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.
The Fix dives into the latest NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll and finds the answer is politics:
The American public views the Republican party’s motives in the shutdown as overwhelmingly political. And looking political is the absolute worst thing that can happen to a political party.
A single question in the NBC-WSJ poll captures that sentiment. Seven in 10 people agreed with the statement that Republicans are “putting their own political agenda ahead of what is good for the country” while just 27 percent said that the GOP is “demonstrating strong leadership and standing up for what they believe in.”
Something to keep in mind today: There are two sets of negotiations going on. House Republicans are taking to the White House about a short-term raising of the debt ceiling. Senate Republicans, meanwhile, are working to craft a measure that would both raise the debt ceiling and reopen the federal government. The Post’s Lori Montgomery and Paul Kane:
In the Senate, top Republicans began crafting a proposal that would reopen the government and raise the federal debt limit for as long as three months — an approach closer to the terms Obama has set to end the standoff.
The developments meant that bipartisan negotiations were suddenly underway on two separate tracks Thursday after weeks of stalemate. Major questions remain, however, about the path ahead.
Gov. Gary Herbert (R) reached a deal with the federal government to reopen national parks shuttered by the government shutdown. The Salt Lake Tribune:
Utah taxpayers will loan the federal government $1.7 million, enough to keep five national parks — Zion, Bryce, Arches, Canyonlands and Capitol Reef — and Natural Bridges, Glen Canyon and Cedar Breaks national monuments open for 10 days. The Legislature, which will meet in special session Wednesday, can approve funds to keep the areas open beyond that time.
Reid Wilson of GovBeat reports that some other governors have tried something similar. But not Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D):
South Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple (R), Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) have made similar offers to use state funds to reopen national parks in their states.
But Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) said he won’t follow suit. Bullock told the Helena Independent Record that he wanted the full federal government reopened, not just the national parks.
It’s a sad day when the United States has to take charity to care for the families of fallen members of the military.
This partial government shutdown makes Uncle Sam another beggar on the street. It reduced him to going hat in hand to the Fisher House Foundation, which offered to provide the standard $100,000 death benefit to families.
Ironically, the Fisher House, which has worked with military families for 20 years, also receives donations from the Combined Federal Campaign. The campaign funnels charitable contributions from federal employees to more than 20,000 nonprofit organizations around the world.
Because of the shutdown, CFC may as well stand for Can’t Function Currently, just like many other government-related activities.
Read more in the Federal Diary.
One of the Senate’s most moderate Republicans is now at the center of the shutdown showdown. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and some of her colleagues have been working to craft a measure that would end the shutdown. NBC’s Suzy Khimm and Jessica Taylor pull back the curtain and shed some light on the genesis of the plan:
Last week half-a-dozen lawmakers milled about on the steps of the Capitol, discussing NASCAR and baseball at what Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul billed as a bipartisan “coffee break.”
Then Sen. Susan Collins of Maine spoke up.
“Alright, enough of this baseball talk,” Collins said, pulling the dozen or so senators–all men–into a huddle.
In a low voice, out of the earshot of reporters, she got down to business, pushing her fellow members of Congress to start deal-making.
Speaking at the Values Voter summit in Washington, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), one of the senators who led the charge to defund Obamacare in the budget debate, says he is not sorry.
“We make no apologies” — Sen. Mike Lee on efforts to defund Obamacare. Big round of applause at Values Voters.
— Shane Goldmacher (@ShaneGoldmacher) October 11, 2013
Big questions four, six, eight months down the road is how much influence Lee, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and other cast-iron conservatives will have in future legislative debates.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), the leading advocate of defunding the Affordable Care Act in the budget debate, faced hecklers multiple times Friday during his speech at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, in which he continued to rail against the health-care law.
“The nice thing is the left will always, always, always tell you who they fear,” Cruz told the crowd after one of the interruptions. “And they fear you.”
One of the hecklers Cruz faced called on him to support a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.
At one point, chants of “USA! USA!” erupted from the audience, which sought to drown out the protesters.
Cruz, along with his Senate Republican colleagues, is set to meet with President Obama at the White House later Friday to talk about the impasse over the debt ceiling and budget.
“If I’m never seen again [after the meeting], please send a search and rescue team,” Cruz joked to the crowd, saying he fears he may wake up with the Syrian rebels the next day.
In his speech, Cruz credited supporters with triggering the national debate about the Affordable Care Act. He said he does not know how the fight will end, but called for House Republicans to stand firm.
“In my view, the House of Representatives needs to keep doing what [they're] doing, which is standing strong,” Cruz said.
Cruz said America may only have a couple of years to “turn things around” or risk going “off the cliff to oblivion.”
It’s a sign of these shutdown times: Internet searches for the phrase “happy hour” are way up in Washington.
Maybe it’s all those furloughed federal workers with more time and less money to spend – or maybe it’s just that there’s just way more interest in drinking away shutdown stress. Whatever the reasons, Google analytics of trending search terms shows that “happy hour” is more on the minds — and fingertips — of Washingtonians than usual.
It’s interesting to note that, in general, the phrase is searched for more in Washington than it is nationally. Clearly, we’re a city that likes its 25-cent wings.
The statistic comes courtesy of Google marketer Jesse Friedman, who also noted that the shutdown also seems to be making folks more altruistic in addition to less sober: searches for the word “volunteer” are also up in Washington.
DC’s trying to stay useful, too. Searches for [volunteer] in the area are way up compared to last year. http://t.co/160c7UEh05— Jesse Friedman (@JesseCFriedman) October 10, 2013
Some of the most striking figures in the NBC/WSJ poll are the numbers on economic confidence. Just 17 percent say they think the economy will get better during the next 12 months, compared to 42 percent who say it will get worse. The better/worse split last month, before the shutdown started, was 27/24.
Starbucks is circulating a petition for lawmakers to end the government shutdown and ensure the country pays all of its debts on time.
The company posted the petition on its Web site. In addition to ending the shutdown and ensuring the country does not default, the petition also asks lawmakers to pass a “bipartisan and comprehensive long-term budget deal by the end of the year.”
Copies will be available in Starbucks stores, online, and in tear-out ads due to run on Friday in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and the Washington Post. From this Friday through the weekend, people can take a signed petition to a Starbucks store or sign it in a store. They can also sign the petition online.