Politics ⋅ Live Blog

Live updates: The Shutdown

Resize Text
Print Article

Negotiations to end the U.S. government shutdown, now in its third week, 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.

Check here for the latest updates.

Sign up for ‘The Showdown’ daily newsletter here.

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

Reid: 'A bright day' tomorrow?

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid just spoke on the Senate floor, saying there will be no more votes tonight, and that “perhaps tomorrow will be a bright day.”

Sounding optimistic, he said that he and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have made “tremendous progress” toward a deal to end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling, “but we are not there yet.”

“Everyone just needs to be patient,” Reid added. “And we hope, with good fortune, and the support of all of you, recognizing how hard this is for everybody, that perhaps tomorrow will be a bright day.”

McConnell echoed Reid’s remarks.

“We’ve had a good day. Had a good day yesterday. Had another good day today. I think it’s safe to say we’ve made substantial progress and we look forward to making more progress in the near future.”

Video: Who is losing in budget talks?

Fourteen days into the government shutdown, polling analyst Scott Clement tracks the trends from the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll. (In Play)

No changes for D.C. government

As the federal shutdown enters its third week, things remain unchanged for the District’s government and residents.

Government employees are reporting to work on Tuesday, while workers will receive their paychecks as usual on the normal schedule. But there’s no guarantee yet about the Oct. 29 paychecks or if they will arrive on time.

In addition, there are issues about the District’s reserve funds:

But there continue to be behind-the-scenes talks about tapping other pots of reserve money, which could fund at least one more round of payroll as well as other crucial payments that are expected to come due in the next days and weeks.

The reserve funds in question — the “Cash Flow Reserve” and “Fiscal Stabilization Reserve” — are mandated by District law and together contain roughly $400 million. City officials familiar with the talks but not authorized to speak publicly say there is general agreement that at least some of those funds can be used to backfill the Contingency Cash Reserve Fund that is now being used with the full blessing of government attorneys.

Head to District of DeBonis for more.

Conservative group rips McConnell

The Senate Conservatives Fund slammed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for trying to hash out a deal to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling with Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)

“Now Mitch McConnell is working with Harry Reid on a plan to fund Obamacare and raise the debt limit,” said SCF executive director Matt Hoskins. “Not only will his plan force Americans to pay for a law they oppose, it will force them to borrow more money to do it.”

SCF released an ad last month hitting McConnell for not doing more to fight the Affordable Care Act. The group is weighing whether to support McConnell’s primary challenger, businessman Matt Bevin.

Obama to sit for local interviews

President Obama will sit for interviews with three local television anchors on Tuesday, the White House announced.

Obama will talk about “how the government shutdown has affected their communities and how an economic shutdown would be even worse,” the White House said.

The White House didn’t immediately announce which anchors the president will be speaking with.

Economic turbulence ahead

The Post’s Jim Tankersley expects financial markets to fluctuate between now and Thursday, when the United States will reach its debt limit if Congress doesn’t act. And after that, he says, things will really get weird. Watch today’s full On Background.

Senate GOP to meet Tuesday

Senate Republicans are now set to meet on Tuesday morning instead of later Monday, a senior GOP leadership aide confirms.

“We had several members who aren’t back yet,” said Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

JetBlue offers 'Bill' promotion

As the world waits to see if the government shutdown can come to a close (accompanied by a debt ceiling increase), one airline has unveiled a promotion tied to the legislative quagmire.

JetBlue Airways will let any passenger with the name “Bill” flying out of an airport in the Washington area get through security faster. As Lori Aratani reports, this is JetBlue’s way of keeping — wait for it — “bills” moving through Washington.

The promotion, which will be available through Oct. 31, lets anyone named Bill (or William, or Will, or Billie, or Guillermo — you get the idea) get a pass that helps them find the quickest security screening lanes. It is available for any Billy or Willy flying out of Reagan National Airport, Dulles International Airport or Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.

Head to Dr. Gridlock for more.

Video: Statue of Liberty reopens

Lady Liberty is once again welcoming visitors to her shores after New York agreed to shoulder the costs of running the famed statue during the federal government shutdown. (AP)

Why the 'belly button tax' matters

In addition to reopening the government and extending the Treasury Department’s borrowing authority, the emerging Senate deal would also require additional safeguards to ensure that people who receive federal subsidies to purchase health insurance are in fact eligible to receive them.

In exchange, Democrats were seeking a delay of the so-called “belly button tax,” a tax on existing policies that is set to add roughly $63 per covered person — including spouses and dependents — to the cost of health insurance next year. Under the emerging agreement, the tax would be delayed to 2015, sparing organized labor as well as major employers.

