The U.S. government shutdown continues with no clear end in sight, but the political debate has now pivoted to the debt ceiling limit and whether or not the government will run out of money to pay its bills by Oct. 17, and therefore default on its debt.
Check here for the latest updates on all the political jostling and practical impacts.
Vice President Biden has canceled plans to travel to New Jersey to campaign for Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) due the government shutdown, Booker’s campaign announced Tuesday.
The vice president had been slated to stump for the Senate front-runner on Friday.
Polls show Booker is favored to defeat Republican Steve Lonegan in the Oct. 16 special election.
From The Fix’s Chris Cillizza:
A majority of self-identified Republicans in a new Pew Research Center poll agreed with the statement that “the country can go past the deadline for raising the debt limit without major economic problems”.
What explains that level of skepticism in the face of such dire warnings?
Some of the Republican doubt about the true danger of the debt ceiling is based on the fact that, well, lots and lots of people – Republicans, Democrats and independents — don’t really know what it is or does.
From diplomatic reporter Anne Gearan:
BALI, Indonesia — President Obama got some political support from afar on Monday, when Russian President Vladimir Putin wished him well in resolving the federal government shutdown that began Sept. 30 and prompted Obama to cancel plans to travel here.
“It’s a difficult situation and I think that the fact that the president of the United States did not come is justifiable,” Putin told an audience of global business executives. “If I were him I wouldn’t have come, probably, either.”
From the Federal Eye’s Josh Hicks:
The House on Saturday unanimously passed a bill to pay all federal employees retroactively for the government-shutdown period, however long it might last.
If the Senate approves that legislation, hundreds of thousands of public servants will be compensated for time they were forced off the job during the funding lapse.
But what about the army of contractors who provide a long list of services for the government ranging from safeguarding computer networks to building military machines?
The House legislation does not authorize back pay for contractors, meaning firms must decide for themselves whether to provide compensation for personnel affected by the shutdown. Most will either pay the workers, let them take paid leave or place them on furlough, according to industry experts.
A salmonella outbreak has sickened hundreds of people in 18 states. Most monitors of food-related illness at the CDC are on furlough.
Josh Hicks reports:
Democrats and Republicans have proposed competing bills to halt pay for members of Congress in the event of future government shutdowns, apparently in an attempt to discourage future lapses in appropriations.
The full story is here on Federal Eye.
Two more House Republicans who previously suggested they would support a so-called “clean” continuing resolution have now backed off that position.
Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.), who said that he would “absolutely” back a clean CR according to the Allentown Morning Call last week, told Dave Weigel that he doesn’t support one now.
Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA), who’s included in those whip counts of “clean CR” votes, tells me he no longer supports it
— daveweigel (@daveweigel) October 8, 2013
Meanwhile, Rep. Leonard Lance (R-N.J.), whose chief of staff had told the Huffington Post that Lance “would not oppose” voting for a clean CR, does not in fact support a clean CR “at this time,” according to spokesman John Byers.
“He is opposed to a clean CR at this time and supports Speaker Boehner’s efforts to negotiate,” Byers said.
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who had previously said he supported a clean CR, also backed off that position Monday.
We are now down to 21 House Republicans who support a clean CR, according to our latest whip count. That’s still good enough to combine with all 200 Democrats who support a clean CR to form a majority.
Reps. John Barrow (D-Ga.) and Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.), who had previously been listed as “unknown,” support the clean CR, according to their offices.
When Jan C. Scruggs, creator of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, realized that the government shutdown would restrict access to the famous memorial on the Mall last week, he ordered up a replacement.
Scruggs, president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, summoned the fund’s traveling half-scale model of the wall from Corvallis, Oregon.
The metal copy was trucked across country, arrived in Washington Monday and was erected Monday evening on Georgetown University’s campus.
Starting Tuesday, the model — called “The Wall That Heals” — will be open to the public outside Georgetown’s Healy Hall.
The black metal wall is 250 feet long and made of powder-coated aluminum.
“It is an exact replica of the wall,” said fund spokesman Lee A. Allen. “The names are on the same panels, in the same rows, as they would be on the [real] wall.”
The metal wall is stored and transported around the country in a special truck so veterans and others who can’t get to Washington can get an idea of what the wall is like.
The black stone memorial contains the names of over 50,000 people who perished in the Vietnam War.
Free Georgetown shuttles will be available to transport visitors from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial site to the campus. The Wall That Heals will remain on campus through Columbus Day weekend.
While the memorial on the Mall is technically closed, and the entrances have been barricaded, scores of tourists have moved, or climbed over, the barricades to enter.
At the same time, there have been reports that park police have periodically shooed visitors away.
“If we can’t open it, we just bring in a replica!” Scruggs said in an e-mail. “This really is an outrage. Thumbs up for Georgetown! Go Hoyas!”
Georgetown President, John J. DeGioia, said in the statement:
“We are honored to partner with the (fund) to host this memorial at Georgetown. “We hope that visitors…who are affected by the closure of the National Mall, will visit our campus to experience this extraordinary replica and remember those it honors.”
At a news conference Tuesday, Speaker of the House John Boehner said refusing to negotiate on the debt limit would put the U.S. “on a pretty dangerous path.”
House Republican leaders renewed their request to begin negotiations with Senate Democrats and President Obama over ending the stalemate over the federal debt limit, but declined Tuesday to lay out what issues or conditions they would be willing to talk about.
Speaking to reporters after his weekly meeting with House Republicans, Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said that Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) “are putting our country on a pretty dangerous path” by refusing to negotiate.
“Listen, there’s never been a president in our history that did not negotiate over the debt limit, never, not once,” Boehner said. “As a matter of fact, President Obama negotiated with me over the debt limit in 2011. He also negotiated with the Blue Dog Democrats to raise the debt in ceiling in 2010. So the way to resolve this is to sit down and have a conversation to resolve our differences.”
But Boehner declined to specify what he might be seeking during negotiations with the president. He declined to answer whether he would support a short-term increase of the debt ceiling or what level spending cuts he would support.
“I’m not going to get into a whole lot of speculation,” Boehner said, adding later that the central question at this point is, “Are we going to sit down and have a conversation or aren’t we?”
Reid was speaking on the Senate floor around the same time and reiterated that he would be willing to negotiate with Boehner once the House passes measures reopening the government and raising the debt ceiling.