How can Congress prevent a shutdown?
September 30th, 2013
01:19 PM ET
11 months ago

How can Congress prevent a shutdown?

Washington (CNN) – How do over 500 men and women sworn to uphold and defend Constitutional duties that include "the power of the purse" keep government running after 12:01 a.m. Tuesday?

It appears simple: pass an identical funding bill in both chambers of Congress. Fund the government temporarily and figure the rest out later.

That's what the Democrats want, a "clean" funding bill paying for already authorized expenditures. And it would work too. Known as a continuing resolution, the straightforward funding bill would keep everything from government licensing to state parks and the Bureau of Labor Statistics running at full capacity until that resolution expires in mid-November.

GOP Rep: Shutdown ‘the last thing we need’

The not so simple bit: Republicans don't want a "clean" continuing resolution. They want to dismantle Obamacare. Why? Because they argue the funding of the government is the only option available to stop a bill which they say is not ready for prime time, that will force people from their health insurance plans and inspire businesses not to hire but to reduce employee hours rather than provide them health insurance.

Republicans in the House of Representatives have already passed a bill their way, returning the Senate's "clean" bill with one passed early Sunday morning with a one-year Obamacare delay, a repeal of a medical device tax helping to fund the bill and a "conscience clause" that would allow employers to opt-out from providing coverage they find objectionable, namely contraceptive care for women.

Democrats have vowed to go for precisely none of these things. President Barack Obama has said he won't negotiate on government funding and the upcoming debt limit legislation at the cost of the Affordable Care Act.

Senate Democrats have the president's back
. Once the Senate convenes Monday afternoon they're expected to once again ignore the Obamacare riders in the House funding bill and use their 54-46 majority to pass a "clean" bill that funds Obamacare and everything else.

Clinton says Obama needs to call the GOP's 'bluff'

Then the bill would go back to the House of Representatives with just a few hours remaining until the midnight deadline. Then, shutdown.

House Republicans: Senate is running out the clock

What about the messy in-between? The so-called compromise in a body of government with approval ratings hovering near all time lows.

One possibility that just might work, maybe, would be for the Democrats to give their Republican colleagues just one piece of what they want that would leave Obamacare chugging along.

Democrats could leave in the medical device tax repeal. Since some congressional Democrats have voted in the past to repeal the tax from the health care law, it's potentially one of the most negotiatable points of Obamacare. But Senate Democrats say they won't negotiate on the tax, which charges a small percentage on all medical devices, from hearing aids to pacemakers, as part of the continuing resolution process.

–CNN's Dana Bash and Bryan Koenig contributed to this report.

soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Crampon

    "figure the rest out later" is what created the possible shutdown.

    September 30, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  2. barryinlasvegas

    Congress can't prevent a shutdown because Obama, Harry Reid and the Democrats want one because they think it will help them with the 2014 elections. CNN and the rest of the MSM are doing their very best to promote the shutdown and blame the Republicans.

    September 30, 2013 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    "Democrats could leave in the medical device tax repeal."

    And keep setting precedent that threatening to shut down the gov't is a legitimate, acceptable and responsible manner of running said gov't? NO. It ends here...well, until the next time the gov't needs to be funded and the GOP/Teatrolls decide to play hostage games again in order to harm the economy and hamper recovery while they don't have the WH.

    September 30, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    "How can Congress prevent a shutdown?"

    The GOP/Teatrolls in the House should allow a vote on the clean bill, that's how. This nonsense of setting precedent that gives the GOP/Teatrolls incentive to believe that taking the gov't or debt ceiling hostage is a responsible and acceptable manner of governing the country needs to stop. The Senate will have followed its procedures and voted on what the House passed, amended it and passed it as amended. The House needs to vote on what the Senate passed...but the GOP/Teatrolls won't let it come to the floor BECAUSE IT WOULD PASS. THAT is what tells you who is to blame. THAT is what tells you who is playing games. THE CLEAN BILL WOULD PASS THE HOUSE AND THE GOP/TEATROLLS WILL NOT ALLOW IT TO BE VOTED UPON.

    September 30, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    ""Democrats could leave in the medical device tax repeal.""

    They're already leaving in the sequestration level spending...something the GOP/Teatrolls want...without attempting to increase the funding levels. Nice try, but your "reasoning" is severely broken: the Dems already compromised with the clean bill by keeping sequestration level spending in place. Your false equivalence manufacture is unappreciated.

    September 30, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  6. Winston Smith

    Answer to the above question: They can't. The people making decisions need to be of such caliper that problems like this are not allowed to occur. The present crop of idiots are incapable of making such decisions. GREED GETS IN THE WAY, every time.

    September 30, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    For a group of politicians who ran on, and got themselves elected, on the phrase "no compromise", it is truly remarkable that they not only make the demand, but expect the other side to "compromise" by yielding and bending at the knee. How arrogant.

    September 30, 2013 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  8. ora pike

    Tip O'Neil had 12 government shut downs as the top demo in congress-why doesn't CNN talk about that???? Our constitution set it up with the house, senate, president having to WORK together to rep. the American people and obamadoesn't care is so into ego he will not "lower himself".

    September 30, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  9. aggieband

    It's time the Repugnicans stopped acting like the three-year olds their minds represent and do their job. This constant brinksmanship is no way to run the government. When are they going to learn that there is a reason they get slaughtered in every national election?

    September 30, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  10. Buck from Texas

    Shut the government down. Stop the spending.

