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Live updates: The Shutdown

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October 11, 2013

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.

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

  • Mark Berman
  • ·

The photo of a child holding onto the locked gate at the National Zoo rocketed across the Internet on Thursday, seemingly capturing the shutdown’s impact in a singular way:

But who is the child in question? And how did it make its way to Reddit, the social news site, and seemingly everywhere else after that?

As The Post’s Anne Midgette explains in this post, it turns out that she actually knows the child in question. (Washington can be a small town.)

There is, it’s true, something scary, or sad, about this picture. But it’s not the shutdown. It’s that a father took his son out for a walk in the neighborhood and sent a funny snapshot to his wife, and she put it up on Instagram, and someone else put it up on Facebook, and someone else put it up on Reddit, and within a matter of hours, bam, there was the toddler on the NBC Nightly News, fair game for commenters around the nation.

Head here for more.

  • Mark Berman
  • ·

The latest victim of the shutdown: Winners of the D.C. Lottery.

As my colleague Mike DeBonis reports, tickets can still be bought and sold, but no winners can collect any money:

Starting Saturday and until further notice, the lottery announced Friday, no winning lottery tickets will be cashed. They will, however, still be sold, and winners will be honored after the shutdown ends.

That goes for both instant tickets and numbers games, though draws will continue in the latter case.

Head to District of DeBonis for more.

  • Lori Montgomery
  • ·

Speaking after the markets closed, White House press secretary Jay Carney welcomed a “new willingness” among congressional Republicans to open the government and avoid default but said the president would not agree to tie budget negotiations to a six-week debt-limit extension. “What we think is not the right way to go is to try again to link extension of the debt ceiling to budget negotiations, and therefore link the possibility of default to whether one side gets what it wants in those negotiations.”

Carney’s statement came after President Obama spoke by phone with House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio). Boehner’s office issued a terse statement, saying they agreed “that we should all keep talking.”

  • Sean Sullivan
  • ·

Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) is taking credit for the House GOP’s proposal of a short-term debt ceiling increase.

“It’s actually a great plan,” Labrador said on video captured by KTVB TV and posted Friday. “I actually brought it to Eric Cantor about two days ago. I told him this would be a good way forward.”

  • Sean Sullivan
  • ·

Post TV’s “In Play” asked attendees of the Values Voter Summit in Washington to offer their thoughts on the debt ceiling.

  • Nicki DeMarco
  • ·

“In Play” asked those at the Values Voter Summit, an annual political conference of social conservatives, to describe the state of the Republican party in just a few words in light of the government shutdown and debt ceiling battle.

  • Neil Irwin
  • ·

The government shutdown is making this a hard few weeks for people who care about how the economy is doing. Since the shutdown began, scheduled releases on employment, international trade, retail sales, and inflation have been non-existent. If it persists, it will leave economic policymakers flying in the dark (including the Federal Reserve, when it next meets at the end of the month). And it will be a frustrating thing for all the businesses and financial market participants who rely on reliable data to help make their investment decisions.

But now, into the breach, comes the Carlyle Group. The Washington-based private equity firm has used confidential data from its portfolio of 200 companies to try to estimate what the broad economic indicators collected by the U.S. government will ultimately show, if and when they are finally released.

More on the Wonkblog.

  • Joel Achenbach
  • ·

Alaska crab fisherman and reality TV star Keith Colburn would normally be out on the water in the Bering Sea this time of year, but on Friday he found himself testifying in the U.S. Senate, pleading for the government to get back to work on the regulations necessary to open the king crab season on Oct. 15.

(Read the complete story.)

  • Philip Rucker and Sean Sullivan
  • ·

President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) spoke by phone this afternoon, spokesmen said.

The takeaway: The dialogue continues.

“The President and the Speaker spoke by telephone a few minutes ago. They agreed that we should all keep talking,” said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney characterized the phone call as a “good conversation.” He said the two “agreed that all sides need to keep talking on the issues here that are confronting us that have led to a shutdown of the government and to the situation that has put us on the precipice of potential default, or at least reaching that line beyond which the united states does not have borrowing authority.”

Carney also said that “there have been constructive talks, and when it comes to the House Republicans in particular there is an indication anyway of a recognition that we need to remove default as a weapon in budget negotiations, that the threat of default should not be used and certainly default itself is never an option.”

He added that Obama “has some concerns” with the proposal House Republicans have offered, but “appreciates the constructive nature of the conversation and of the proposal.”

