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Live updates: The shutdown showdown

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 House Republicans continued to demand that the nation’s new health-care law be delayed or repealed and Democrats — including President Obama — were refusing to give in.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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Senate Democrats to hold press conference at 1:45 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will be joined by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) at a press conference at 1:45 p.m.

At the press conference, they will call on the GOP-controlled House to pass the budget bill the contains Obamacare funding.

Aaron Blake
September 27, 12:20 pm
  • Aaron Blake September 27, 12:20 pm

The latest on the budget bill

From Ed O’Keefe, Rosalind S. Helderman and Lori Montgomery:

The Senate is poised to pass a short-term spending measure Friday and send it back to the House, with just four days to go before a threatened federal government shutdown.

The fate of the bill remained in limbo in the House as the Republican Party’s rebellious right wing is blocking a strategy by Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) for navigating a series of deadlines to keep the government funded and avoid the nation’s first default.

Senators are scheduled to act Friday by holding a series of votes shortly after midday to end formal debate on the spending bill. If the current plan holds, Senate Democrats will vote to amend the bill to restore funding for the new federal health-care law and send it back to the House.

Republicans there are vowing to reject the restoration of funding for the health-care law, commonly known as Obamacare, and may opt to send the bill back to the Senate again with more changes. But with the government shutdown hanging in the balance, House leaders had not yet signaled early Friday how they will proceed.

Capturing the sense of uncertainty gripping Capitol Hill, Senate Chaplain Barry C. Black called on lawmakers Friday during his opening prayer to “keep us from shackling ourselves with the chains of dysfunction,” adding later: “Lord, deliver us from governing by crisis, empowering us to be responsible stewards of your bounty.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) launched the Senate proceedings by making no formal statements, saying he would leave it to others to speak before the final votes.

Aaron Blake
September 27, 12:24 pm
  • Aaron Blake September 27, 12:24 pm

McConnell: Democrats may secretly oppose Obamacare

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) suggested in a floor speech today that Democrats may secretly oppose Obamacare.

“The American people want this bill repealed. Republicans want it repealed. I wouldn’t be surprised if a number of our Democrat colleagues secretly want it repealed,” McConnell said.

McConnell then called on Democrats to at least support delaying the law by one year, as has been proposed by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).

“So I’m calling for Democrat senators to put the middle class ahead of the president’s pride,” McConnell said. “I’m calling for them to help us pass a delay for everyone.”

Aaron Blake
September 27, 12:31 pm
  • Aaron Blake September 27, 12:31 pm

Cruz's effort apparently headed for defeat

Senators are now voting on whether to proceed with a vote on the budget — also known as cloture.

This is the vote that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and his allies have focused on, but it’s become clear they won’t get the 41 votes they need to stop the bill, as most Republicans are voting for cloture.

The four ‘no’ votes so far come from Cruz and Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and David Vitter (R-La.).

Aaron Blake
September 27, 12:39 pm
  • Aaron Blake September 27, 12:39 pm

At least 8 House Republicans watch Senate vote

As senators began voting on the motion to end debate on the spending bill, at least eight House Republicans showed up to watch in person.

The group included Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.), Dave Schweikert (R-Ariz.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), and Scott Garrett (R-N.J.).

Amash and a few other House Republicans showed up in the Senate Chamber Tuesday evening to watch Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) conduct their 21-hour filibuster-like discourse – but this is a large turnout among House lawmakers for a Senate vote, by modern standards.

At least four Republican senators – Jerry Moran (Kan.), Deb Fischer (Neb.), Tim Scott (S.C.) and Rob Portman (Ohio) – went over to the greet the group after they voted. Moran and Portman are chairman and vice chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

“Are you here to intimidate me?” Moran asked Huelskamp as he greeted him.

“No, I’m trying to help you,” Huelskamp said.

Ed O'Keefe
September 27, 1:02 pm
  • Ed O'Keefe September 27, 1:02 pm

Burr calls filibuster 'the height of hypocrisy'

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) had some tough words for his GOP colleagues after today’s cloture vote.

Burr, of course, has used blunt language on this topic before. Two months ago, he called risking a government shutdown over defunding Obamacare the “dumbest idea I’ve ever heard.”

Aaron Blake
September 27, 1:04 pm
  • Aaron Blake September 27, 1:04 pm

Senators vote 79-19 to end debate

Senators voted 79 to 19 to formally end debate on a short-term spending measure and move ahead towards final passage.

Ed O'Keefe
September 27, 1:07 pm
  • Ed O'Keefe September 27, 1:07 pm

The cloture vote breakdown

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) got 18 of his 45 Senate GOP colleagues to join him in voting against cloture, but his effort ultimately failed.

Here’s the breakdown, from Ed O’Keefe:

Senators voted 79 to 19 to end formal debate on the spending bill and proceed towards final passage.

23 Republicans voted with 54 Democrats to end debate.

19 Republicans voted no.

The ‘no’ votes are Sens. Mike Crapo (Idaho), Ted Cruz (Tex.), Mike Enzi (Wyo.), Deb Fischer (Neb.), Charles Grassley (Iowa), Dean Heller (Nev.), James Inhofe (Okla.), Mike Lee (Utah), Jerry Moran (Kan.), Rand Paul (Ky.), Rob Portman (Ohio), James Risch (Idaho), Pat Roberts (Kan.), Marco Rubio (Fla.), Tim Scott (S.C.), Jeff Sessions (Ala.), Richard Shelby (Ala.), Pat Toomey (Pa.), David Vitter (La.).

2 senators – Flake (Ariz.) and Hatch (Utah) – didn’t vote.

Aaron Blake
September 27, 1:08 pm
  • Aaron Blake September 27, 1:08 pm

Federal workers learn about furloughs

Federal agencies have begun telling their employees whether they would be furloughed or required to work during a potential government shutdown that would begin next week without a deal to continue federal spending.

A recent blog item by Federal Diary columnist Joe Davidson explained how that process is unfolding — it began Thursday and continues today. His latest column also breaks down where the budget negotiations stand and how they effect the federal workforce.

Josh Hicks
September 27, 1:12 pm
  • Josh Hicks September 27, 1:12 pm

Cruz at the front of the chamber

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) usually sits in a front corner of the Senate chamber and keeps to himself, or is seen conferring quietly with like-minded colleagues including Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.).

But during the first vote Friday to end formal debate, Cruz was seen near the front tables where GOP aides were keeping a running vote tally. He greeted several colleagues as they came in and was later seen laughing with Lee and Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), who joined with them and 16 other Republicans to vote against ending debate.


Ed O'Keefe
September 27, 1:15 pm
  • Ed O'Keefe September 27, 1:15 pm
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