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Live updates: The shutdown

The U.S. government shutdown continues with no clear end in sight. House Republicans continued to demand that the nation’s new health-care law be delayed or repealed and Democrats — including President Obama — were refusing to give in. The shutdown has now sent some 710,000 to 770,000 employees home across the country, delayed the paychecks of another 1.3 million “essential” workers, and shuttered numerous government functions.

Check here for the latest updates on all the political jostling and practical impacts.

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

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What are you doing during the furlough?

From The Federal Eye’s Josh Hicks:

The government shutdown will be measured in weeks instead of days starting Tuesday, as the virtual halt in federal operations reaches its second week.

The Post wants to know how furloughed federal employees are spending their time off work. What are you doing with your spare time? What is your strategy for dealing with extended furloughs if this thing drags on for weeks or even months?

Use the form here to share your plans and coping strategies.

Vincent Bzdek
October 7, 9:20 am
  • Vincent Bzdek October 7, 9:20 am

Some donors unnerved by GOP strategy

From reporters Tom Hamburger and Matea Gold:

Veteran Republican fundraisers are increasingly alarmed by the defiant stance of hard-line conservatives amid the federal government shutdown, prompting fears that many key donors may be restrained in their giving going into the 2014 midterms.

The growing unhappiness among longtime GOP check-writers and party elders underscores the deepening divisions over the ascendant tea party wing, which fueled this past week’sshutdown and is demanding Democratic concessions in exchange for reopening the government and raising the nation’s debt limit.

Read the full report here.

Vincent Bzdek
October 7, 9:25 am
  • Vincent Bzdek October 7, 9:25 am

Good time to join the federal workforce

From PostTV’s Natalie Jennings:

Here’s some counter-programming to pessimism about working for the government: Not only is it a good time to join the federal workforce, but millennials are particularly well-suited for public service careers.

That’s according to Govloop’s Andrew Krzmarzick. He and Government Executive reporter Kellie Lunney joined PostTV’s On Background on Friday to talk about the long-term damage the recent budget cuts and furloughs will wreak on the federal workforce.

But Krzmarzick says there are reasons for optimism: Federal workers are retiring in droves, and that trend is expected to continue. And, he said, federal government needs tech-savvy innovators who can make it more effective and efficient.

Watch the full report here.

Vincent Bzdek
October 7, 9:29 am
  • Vincent Bzdek October 7, 9:29 am

Parks visitors spend $35 million daily in October

From GovBeat’s Niraj Chokshi:

On a typical October day, visitors to California’s national parks spend nearly $4 million in that state, an analysis of official data shows.

Nationally, more than $35 million is spent each October day at the nation’s more than 300 national park sites. The analysis, conducted by the nonprofit National Parks Conservation Association, shows how much some local economies rely on national parks, many of them closed due to the federal government shutdown.

The analysis draws from two official sources data: spending data were pulled from an official February report on 2011 local spending; and visitor estimates were created by averaging 2011 and 2012 October data, typically available on the National Parks Web site, which is partially out of operation due to the shutdown.

Read the full report. 

Vincent Bzdek
October 7, 9:40 am
  • Vincent Bzdek October 7, 9:40 am

'Clean' CR now has majority support in House

That’s according to our latest estimate.

Over the weekend, 195 of the 200 House Democrats signed a letter pressing House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to allow a vote on the so-called “clean” continuing resolution passed by the Senate.

Combine that 195 with the 22 House Republicans who have expressed support for the clean CR, and you get 217 — which is a bare majority of the 432 current members of the House.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) as recently as Sunday dismissed the idea that a majority of House members support a clean CR.

Expect Democrats to use this fact in the coming days as they note Boehner could likely end the shutdown at any given moment by allowing such a vote.

At the same time, Boehner would be putting his speakership at risk by allowing a vote on a bill with very limited GOP support.

Here’s out latest whip count:

Aaron Blake
October 7, 9:53 am
  • Aaron Blake October 7, 9:53 am

Aide: Obama open to short-term debt ceiling increase

President Obama would accept a short-term increase in the debt ceiling, a senior White House official said Monday, suggesting that it may not be possible to reach agreement on a long-term increase in the federal borrowing cap before a critical Oct. 17 deadline.

The director of the National Economic Council, Gene Sperling, said Congress ultimately has the responsibility to decide how often they want to raise the debt ceiling, though he said it would be better to hike it for an extended  period of time.

“I think longer is better for economic certainty and jobs but it is ultimately up to them,” Sperling said in a morning discussion hosted by Politico.