“We’re obviously in a better place than we were a few days ago in terms of the constructive approach that we’ve seen of late, but there’s not an agreement,” Carney said.

  • Sean Sullivan
  • ·

The Fix excerpted portions of a memo Republican pollster Bill McInturff sent to his clients. McInturff is one-half of the bipartisan polling team that conducted the latest NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll that showed record low numbers for the GOP. From the memo:

Overall, this is among the handful of surveys that stand out in my career as being significant and consequential, so, I wanted to make sure you had an opportunity to review the survey.

I would also say this about my general experience with this type of data – 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, Lehman collapse, debt ceiling in 2011 – once there is this level of movement and change, it takes months for things to settle down in a way that is stable and easier to understand. This type of data creates ripples that will take a long time to resolve and there will be unexpected changes we cannot predict at the moment as a consequence.

From a Republican perspective, there is comfort though that the next federal election is a year plus away. Whether it be the impeachment vote in early 1999 or the use of force votes about Iraq, there have been episodes people assumed would drive the next election, but those votes/events were so far from the election they simply were not a factor by the next election.

One needs to recognize how important these numbers are about what is, at best, described as unstable terrain.

  • Sean Sullivan
  • ·

The House GOP Conference will meet Saturday morning to discuss the ongoing effort to reach an agreement to end the fiscal impasse.

A GOP leadership aide confirms that the House Republicans are set to gather Saturday morning at 9 a.m. House leaders have submitted a revised short-term proposal to raise the federal debt ceiling and reopen the government. Meanwhile, Senate Republicans are working to craft their own measure.

The House has more votes upcoming today, but nothing is slated yet on the debt ceiling or the budget. It remains unclear whether the House will vote on those matters today, but the aide was not anticipating more votes. That said, things can change in a hurry in Capitol Hill. We’ll keep you updated as we get more information.

  • Mark Berman
  • ·

Federal workers around the region have had a rough couple of weeks. Many of them have been furloughed, deemed nonessential and left feeling unappreciated or unwanted.

But the impact came into sharp relief for quite a few workers today:

The paycheck federal workers have been dreading hit bank accounts across the region Friday, representing salaries cut in half for most idled employees. The next payday will be all zeros, and with furloughs dragging on, civil servants are settling into a financial crouch, slashing expenses, canceling vacations, tapping retirement savings and taking second jobs.

For these workers, the bills are piling up while their pay is on hold until the furloughs end (at least for federal employees; contractors, on the other hand, are unlikely to see any back pay). This means tough decisions, changed circumstances and endless stress.

If you’re a furloughed worker, we want to know: How long can you go without a paycheck? What are you doing to make up for this lost income? Head here to let us know.

  • Sean Sullivan
  • ·

Brad Woodhouse, the president of the liberal group Americans For United For Change sent a gift basket to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.).

But it wasn’t exactly an olive branch, reports the Washington Examiner:

“Dear Ted,” said the card to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz on the fruit and snack basket from 1-800-FLOWERS sent by Brad Woodhouse, president of Americans United for Change and the former Democratic Party communications director. “A Texas sized thank you!! Thanks to you, Obamacare is more popular and the GOP is less so. Keep up the Good Work!! Yours, Americans United for Change.”

He added, “it’s the best $90 we’ve spent.” The gag gift, which cost $91.98 including the service charge, is called “Fruit Gathering,” and meant for “your closest friends,” according to the website.

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC poll found that support for the GOP has dropped and Obamacare soared.

Woodhouse confirmed that report. A spokeswoman for Cruz said his office has not received anything.

  • Sean Sullivan
  • ·

In a pre-taped interview set to broadcast later Friday, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said he thinks the end is near to the fiscal standoff that has seized Washington.

“I think we’re going to be out of this soon,” Corker told Bloomberg’s ”Political Capital with Al Hunt.” “And hopefully we’ll be out of both the government shutdown and the debt ceiling.”

He added, “I’d be surprised if it goes all the way to the 17th,” referencing the date on which the Treasury said the United States will reach its borrowing authority.

Corker said he is hoping for a longer-term government funding measure.

“I mean, one of the gains that Republicans, frankly, have had over the last several years is controlling spending,” he said. “And, you know, sequester is not a great way of controlling spending, but it’s better than nothing else, and so we’ve been able to lock in some gains on spending, and hopefully we will keep those in place on that.”