    September 30, 2013 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    Brass tacks: Boehner can't let the clean bill get voted on without losing his Speakership until a gov't shutdown actually occurs (or, at least, the magic deadline passes), even for a very short time. After a day or so, he can then say "I'm letting the clean bill come to the floor to be voted on because this is doing too much damage to us in the polls. We let you have it your way and it's not working and it's threatening our prospects in 2014. Now we have to eat our crow and shift to the far more damaging and dangerous game of taking the debt ceiling hostage."

    September 30, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  12. Tommy G

    Who cares if the government shuts down? Not me. Then again I'm not a government dependent. Anybody affected by a government shutdown should learn a lesson from this and that is do not be dependent on any government for your existence. Do you see what happened in Greece? Well it can and will happen here if this leftist Democrat madness continues. A government shutdown is nothing compared to the collapse they are ultimately aiming at.

    What will they take over next in order to "help" you and "save" you? Probably the colleges and universities. Then large companies or banks, probably big oil companies like they did in Venezuela. Leftists know no bounds. Their desire to control and dictate knows no bounds. Their taking from your paycheck knows no bounds.

    Shut this beast down. The people that are paying for and keeping this country going won't be affected one bit.

    September 30, 2013 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  13. john.deatherage

    "figure the rest out later" is the mind set that has created these problems. The next generation of American's is going to inherit a terrible mess because we keep postponing the solutions. The best time to fix a problem was before it became a problem. The second best time is today.

    September 30, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  14. Craig in Pa.

    It's time for a million person march on the halls of Congress to remind these folks that they work for us....and nobody else . We should demand that any wage increase for public servants will be put up to a vote by the general public. .Medical insurance? plain and simple...either everyone gets on Tricare (federal plan) or everyone is put on the ACA (Obamacare). These clowns need to be given an ultimatum....shape up and do your job, or you are fired....not at the next election cycle...Now! They work for us....demand performance for your tax dollars that foot the bill for these welfare recipients...wish I could work as little as they do and get 5 week breaks at various intervals throughout the year!

    September 30, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  15. D

    What the GOP isn't telling the rest of America is how they will continue to receive their government subsidized health care benefits for life at the expense of the taxpayer whether "Obamacare" is de-funded or not. Oh wait a minute, isn't that considered an entitlement? Don't take my word for it. Google, Bing, Yahoo keywords: congressional health care costs and see for yourself.

    September 30, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  16. noe rodriguez

    i have being hearing that there is going to be a shutdown (strike or walkout) for some days or a day. well, i am pretty sure that those that are going to participate in the shutdown (strike or walkout) sign a contract that says that if the employee participates in a strike or walkout is not going to get pay for the days missing, might be suspended more likely terminated. i am pretty sure that there is a lot of people that want and can meet the requirments to work there.
    PLAN B: when the employees come back from the shutdown, they have to meet the 95% of filesper hour.
    i say this because in order to be hired in a company (job) you have to agree to these terms.

    September 30, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  17. 333maxwell

    To show how bad Obama-care is for the nation, the GOP is willing to torch the country to ash at a time of economic recovery to illustrate their point about how much Obama-care would hurt us.

    Have you seen what their insecurities are doing to the WORLD markets? If we give them another year like they want, we will all be dead and buried.

    Strategically genius, just genius (all sarcasm intend)

    September 30, 2013 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  18. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    SHUT IT DOWN!!! The whirlwind election of 2014 will be devastating to the GOP.

    R.I.P.G.O.P. 11/14

    September 30, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  19. babs

    Who cares if the government shuts down? Not me. Then again I'm not a government dependent. Anybody affected by a government shutdown should learn a lesson from this and that is do not be dependent on any government for your existence.
    So... are you talking about the military and their families? Or maybe the DR's/nurses at VA hospitals. Clueless Goper

    September 30, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  20. naugatuckian

    The Republicans controlling the House are willing tohut down the government if they can't get "Obamacare" delayed. This law provides health insurance for millions of persons like me who otherwise might not be able to get health insurance. What is so bad about that? If the law needs tinkering, as most laws do, then tinker with it, but don't stop the entire law and deny people health insurance. Since the House Republicans are willing to shut down the government, and cause great economic harm, they will be responsible for the consequences. If a man shoots someone because the victim won't give him the victim's wallet, you don't blame the victim, you blame the shooter, not the victim.

    September 30, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  21. S.B. Stein

    What I don't understand is why it takes now for the GOP to try to get its way. Why didn't they get the hint earlier when the House tried and failed about 40 times to get this repealed. How about they pick apart small bits and pieces first? To shut down the government over this is foolish.

    September 30, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  22. Thomas

    @barryinlasvegas
    Congress can't prevent a shutdown because Obama, Harry Reid and the Democrats want one because they think it will help them with the 2014 elections. CNN and the rest of the MSM are doing their very best to promote the shutdown and blame the Republicans.

    ====

    NOT TRUE !
    However , it would be nice if the GOP would try Green Eggs and Ham and see how it tastes !

    September 30, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  23. HappyCamper

    Shut it DOWN NOW!!...and hopefully thay will shut down again in mid-April...around the 15th :-)

    September 30, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  24. Rudy NYC

    Tommy G

    Who cares if the government shuts down? Not me. Then again I'm not a government dependent. Anybody affected by a government shutdown should learn a lesson from this and that is do not be dependent on any government for your existence.
    ----------------------
    Tell that to the owner of the ferry service that runs to and from Statue of Liberty Island.
    Tell that to the business owners who rely on the tourism industry in and near the major national parks: i.e. Mt. Rushmore.
    Tell that to home owner's family when the father of the house gets furloughed by NASA.
    Just don't tell any of that to whatever God that you may believe in.

    September 30, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  25. YK

    It is time for the majority of the GOP to listen to their constituents and divorce themselves from the Tea Party... bring on the three party system!

    September 30, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
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