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Negotiations to end the U.S. government shutdown were moving in fits and starts as the political debate pivots to the debt ceiling limit and whether or not the government will run out of money to pay its bills by Oct. 17.

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Government shutdown: What’s open, what’s closed

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The shutdown showdown — in 2 word clouds

Chris Cillizza writes on The Fix:

What’s the one word (or handful of words) that you would use to describe how Republicans have handled themselves during the showdown shutdown? What about President Obama?

The pollsters for the NBC-Wall Street Journal did just that.  The responses are illuminating.

To see the word clouds and read the full post, click here.

Masuma Ahuja
October 12, 9:18 am
  • Masuma Ahuja October 12, 9:18 am

Sen. Susan Collins of Maine suggests way out of budget and debt-ceiling crises

Melina Mara/The Washington Post -  Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) arrives at the U.S. Capitol after a meeting with President Obama at the White House on Friday.

Melina Mara/The Washington Post – Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) arrives at the U.S. Capitol after a meeting with President Obama at the White House on Friday.

Jackie Kucinich reports:

The senior senator from Maine is a regular on the list of Republican lawmakers invited to the Obama White House when compromise is in the offing on a wide range of issues, from economic stimulus to gun control.

Friday was no different. Collins’s most recent foray into legislative diplomacy is a 23-page proposal that would end the government shutdown, extend government funding for six months with ­sequester-level spending cuts, repeal a tax on medical devices and raise the debt ceiling until the end of January.

Read the full story here.

Masuma Ahuja
October 12, 9:22 am
  • Masuma Ahuja October 12, 9:22 am

Some national parks reopen today

Utah, Canyonlands National Park. (Photo by Education Images/UIG via Getty Images)

Utah, Canyonlands National Park. (Photo by Education Images/UIG via Getty Images)

Juliet Eilperin and Lenny Bernstein report that the Department of Interior has allowed a few iconic national parks to reopen with state funding:

On Saturday, the barricades at Utah’s Natural Bridges National Monument will disappear, allowing visitors to return to the tourist draw despite the government shutdown. They will also come down at Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park, Arizona’s Grand Canyon and New York’s Statue of Liberty.

What began as a sort of modern Sagebrush Rebellion — with Utah county commissioners threatening to bring in a posse and dismantle federal barricades themselves — has become an intense negotiation between Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and governors across the country, who are eager to reopen public lands that generate valuable tourism revenue.

Read the full story here.

Masuma Ahuja
October 12, 9:38 am
  • Masuma Ahuja October 12, 9:38 am

Steve King: 'I'm gonna play it cool for a little bit'

On his way into his party’s conference meeting Saturday, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) restrained himself from criticizing a Senate proposal that would end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling.

“I’m gonna play it cool for a little bit,” King told a reporter when asked what he thought of the Senate proposal.

House Republicans are meeting now and are expected to be briefed on what exactly the Senate has cooked up.

Jeff Simon
October 12, 9:46 am
  • Jeff Simon October 12, 9:46 am

'All eyes are now on the Senate'

Admitting it’s not optimal, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), said Saturday that “all eyes are now on the Senate” this morning as the House  waits to see how the upper chamber votes on a bill to fund the government.

Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) sounded a frustrated note as he left a GOP conference meeting.  ”It’s all good. It’s now up to the Senate Republicans to stand up,”  Labrador said.

“The president rejected our deal,” the Idaho Republican added.

Jeff Simon
October 12, 9:55 am
  • Jeff Simon October 12, 9:55 am

Blizzard, lack of Farm Bill threatens South Dakota cattle ranchers

Reid Wilson writes on GovBeat:

A massive storm that dumped more than four feet of snow on parts of the Black Hills in South Dakota last week has killed tens of thousands of cattle — and thanks to a delay in reauthorizing the farm bill in Congress, ranchers have nowhere to turn for relief.

Ranchers across western South Dakota are still digging out from the blizzard, one of the earliest in memory. The fact that the storm came so early in the season meant the livestock hadn’t grown their winter coats. In many cases, officials said, the extent of their losses aren’t yet known; cattle are buried under snow drifts, and some may have wandered miles away from their normal grazing grounds.

Read the full story here.

Masuma Ahuja
October 12, 10:21 am
  • Masuma Ahuja October 12, 10:21 am

Boehner: Negotiations between House GOP and Obama have ended

House Republicans were told by Speaker John Boehner Saturday morning that negotiations between the House GOP and President Obama have ended, with Obama’s rejection Friday of the House’s latest offer.

At a closed door meeting in the basement of the Capitol, Boehner urged members to “hold firm,” several said, even as Senate Republicans work to negotiate their own proposal to end the impasse. House members expressed anxiety about the senate talks. House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said house leaders were only briefed on a proposal being circulated by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) on Saturday morning and were opposed to it. He said the reasons for opposition were too many to enumerate.

Rosalind S. Helderman
October 12, 10:27 am
  • Rosalind S. Helderman October 12, 10:27 am

Kerry reassures embassy employees they will get paid

Anne Gearan reports:

Secretary of State John F. Kerry jokingly reassured U.S. Embassy employees in Kabul that they will get paid, eventually.

“So on behalf of President Obama, the American people, thanks for putting up with the hardship of a yearlong out here,” Kerry said Saturday.

“I promise you that those of us in Washington, when the government opens up again, we’ll get you all the money in the world, get you paid.” As the crowd at a meet and greet laughed, Kerry  added, “Don’t despair!”

Masuma Ahuja
October 12, 10:49 am
  • Masuma Ahuja October 12, 10:49 am

Scott Rigell confronts Cathy McMorris Rodgers in the hall

As tensions rise in the Capitol, Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.) angrily confronted Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) in a hallway after a closed-door Republican meeting, demanding to know how GOP leaders plan to resolve the fiscal stalemate.

“If Eric Cantor and John Boehner can’t answer the questions, ‘what are we fighting for–that’s not good!”” Rigell told Rodgers, who is the fourth ranking Republican in the House.

“We’re on the same page, but we need to be able to articulate specific objectives,” he continued, his voice rising, as he jabbed his finger in the air to make the point, before an aide came over to suggest the two continue the conversation in private.

Rigell has been one of the leading Republican voices urging the GOP to pass a measure to reopen the government, even without getting significant changes to Obamacare in return.

“I’m hopeful for any rational, responsible alternative to the situation we’re in right now,” he told reporters shortly before the his huddle with Rodgers. “There’s real economic pain being experienced not only in my district but across the country. This situation we’re in is not without consequence.”

Rosalind S. Helderman
October 12, 10:54 am
  • Rosalind S. Helderman October 12, 10:54 am

Radel and Price say the WH is moving the goal posts

Jackie Kucinich reports:

Several House Republicans were defiant as they left the conference meeting Saturday morning and accused the White House of continuously changing their demands and ultimately locking them out of the process.

“Our leadership is being shut out of the White House, our leadership is being told one day by the president ‘I’m here to talk with you, I’m here to negotiate, I’m here to find solutions’ and then he stands up and says ‘there’s nothing negotiable,’” said Rep. Trey Radel (R-Fla.).

“It’s like talking to a brick wall.” Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) said, President Obama “refuses to take yes for an answer. He refuses to accept basically what was his offer initially,” Price added.  ”We’ll see, hopefully he’ll wake up this morning a little smarter and observant to what is actually been proposed.”

Masuma Ahuja
October 12, 11:04 am
  • Masuma Ahuja October 12, 11:04 am
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