  • Sean Sullivan and Rosalind S. Helderman
  • ·
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.). (J Scott Applewhite/The Associated Press)

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.). (J Scott Applewhite/The Associated Press)

The Senate’s second-ranking Republican didn’t come away from today’s meeting at the White House with a very positive impression. Here’s what Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) had to say:

“For weeks I have been asking the President to meet with Senate Republicans, and I am pleased that he did so today. But what could have been a productive conversation was instead another predictable lecture from the President that did not lay out a new path forward. Senate Republicans are back at the Capitol and will continue to discuss plans to cut spending and open the government.”

Other Republican senators returning to the Capitol after a White House meeting with President Obama described a substantive meeting with the president that was focused as much on a larger conversation about the nation’s fiscal problems as it was on how to open the government or raise the debt ceiling for just a few weeks.

“It wasn’t a tit-for-tat or this-for-that kind of conversation. It was a more serious policy content conversation,” said Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.)

“I was pleasantly surprised,” he said. “I think there’s a gelling that’s beginning to take place. I think it’s very possible that over the next short amount of time a constructive agreement may occur.”

“I don’t know that I want to talk publicly about what they are. But a framework to go forward in a constructive way to address both the short and longer term,” he said.

Republicans said Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) spent several minutes briefing Obama on a proposal she has been circulating to Democrats that would raise the debt ceiling and reopen government, but repeal the medical device place and leave sequestration cuts in place.

“I don’t’ want to give the impress that he endorsed it,” she said, but he indicated there were “elements” with which he agreed.

Senators indicated talks would continue through the day and likely through the weekend.

“It was a cordial discussion and the president was willing to listen as well as give his point of view, so I think it was helpful,” said Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio.)

  • Sean Sullivan
  • ·

Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) took to Twitter to offer one of the earliest assessments of Senate Republicans’ meeting with President Obama.

In an interview with CNN, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) called the meeting a “good exchange, but it was an inconclusive exchange.”

  • Sean Sullivan
  • ·

After meeting with President Obama at the White House, Senate Republicans had to contend with the elements.

  • Lori Montgomery
  • ·

House Republicans have submitted a revised short-term proposal to raise the federal debt ceiling and reopen the government, offering President Obama another option Friday as he hosted Senate Republicans at the White House in an effort to build on the first signs of bipartisan progress on the issues.

While Senate Republicans were meeting with Obama over how to deal with next week’s debt-ceiling deadline and the 11-day-old federal government shutdown, House Republicans were waiting to hear back from the administration about the updated proposal they submitted late Thursday.

Their original proposal only addressed the debt ceiling, but the new plan addresses both the shutdown and debt ceiling.

Under the new proposal, the House would vote as soon as Friday evening on a plan to raise the debt limit through Nov. 20 — the week before Thanksgiving — to create space for talks over broader budget issues. Republicans have also offered to reopen the government as soon as next week in a bill that would replace some of the deep budget cuts known as the sequester with cuts to entitlement programs, including Medicare, according to people familiar with the proposal who spoke on condition of anonymity. Replacing the sequester is a top Democratic priority, while cutting entitlement programs is a leading GOP priority.

But details of the proposals were murky, and there was no clear quid pro quo linking one priority to the other.

  • Sean Sullivan
  • ·

The Fix poses the question of whether the White House can set a precedent for future budget negotiations:

The current budget standstill is as much about the GOP insisting on concessions as it is about the White House trying to send a message – a message that it will accept nothing but so-called “clean” bills to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling. The theory is that if the administration can hold out longer and win this battle cleanly (so to speak), it would set a precedent for future debates and prevent Republicans from trying to use the debt limit and the budget to make other changes. The stakes in the current debate are only raised because the White House sees it as a precedent-setter. The question is whether conservatives will be duly chastened or emboldened by the final outcome. It’s not clear that the White House is going to get exactly what it wants in this regard, but in the end, it’s still about who gets more.

  • Sean Sullivan
  • ·

Dr. Ben Carson, a rising star in conservative circles, on Friday compared President Obama’s health-care law to slavery.

“You know Obamacare is really I think the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery,” Carson, who is African American, said Friday in remarks at the Values Voter Summit in Washington. “And it is in a way, it is slavery in a way, because it is making all of us subservient to the government, and it was never about health care. It was about control.”

Carson, a pediatric neurosurgeon who was recently hired to be a contributor at Fox News, has stoked controversy with his remarks before. Earlier this year, he withdrew as graduation speaker at Johns Hopkins University amid demands from students concerned about his controversial remarks on gay marriage. Carson had mentioned bestiality and pedophilia while arguing against gay marriage in an interview.

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