The Treasury says it has only 10 days remaining before it runs low on cash and the nation is at risk of a historic default. Some Republicans have suggested in recent days that if Congress can’t find an agreement before the Oct. 17 deadline, they might explore a measure to increase the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling for as little as six weeks.

Sperling’s comments Monday suggested that the White House would accept such a measure. The position is notable because officials had rejected a short-term debt ceiling increase in a similar impasse in the summer of 2011, when the White House insisted that the debt limit be increased to cover borrowing through 2012.

Read the full report.

Zachary Goldfarb
October 7, 9:53 am
  • Zachary Goldfarb October 7, 9:53 am

The state of the discharge petition

With a majority of the House now apparently in support of a so-called “clean” continuing resolution, the political left has suggested those who support the idea could launch a “discharge petition” — a document which forces a vote if a majority of House members sign it.

But there are a few problems with that:

1) Not all of the Republicans who support a clean CR will sign a discharge petition. In fact, Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) — one of the 22 clean CR supporters among House Republicans — said Sunday that he wouldn’t sign a petition because Democrats aren’t negotiating “in good faith.”

“There is no way in the world you’re going to get 25 Republicans to go on that, and having said that, I wouldn’t go out because they’re, as I said, not bargaining in good faith here right now,” King said on “Fox News Sunday.”

2) Even if the discharge petition could get majority support, it could take weeks before the vote could actually occur.

Democrats say they have a workaround – namely, attaching the discharge petition to an existing bill — that could force a vote as early as Oct. 14. But it remains to be seen whether it would work — especially given Republicans like King are reticent to allow Democrats to use special maneuvers.

Aaron Blake
October 7, 10:02 am
  • Aaron Blake October 7, 10:02 am

'AMBER Alert' Web site down, but system still running

The Department of Justice Web site that provides information on the AMBER alert program is off-line because of the federal government shutdown, but the program itself, which alerts communities to serious child abductions, is still up and running.

“It’s all functioning,” Patti Davis, communications director for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, said in an e-mail. “Only the DOJ Web site, which is informational, is down. The states run AMBER Alerts, and NCMEC does secondary alerts. Service has not been impacted. ”

The AMBER Alert Program, which was named for 9-year-old Amber Hagerman who was abducted while riding her bicycle in Arlington, Tex., uses radio, television, the Internet and road signs to assist law enforcement agencies in the search for abducted children.

Conservatives are criticizing the Obama administration for allowing the Web site to lapse — accusing them of shuttering an essential service to make a political point about the shutdown.

Here’s the front page of the Drudge Report, as of this posting:


Vincent Bzdek
October 7, 10:07 am
  • Vincent Bzdek October 7, 10:07 am

Stocks down sharply Monday morning

As the government shutdown approaches its second week, the stock market took a sharp fall.

After action in overseas markets fueled a 100-plus-point drop to begin the day, though, the Dow has recovered somewhat.

Shortly after 10 a.m., the Dow was still down 84 points — more than half a percentage point — to below 15,000.

The Nasdaq and S&P were also down, though slightly less than the Dow.

The markets last week offered a somewhat muted response to the shutdown, which led President Obama to suggest they should be more concerned.

The drop Monday, though, could be more about the increasingly dubious odds for a deal in the upcoming debt-limit debate — a much riskier economic proposition, given the risk of the United States defaulting on its debts.

The deadline for a deal in that debate is Oct. 17.

Aaron Blake
October 7, 10:20 am
  • Aaron Blake October 7, 10:20 am

Reid: Boehner not being honest

In a statement Monday morning, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) spokesman said House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has a “credibility problem.”

“From refusing to let the House vote on a bill that was his idea in the first place, to decrying health-care subsidies for members of Congress and staff that he worked for months to preserve, to stating that the House doesn’t have the votes to pass a clean CR at current spending levels, there is now a consistent pattern of Speaker Boehner saying things that fly in the face of the facts or stand at odds with his past actions,” Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson said.

The first part of the quote alludes to Reid’s argument that Boehner once advocated a so-called “clean” debt limit increase. Boehner said Sunday that the House will not pass a clean debt limit increase.

In response to the statement from Reid’s office, Boehner’s office said a clean debt limit increase wouldn’t pass either chamber.

“A ‘clean’ debt limit increase can’t pass the Senate, let alone the House,” Boehner spokesman Michael Steel. “It’s time for some Washington Democrat to step up, act like an adult, and start talking about how we reopen the government, provide fairness for the American people under ObamaCare, and deal with the drivers of our debt and deficits.”

Aaron Blake
October 7, 10:27 am
  • Aaron Blake October 7, 10:27 am
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