Welcome to the third day of the federal shutdown. There's been plenty of talk, but little to suggest Congress is any closer to turning the government lights back on. House Speaker John Boehner, under pressure from tea party conservatives, continue to insist on delaying parts of Obamacare; Democrats continue to refuse to consider anything but a clean continuing resolution to fund the government.
John Dickerson, Dave Weigel, Matt Yglesias, and the rest of Slate will continue to bring you in-depth analysis from Washington. But below you'll find a running list of today's smaller developments, rumors, links, and theories floating around inside the Beltway and out of it.
—A small sampling of Slate's coverage—
- Frame Game: The Incredibly Cynical Rationale for Extending the Shutdown
- The Slatest: House Republican Tries, Fails to Put Out the "Don't Know" Mess He Made
- Politics: The Myth of the Wise Men in the Room
- Gabfest Extra: The Government Shutdown
- Weigel: Ted Cruz, Supervillain; And Other Impacts of the Shutdown in Virginia
4 p.m.: Congressional (In)Action Resumes Following Shooting, via the Washington Post:
“Our hearts and our prayers are with the officers injured today,” Rep. John Culberson (R-Tex.) said from the House floor as the proceedings resumed. Then lawmakers held a moment of silence before Culberson resumed debate on a short-term spending bill to provide funding for military service members.
1:01 p.m.: Boehner Reportedly Has Taken a Default Off the Table, via the New York Times (of course he also promised their wouldn't be a shutdown):
With a budget deal still elusive and a deadline approaching on raising the debt ceiling, Speaker John A. Boehner has told colleagues that he is determined to prevent a federal default and is willing to pass a measure through a combination of Republican and Democratic votes, according to one House Republican.
The lawmaker, who spoke on the condition of not being named, said Mr. Boehner indicated he would be willing to violate the so-called Hastert rule if necessary to pass a debt limit increase. The informal rule refers to a policy of not bringing to the floor any measure that does not have a majority of Republican votes.
Other Republicans also said Thursday that they got the sense that Mr. Boehner, who held two meetings Wednesday with groups of House moderates, would do whatever was necessary to ensure that the country did not default on its debt.
12:58 p.m.: Cantor Stays on Message in Memo to House GOP (obtained by the National Review's Robert Costa):
"Our Strategy: While no one can predict with certainty how the current shutdown will be resolved, I am confident that if we keep advancing common-sense solutions [in the form of agency-specific piecemeal funding bills] to the problems created by the shutdown that Senate Democrats and President Obama will eventually agree to meaningful discussions that would allow us to ultimately resolve this impasse. The American people have elected a divided government and they expect us to work together and they will not countenance one party simply refusing to negotiate." Full memo here.
11:57 a.m.: Obama Broadens Focus to Prospect of Default, via USA Today:
President Obama broadened his focus in the budget battle Thursday, saying a government default on its debts would hurt the economy worse than the ongoing government shutdown."As reckless as a government shutdown is ... an economic shutdown that results from default would be dramatically worse," Obama said during an appearance at a construction company in Rockville, Md. ... Referring to Tea Party Republicans, Obama said the impasse on "one faction of one party in one half of one branch of government."
10:45 a.m.: Treasury Paints a Depressing Picture, via the Washington Post:
In a new report, the Treasury Department studied the economic fallout from a similar debt ceiling impasse in 2011 — when the nation came within days of defaulting on its obligations — and said that the country could see similar effects this year if lawmakers wait until the final hours to raise the debt ceiling. ... Given that the ongoing government shutdown is already harming the economy, they warned, the effects this year could be worse.
The Treasury has said the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling must be raised by Oct. 17 to avoid a potential default on the U.S. debt. The debt ceiling is now emerging as the top priority for discussions in Washington even as the government remains shut down for the third day. Republicans are planning to demand concessions to raise the debt ceiling, while the White House and Democrats say it must be increased unconditionally.
Failing to do so, Treasury warned, would have catastrophic consequences. “A default would be unprecedented and has the potential to be catastrophic: credit markets could freeze, the value of the dollar could plummet, U.S. interest rates could skyrocket, the negative spillovers could reverberate around the world, and there might be a financial crisis and recession that could echo the events of 2008 or worse,” the report said.
9:59 a.m.: A Clean CR Now Has the Numbers to Pass the House, via the Washington Post:
A growing number of Republicans in the House — 19 as of late Wednesday night — say they would support a bill to fund the government that does not require changes in the health-care law. Democratic leaders say they could combine those votes with the votes of all 200 House Democrats to pass a “clean” bill and end the crisis. But House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) is extremely unlikely to allow such a vote, because it would jeopardize his standing with the critical far-right conservative bloc of his party.
Boehner left the White House on Wednesday urging the president and Democratic lawmakers to agree to negotiate and make concessions in order to pass a funding bill.
9:42 a.m.: Dems Aren't Getting Their Hopes Up For a "Grand Bargain," via Politico:
When House Speaker John Boehner raised the idea [of a "Grand Bargain"] at a White House meeting Wednesday with Obama and congressional leaders, 'everybody laughed at him because they've heard this song and dance so many times before,' said a Democratic aide briefed on the meeting. A Republican aide disputed the account, saying Democrats harangued Boehner to appoint budget negotiators. The speaker retorted that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will not allow Senate Budget Chairman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) to hold talks with House Budget Chair Paul Ryan.
But [the idea] gaining traction among Republicans. "I want to get a budget agreement," Ryan told POLITICO ... "So yeah, we think the issues are converging - [the continuing resolution] and debt limit - and from the get-go, we wanted to get a budget agreement to grow this economy and get this debt under control, especially before the Federal Reserve starts raising interest rates. ... And that's one of the things we're fighting for in addition to relief from Obamacare - or fairness from Obamacare." ... One senior Republican leadership source said this strategy ... would be the "way out of the cul-de-sac." Boehner, who has longed for a massive budget agreement, has spoken about it with members in recent days ...
House Republicans tell me Speaker John Boehner wants to craft a “grand bargain” on fiscal issues as part of the debt-limit deliberations, and during a series of meetings on Wednesday, he urged colleagues to stick with him.
The revelation came quietly. Boehner called groups of members to his Capitol office all day, taking their temperature on the shutdown and the debt limit. It became clear, members say, that Boehner’s chief goal is conference unity as the debt limit nears, and he’s looking at potentially blending a government-spending deal and debt-limit agreement into a larger budget package. ...
Per sources, entitlement reforms, such as chained CPI, an elimination of the medical-device tax, and delays to parts of Obamacare are all on the table as trades for delaying aspects of sequestration and extending the debt limit. ... What’s not being discussed: increased tax rates or revenues.