Negotiators, meanwhile, rejected a proposal by Republicans to delay implementation of a 2.3 percent tax on medical devices, according to people familiar with the talks.

Boehner meets with McConnell

House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) huddled with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in McConnell’s office Monday afternoon, as Senate leaders were expressing increasing optimism about their odds of reaching an agreement to reopen the federal government and raise the debt ceiling.

Boehner spokesman Michael Steel declined to weigh in on the specifics of the meeting, saying only that the speaker “went to get an update on the discussions.”

Clock ticking on Obama legacy

The longer budget talks stall, the less time President Obama has to tackle other items on his domestic agenda before his term is up. SiriusXM’s Julie Mason tells On Background why Obama’s legacy is at stake in the current negotiations. Watch today’s full On Background here.

Poll: More bad news for GOP

Congressional Republicans don’t fare well in the new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Among the findings that stand out:

– Only 21 percent of Americans say they approve of the way Republicans in Congress are handling negotiations over the budget, while nearly three quarters (74 percent) disapprove. That’s an uptick in disapproval from 63 percent at the start of the shutdown.

–  President Obama and Democrats are doing better by comparison, but they are still not doing very well. Obama’s approval/disapproval split is now 42 percent/53 percent.

– Republicans are split over the job GOP lawmakers are doing. Forty-nine percent of self-identified Republicans say they approve while 47 percent say they disapprove.

Read more about the poll on The Fix.

What Van Hollen's speech meant

Buzzfeed Washington bureau chief John Stanton explained the “extraordinary” Republican maneuver that was the subject of Rep. Chris Van Hollen’s viral House floor exchange.

Watch Stanton’s full On Background segment here and read his Buzzfeed post on it here.

White House meeting postponed

President Obama’s meeting with the top four congressional leaders has been postponed, the White House just announced.

“The President’s 3:00 pm meeting with the bipartisan leadership has been postponed to allow leaders in the Senate time to continue making important progress towards a solution that raises the debt limit and reopens the government,” the White House said.

The three things you need to know

(Evan Vucci/The Associated Press)

(Evan Vucci/The Associated Press)

Here’s a quick primer on what you need to know about today’s movement in the ongoing talks over the government shutdown and debt ceiling.

1. The Harry and Mitch Show goes on. All eyes are still on the talks between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). They don’t have a deal yet. But the rhetoric they are using makes it sound like they are close. One framework under consideration, according to a Senate source, is a deal that would fund the government until Jan. 15 and raise the debt limit until Feb. 15.

2. White House huddle postponed. Reid and McConnell, along with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), had been scheduled to head to the White House for a 3 p.m. meeting with President Obama. But that meeting has been postponed to “allow leaders in the Senate time to continue making important progress towards a solution,” according to the White House.

3. A possible House backup plan. House Republicans are reportedly considering a fresh debt limit plan of their own if the McConnell/Reid talks don’t produce anything. But judging by the provisions floated for that potential package, it doesn’t sound like Senate Democrats would approve it.

Updated at 2:44 p.m.

Harry Reid 'very optimistic'

Senate leaders were closing in on a deal Monday to raise the debt ceiling and reopen the government, with leaders of both parties expressing optimism that they will reach agreement soon.

Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said he was “very optimistic” of reaching a deal soon, indicating as he opened the Senate floor for the day that he and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) were conducting “constructive, good faith” negotiations.

McConnell likewise said “discussions continue” and that he shared Reid’s “optimism that we’re going to get a result.”

One framework under consideration, according to a Senate source, was a deal that would fund federal agencies until Jan. 15 and raise the debt limit until Feb. 15.

The proposal would meet a Democratic demand that budget talks take place before a new round of sequestration cuts takes effect in January. Not yet settled between the sides is whether it would address a tax on medical devices.

Republicans are pushing for a delay or elimination of the tax but Democrats have resisted, citing their long held position of not making concessions in exchange for raising the debt ceiling.

Reid and McConnell met multiple times Monday to discuss that proposal, which would require the two sides to open negotiations over a broader budget plan in coming months.

Watch live: Senate discusses debt talks

Corker predicts deal is close

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said Monday afternoon he thinks senators are close to a compromise on a package to reopen the government and raise the debt limit.

“I think the outlines of a deal are there,” Corker told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. He added that he thinks “there will be something on the Senate floor in the next 24 hours.”

Senate leaders to provide update

At 1:35 p.m., Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) walked across the hall to the office of Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Asked if a deal had been struck, he said “not yet.” Asked if a deal was close, he said, “I hope so.”

Moments later McConnell spokesman Don Stewart told reporters that the leaders were “engaged in good faith negotiations and those talks will continue.” He said the leaders would provide an update at 2 p.m. on the Senate floor.

Load More
No More Posts
Most Read
Liveblog Comments