40 p.m.: On the Scene at the World War II Memorial
Dozens of veterans and their family members walked around the World War II memorial on Tuesday morning after they knocked down fences put in place for government shutdown. Accompanying them: Reps. Steve King, R-Iowa, Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and Louie Gohmert, R-Texas.
Bachmann said that Gohmert cut the tape to let the veterans through the barriers. The veterans were never told to leave by police or park rangers.
The lawmakers took photos with the veterans (King pictured above) until the group got back on the bus.
"We'll do everything we can," King told one veteran.
Another veteran sarcastically shot back, "That all I need is a politician."
National Parks Service spokeswoman Carol Johnson said they are awaiting guidance on what to do with possible future groups of veterans. For her part, Johnson was supposed to be furloughed, but was called in for this event. She said she is not being paid, however.
A Vietnam veteran told National Journal that he was happy to get to go to the WWII Memorial, but will be disappointed if he can't visit the Vietnam Memorial. He said he had two friends on the wall and will come back next year.
U.S. Park Police have closed the memorial back off. (By Matt Berman and Elahe Izadi)
UPDATE: 12:16 p.m.: Who Burned Boehner?
It's disaster for Boehner this morning: though the speaker spent Monday night railing against federal contributions to the health plans of Congress' members and staffers, the speaker's office has been working quietly with Reid's camp to protect those very same subsidies, according to a report from Politico .
If true, it's a painful revelation for Boehner, as it creates—at the very least—the appearance of hypocrisy and plays into an accusation that has dogged the speaker throughout his tenure: that he's a Washington insider who's posing as a Tea Party firebrand, but he's not truly with him.
Boehner's camp is insisting the speaker's behind-the-scenes work in no way contradicts his public statements, saying he was simply pushing Democrats to fix a problem they created.
The Politico report is backed by leaked emails and other documents detailing the negotiations, and that raises another big question: who decided to make these private communications public?
It's hard to imagine they came from Boehner's camp, giving the timing and the perception headache it's causing the speaker. And that leaves either a third party who somehow intercepted the documents, or—most likely, given a Roll Call report Monday about Democrats considering releasing the documents—someone across the aisle.
Whoever put out the documents, it's a shocking breach of trust, and one that's likely to have ramifications going forward. Congress' members live with a constant tension between staying safe in one own's political camp and shouldering the political risk or cross-party outreach in the hopes of getting things done. But after Boehner just got burned for playing ball, it's hard to imagine him ever sticking his neck out again. And in the current hyper-partisan environment, Boehner's story could well serve as the cautionary tale that keeps other members from doing anything other than playing it safe. (By Patrick Reis)
UPDATE: 11:54 p.m.: Barricades Don't Stop Veterans From Seeing World War II Memorial
A group of World War II veterans from Mississippi knocked over the barricades at the WWII memorial on Tuesday morning, despite it being closed due to the government shutdown, Stars and Stripes reporter Leo Shane tweeted:
Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, reportedly distracted a U.S. Park Service police officer as veterans and staffers knocked down the barricades, according to Shane . Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., is reportedly there, as well. (By Matt Vasilogambros)
UPDATE: 11:45 a.m.: House Republicans Call on Twitter For a Clean CR
Two members of the House GOP have taken to Twitter to push for a resolution to the shutdown. Here's a roundup from this morning:
I came to DC to fix gov't, not shut it down. It’s time for House to vote for a clean, short-term funding bill to bring Senate to the table— Patrick Meehan (@RepMeehan) October 1, 2013
We fought the good fight. Time for a clean CR.— Rep. Scott Rigell (@RepScottRigell) October 1, 2013
Of course, that's by no means the dominant position in the Republican party right now. That position, especially on Twitter, looks more like this:
If there was any question about who wants a govt shutdown, @SenatorReid answered it this morning when he rejected our offer to negotiate.— Tom Graves (@RepTomGraves) October 1, 2013
We've got a ways to go yet. (By Matt Berman)
UPDATE: 11:38 a.m.: DCCC Targets Republicans Over Shutdown
The campaign arm of House Democrats is cranking up the pressure on vulnerable Republicans over the government shutdown, dispatching automatic calls to voters in 63 congressional districts Tuesday with messages that urge constituents to call their representatives and demand they "stop the nonsense."
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's paid grassroots campaign targets lawmakers in competitive districts and blames the shutdown on Republican lawmakers, while noting that they're "still getting paid." "He's just not listening to our frustration. All because of his demand to take away your benefits and protect insurance company profits," one sample robocall reads. The message will then allow voters to dial 1 to be connected to their congressman's office.
