The U.S. government shutdown, now in its third week, is nearing an end after both chambers on Wednesday passed a bipartisan deal to reopen the government and extend the debt ceiling.
Keep checking here for the latest updates.
From Zachary Goldfarb:
Confused by all the crazy ups and downs of Washington over the government shutdown and debt ceiling? Here’s a five-minute primer on what’s happening today.
From The Fix’s Chris Cillizza:
In the wake of Speaker of the House John A. Boehner’s failure to re-inject the views of House Republicans into the Senate compromise talks on the debt ceiling and the government shutdown, there’s only one question anyone is asking: Where does the Speaker go from here?
As the shutdown continues, young federal workers put their spare time to good use by volunteering at DC Central Kitchen. But with seemingly stable government jobs no longer a sure thing, these young feds voice their frustrations to The Fold’s Henry Kerali.
By the time Monique Henderson’s half paycheck for $365.54 arrived Friday, the single mother of two who works as a legal assistant for the Social Security Administration had already figured she wouldn’t be able to pay the rent.
She was behind on her electric bill and had racked up debt buying TVs, a computer and cellphones. Her 12-year-old daughter had already outgrown her expensive public school uniform and needed a new one. And with grocery bills mounting and nothing to pay them with, Henderson had spent six hours the previous day in line to apply for food stamps.
So Tuesday, even as lawmakers held out the promise of a deal to reopen the government, Henderson, 33, pulled out cardboard boxes she had stacked behind the couch in her living room and began to pack. She has no choice, she said, but to move back home with her mother, to her girlhood room with the 3-D art she made in high school still on the walls.
Read more about Henderson and other federal workers struggling during the shutdown.
For federal employees, seeking unemployment compensation is one clear example of how the government shutdown is much harsher than a “temporary inconvenience,” as Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) recently declared.
The District, Maryland and Virginia all report sky-high levels of unemployment claims from federal employees after the shutdown began Oct. 1. Since my colleague Luz Lazo reported on the increase in applications just days after that, the numbers have exploded.
For numbers from the District, Maryland and Virginia, head to The Federal Diary.
Starting on Oct. 11, depending on their pay cycle, some furloughed government workers who were supposed to get full paychecks didn’t get them. Another batch will come up short today, and a third gets hit Thursday. Presumably, some feds don’t have that thick a financial cushion, and might opt for the backup of people on the economic margins everywhere: Pawn shops.
Jessica Barakat, who manages the independent Crown Pawnbrokers on 14th Street NW, says she’s seen a few of them come in over the past few days. “I basically just hear reasons a lot, why people can’t make it through the week, when something unexpected happens, and people have to dip into their savings, or they don’t want to,” Barakat said. Fluctuations in gas prices have been a big reason why people need a short-term loan to get to work.
“And this is just a new one that we’ve heard: They’ve got no paycheck,” she says.
The ball is now in the Senate’s court, but because of the odd machinations of Congress, the House may actually be asked to vote on the Senate’s proposal first.
Late Tuesday, Democrats — and some Senate Republicans — were urging Boehner to draft the emerging Senate deal into legislation and let the House vote as soon as Wednesday. Given a House-passed bill, Reid could move much more quickly to final passage in the Senate, sending a bill to Obama’s desk before the Thursday deadline if Cruz and his allies did not object.
House GOP officials said they had yet to decide how to proceed. Passing the Senate bill before the Senate had even taken a vote would amount to a complete capitulation to the upper chamber, the latest embarrassment in a speakership riddled with dark moments.
That last part is key. Essentially, Boehner would not only be voting on the Senate’s proposal, but taking it up as if it were his own.
At this point, though, Boehner can make the argument that he tried two different paths Tuesday– and several prior to that — with no success. Voting on the Senate bill, he could argue, would represent a last-ditch effort.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a proud moment for Boehner, and would risk even more of a backlash from the more conservative wing of the party than simply passing something that the Senate previously passed.
Despite polls showing that more people blame Republicans than Democrats for the current mess in Washington, at least one Democrat says nobody will emerge as the winner regardless of the outcome.
“There are no winners here,” Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) said on CNN. “Bottom line: We’re going to reopen government, we’re not going to default. That’s, like, very low expectations.”
The head of the organization that has led the Defund Obamacare effort acknowledged in an interview Wednesday that the Affordable Care Act won’t be repealed until at least 2017.
“Everybody understands that we’re not going to be able to repeal this law until 2017 and that we have to win the Senate, and we have to win the White House,” Heritage Action CEO Michael Needham said on Fox News.
While Needham’s comments caught the attention of some, considering his group has led the effort to roll back the federal health-care law, it should be noted that repealing and defunding the law are two different things. The latter is a budgetary maneuver intended to undercut the program — in the absence of repeal — while the former would do away with it entirely.
As long as President Obama is in office, repealing the law would require both chambers overriding his veto — a level of support that is extremely unlikely before 2017.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa opened Wednesday’s hearing on the National Park Service’s shutdown strategy in typical bombastic fashion.
The California Republican first sharply lectured Park Service leadership for “not living up to” its obligations, as Park Service Director Jon Jarvis shifted uncomfortably in the hot seat. But that was just warm-up.
“You’re not here for the first time,” Issa noted, recalling a previous dressing down the committee had given him, during the Occupy Wall Street protests. ”You came before one of our committees and made it clear that you were going to re-interpret the First Amendment to include basically people sleeping in the parks, defecating on the lawns, creating a health hazard for the people of the District of Columbia.”
Ah, so many fond memories…