October 15th, 2013
09:15 PM ET
6 months ago

Shutdown lowdown day 15: What you need to know

(CNN) – A dramatic day began in the Senate and ended there following a series of excruciating twists and turns in the House.

Speaker John Boehner failed to round up enough support to pass a leadership plan to end the shutdown and avert a possible debt default, so it was never put to a vote.

Emboldened conservatives want more substance, and Boehner instead kicked it all to the Senate, which had suspended its own talks on a compromise to first see if anything would pass the House.

President Barack Obama said Boehner can’t control his caucus while the President had House Democrats over to the White House where Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said her conference was buttoned up tight in opposition to the Republican plan.

As night fell and the House initiative fell apart, Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell resumed talks on their effort that supporters hope will garner enough bipartisan backing to ultimately pass and pressure reciprocal action in the House – with Democrats and a strong enough helping of Republicans going along.

But things must happen quickly and there’s new and serious pressure bearing down on the Capitol. The Obama administration says it runs out of borrowing authority on Thursday and Wall Street is now pretty spooked. Stocks snapped a win streak and a major bond rating house, Fitch, is talking downgrade of the gold-plated U.S. credit rating unless Congress acts immediately.

Here’s what you need to know:

Up to speed

Boehner pulled the bill and the Senate went home – although talks continued at the staff level.

Key components of the ill-fated House bill, according to multiple sources:

-Fund the government through December 15
-Increase the debt ceiling until February 7
-Prohibit federal health care subsidies for members of Congress, their staff, the President, Vice President and administration officials and staff.
-Prohibit the Treasury Department to implement “extraordinary measures” to extend the debt ceiling deadline.

Republicans dropped demands to include two other provisions related to Obamacare. One would have delayed a tax on medical devices and the other would have tightened income verification of those seeking subsidies to purchase health insurance.

The main components of the Senate plan, which House Republicans have panned.

-Fund the government until January 15
-Extend the debt limit until February 7
-Set up a committee to address budget and entitlement issues by December 15
-Create income verification for health care subsidies

But a hand shake between the two Senate leaders is a major, but only one, step in the process.

What’s next? Deal is just the start

Watch out in the Senate. Any agreement must still clear its procedural hurdles where tea party darling, Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, might still have something to say. Boehner has to sign off and pass it through the raucous House. Then, of course, Obama, who meets with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Wednesday, has to sign off. A whole host of things – filibusters and amendments – could slow it down, bringing Congress’ action awfully close to Thursday’s debt limit deadline.

Deal decoded

CNN’s John King laid out on CNN’s ‘New Day’ the enticements for Republicans and Democrats to sign on.

For the Democrats: “They get the government reopened pretty quickly and the debt ceiling extended for a couple moths. The House Republicans… believe there are very few concessions.”

For the Republicans: “[Y]ou can reopen the government, extend the debt ceiling and put this story behind you. You hope they can make up for the political damage already.”

But King said the right wing of the Republican Party, including Redstate.com, is already advising Republicans to “reject this deal.”

Debt Refresher

Debt default fears haven’t gone away yet

If the debt ceiling is hit, the government can’t pay about one-third of the billions of dollars worth of bills it has each day. The major things at risk of being paid out include Social Security, Medicaid and interest payments on the debt.

By the numbers

$20 billion: The amount economist Mark Zandi said the government shutdown and debt ceiling fears have cost the American economy.

1,000: Number of consumer safety inspections by the Consumer Product Safety Commission that have been halted.

74: The percent of respondents who blame the Republican Party for the government crisis, according to a fresh poll from ABC News and the Washington Post.

61: The percent of respondents who disapprove of Congressional Democrats

53: The percent who disapprove of the President.

3.8 million: The number of veterans who might not get their benefits on November 1 if Congress doesn’t resolve the stalemate soon.

Wall Street: The Dow closed down 133 points.

World chastises U.S. as debt ceiling looms

Citizens stepping up

Along with the threat of losing benefits, the government shutdown has also exasperated a long-standing problem The Veterans Affairs Departments disability claims backlog has gone up, with 435,000 vets now have longer wait times as applications are slowed because the agency has had to stop paying overtime to processors working through the applications.

A coalition of 33 veterans groups holds a rally in Washington today to protest the shutdown.

In Hawaii, two weeks of the shutdown has left the Arizona Memorial grounds unkempt. Members of the military spent Monday cleaning and grooming it, KOHN reports.

Decay

The shutdown is having a deleterious effect on Michelle Obama’s Veggie Garden, according to the Obama Foodorama blog.

Outrage(s) of the Day

Senator Barbara Boxer, D-California, on the Senate floor “I have to say, when you start acting like you’re committing domestic abuse, you’ve got a problem. ‘I love you dear, but you know, I’m shutting down your entire government. I love you dear, but I’m going to default and you’re going to be weak.’ Something is dreadfully wrong.”

Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch at weekend tea party rally: "I call upon all of you to wage a second American nonviolent revolution, to use civil disobedience, and to demand that this president leave town, to get up, to put the Quran down, to get up off his knees, and to figuratively come out with his hands up.”


Filed under: Congress • Debt • Government Shutdown
soundoff (102 Responses)
  1. Malory Archer

    Veritas

    Recent polling shows that even when Republicans act like total idiots...and they have sure done that during this shutdown nonsense...Americans STILL trust them more than Democrats to run our government. Ouch, that has got to hurt...if you are a Democrat.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    You're right – it IS painful that people are so ignorant that they keep condemning us to having rethug leaders in America, and it's unfortunate that we ALL suffer due to their ignorance.

    October 15, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  2. Stevo

    I'm betting that the 24 Republicans whose House seats are now in play will sign on to the Democratic letter to Boehner requesting a vote on a bill that the Senate can accept. However, it wont do them a bit of good. Can you say "Speaker Pelosi"?

    October 15, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
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