With the message, Democrats are trying to both make Republican lawmakers sweat and, perhaps, to incite the "moderate insurrection" against the hard-right faction in the House that never materialized Monday night ahead of the shutdown. It's an escalation from President Obama's request that voters call their members of Congress to pressure them to avoid a shutdown. (By Alex Seitz-Wald)
UPDATE: 11:34 a.m.: Snowe Slams Tea Party Republicans
Former Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe said on Tuesday "there's no question" tea party members of the Republican Party are partly to blame for the government shutdown. "This is not the party I recognize," the moderate Republican said on CNN. Republican leadership needs to regain control of their caucus, she said. (By Dustin Volz)
UPDATE: 11:15 a.m.: The Wait and See Game
Republican strategists said Tuesday that House Republicans were still waiting for Democrats to initiate compromise.
"House Republicans will be gauging public reaction and waiting for their Democratic counterparts to begin negotiations," said GOP strategist Ron Bonjean. "They made a number of moves last night, so now it's likely going to be a wait and see game." (By Stacy Kaper)
UPDATE: 11:10 a.m.: Taliban?
If the shutdown has meant anything for Congress so far, it's super hyperbolic rhetoric. Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Fla., took to the House floor to compare tea party Republicans to the Taliban. In response, Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said that he doesn't "find that there are any American citizens who deserve that kind of rhetoric and name calling."
We assume that the name calling will just get more and more heated from here. (By Matt Berman)
UPDATE: 11:01 a.m.: Senate Republicans Search for the Next Move
The impact of the shutdown has begun to trickle down to Senate offices. For instance, Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., said that after noon his staff of about 30 would dwindle to just four – which means any constituent calls about the shutdown will likely go unanswered. "They'll get to hear my message," Chambliss said.
As the Senate voted down the latest proposal from the House, a number of Senate Republicans signaled they were giving the House Republican caucus breathing room to strategize on what their next move should be.
"They have to make that decision for themselves based on their internal politics," Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., told National Journal .
But Isakson, who was elected to Congress to replace Newt Gingrich after his resignation following the fallout from the 1995-1996 shutdown, also acknowledged where the standoff was eventually headed: "Right now, the way out is not clear except you've got a situation where you've got a very monolithic vote in the Democratic conference win the Senate, you've got a Democratic president and you've got a Republican House. Two-thirds of the power in this debate lies under rate control of the Democrats, which is going to ultimately going to decide what happens."
Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., who had received some conservative backlash last week after he criticized Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, from the Senate floor, likewise withheld advice for House Republicans. "The Speaker has a tough job, and I'll let him figure out how to get to 218 votes for something," Corker said. "I don't want to make it more complicated by saying things that could complicate that."
But Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who has been highly critical of the shutdown strategy to derail the health care law, predicted the shutdown wouldn't last "too much longer" and urged House Republicans to "accept the fact that we're not going to defund Obamacare."
"We had a presidential election that was based on that argument. We had other elections that were based on either keeping or repealing Obamacare," he said. But as for whether House Republicans were risking their majority, McCain said "Many of them come from safe districts and they ran saying they would fight to repeal Obamacare, so I respect their position." (By Elahe Izadi)
UPDATE 10:54 a.m.: House Republicans Will Hold Press Conference at Noon
House Republicans announced plans to hold a press conference with continuing resolution conferees at noon in the Speaker's conference room to discuss the state of play on the shutdown.
The group includes House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Ky., House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Reps. John Carter, R-Texas, Ander Crenshaw, R-Fla., Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., and Tom Graves, R-Ga. (By Stacy Kaper)
UPDATE: 10:20 a.m.: Senate Leadership Blame Each Other for Shutdown
In a sign that any compromise could still be quite distant, Senate party leadership traded barbs on the floor Tuesday morning, with each side pointing to the other as the cause of today's government shutdown.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., came out swinging, blaming the shutdown on Democrats for refusing to sit down and compromise.
"They've now said they won't even agree to sit down and work out our differences," McConnell said on the floor. "They won't even talk about it. They literally just voted against working out a compromise."
He added, "So we know the Democrats who shut down the government will yell and point fingers. They've already started that routine."
Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., immediately shot back: "My friend, the Republican leader, spoke as if George Orwell wrote his speech. This is 1984, where up is down, left is right, east is west," he said. "It was the House of Representatives that shut down the government."
Reid pointed out that Obamacare is going forward despite Republican opposition, and praised Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., for passing a budget and seeking to go to a conference with the House 18 times.
"Members of the House of Representative were unable to vote to keep the government running – only the Republicans," Reid added. (By Stacy Kaper and Dustin Volz)
UPDATE: 9:55 a.m.: Senate Rejects Motion to go to Conference
The Senate voted 54 to 46 to reject the House's request for conferees on its anti-Obamcare continuing resolution to fund the government Tuesday morning. The move kicks the ball back to the House, which had not announced how it plans to proceed nearly 10 hours after the government shutdown began. (By Stacy Kaper)
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