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Live updates: The shutdown showdown

October 3, 2013

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 House Republicans continued to demand that the nation’s new health-care law be delayed or repealed and Democrats — including President Obama — were refusing to give in.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

  • Nicki DeMarco
  • ·

Dave Williams from TaxPayers Protection Alliance argues against the statement that bringing back pork barrel spending would help get the controversial budget passed through Congress. (In Play)

  • Bob Barnes
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The Supreme Court will continue to conduct its normal operations through Oct. 11. The court building will be open to the public during its usual hours, and the court will hear the scheduled oral arguments, it was announced Thursday.  A further update will be provided in the event the lapse of appropriations continues beyond Oct. 11.

  • Aaron Blake
  • ·

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Thursday that House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) move to raise the debt ceiling by any means necessary – including with mostly Democratic votes — could present a “significant breakthrough” in negotiations.

“This could be the beginnings of a significant breakthrough,” Schumer said in a statement. “Even coming close to the edge of default is very dangerous, and putting this issue to rest significantly ahead of the default date would allow everyone in the country to breathe a huge sigh of relief. Of course, Democrats retain our position that the full faith and credit of the United States cannot be held hostage to achieve a political agenda.”

Boehner himself hasn’t confirmed the strategy, which GOP aides have said is in the works. Doing so could risk backlash from conservatives who want to extract concessions from Democrats while guaranteeing against the government defaulting on its debt.

  • Aaron Blake
  • ·

Law enforcement has confirmed that the driver of a car involved in a chase between the White House and the Capitol was shot and killed near the Capitol.

For more, see all the latest updates on our other live blog.

  • Steve Vogel
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One of the last remaining veterans of World War II in Congress called Thursday afternoon for his colleagues to end the government shutdown, suggesting that members of the legislative body who have appeared at the World War II memorial this week are not doing enough to support those who served in the conflict.

“If this Congress truly wishes to recognize the sacrifice and bravery of our World War II veterans and all who’ve come after, it will end this shutdown and re-open our government now,” John Dingell, (D-Mich.), said in a joint statement issued with former Republican Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas, a combat-injured veteran of World War II.

The Department of Veterans Affairs warned this week that its progress is cutting the backlog of disability claims by 30 percent over the last six months is likely to be reversed by the shutdown. The department said that it is no longer able to pay overtime to claims processors, an initiative begun in May that officials say was supposed to continue until November.

“The current shutdown has slowed the rate at which the government can process veterans’ disability claims and, as the VA has stated, it is negatively impacting other services to our nation’s veterans,” Dingell and Dole said in their statement.

Dingell and Rep. Ralph Hall, (R-Tex.), are the only veterans of World War II remaining in Congress.

Several veterans groups, including the American Legion, have issued statements calling for an end to the shutdown.

“The American Legion wants Congress to stop its bickering and stop making America’s veterans suffer for its own lack of political resolve in the face of this national crisis,” the organization said Thursday.

  • Ed O'Keefe
  • ·

The Senate has adjourned for the day and will reconvene at 10:30 a.m. Friday.

Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) gave brief remarks on the Senate floor Thursday afternoon, mostly to thank U.S. Capitol Police and the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms for their work in response to the shooting incident on Capitol Hill.

  • Aaron Blake
  • ·

An e-mail from American United for Change president Brad Woodhouse says the incident on Capitol Hill is a good reason to end the shutdown.

Subject line: “How about this for an idea…”

Text of the e-mail: “…end the Shutdown…and PAY THE CAPITOL POLICE.”

  • Ed O'Keefe
  • ·

House leaders will not make a decision on whether to remain in session over the weekend until Friday, House Majority Leader Eric I. Cantor (R-Va.) said Thursday.

“We will announce in the morning what to expect as far as votes for the weekend,” Cantor said in response to questions from House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.).

  • Aaron Blake
  • ·

From Luz Lazo:

The shutdown of the federal government this week has left some area residents turning to their local government for some answers.

Non-emergency call centers and the social media accounts of local governments across the region are hearing from hundreds of residents wanting to know if their local services are impacted, if tax deadlines have been extended, and if they can start applying for unemployment benefits. Some want to know what’s open and what’s closed in the area.
Local officials say they want to remind residents that the local governments are open, and service, including trash pickups, are not interrupted during the federal shutdown.

In Prince George’s County, the 311 Call Center has received more than 500 calls since Tuesday, said Jennifer Hawkins, the center’s manager.

Between 7:30 a.m. and 8 a.m. on Tuesday, the center received about 200 calls from federal workers who weren’t sure if they needed to report to work, Hawkins said. And on Thursday federal workers who reside in the county have been asking about unemployment benefits, she said.

It has been a busy week, officials say.  The main numbers have been bombarded with calls about Obamacare. Prince George’s, Montgomery and Fairfax counties are home to tens of thousands of federal workers.

In Prince George’s, residents inquiring about unemployment benefits are directed to the Maryland division of unemployment insurance or call 301-313-8000.

The Fairfax County main number has received about 100 calls since Tuesday and dozens of inquiries through the county’s main mailbox and social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.

Fairfax residents have also been asking if the personal property tax deadline of Oct. 7 would be extended due to the shutdown, said Jeremy Lasich, a county spokesman.

Sorry, the answer to that is “No, it won’t,” Lasich said.

Residents seeking information about personal assistance can find more information here.

  • Aaron Blake
  • ·

From Reid Wilson on GovBeat:

With little hope of a quick resolution to the federal government shutdown, and as polls show voters largely blame the GOP for the impasse, Republicans could find themselves jeopardizing their hopes of winning control of the United States Senate next year.

That’s because, for the second electoral cycle in a row, Republicans are banking on a large number of House members running for Senate seats in key states. And, for the second cycle in a row, House Republicans are the most unpopular subset of a deeply unpopular Congress.

Republicans are likely to nominate a sitting House member for Democratic-held Senate seats in four states. Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) has no real opponents in his bid for the Republican nomination in the contest against Sen. Mark Pryor (D). Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) is the front-runner in the race to succeed retiring Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D). Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) leads a wealthy self-funder in the race to face Sen. Mary Landrieu (D). And Rep. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) is likely to join the race to replace retiring Sen. Max Baucus (D) in the coming weeks.

Read more here.

  • Ed O'Keefe
  • ·

“Our hearts and our prayers are with the officers injured today,” Rep. John Culberson (R-Tex.) said from the House floor as the proceedings resumed.

Then lawmakers held a moment of silence before Culberson resumed debate on a short-term spending bill to provide funding for military service members.

  • Aaron Blake
  • ·

From Post Politics:

Shortly after reports surfaced of shots fired on Capitol Hill, Rep. Tim Griffin (R-Ark.) sent a tweet calling on Democrats to cease their “violent rhetoric.”

Griffin later admitted the tweet was “not helpful” and was done out of emotion.

Here’s the original tweet, which Griffin has since deleted:

Stop the violent rhetoric President Obama, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi. #Disgusting

— Tim Griffin (@TimGriffinAR2) October 3, 2013

Griffin send the tweet shortly after noting the shots fired.

Gun shots outside the Capitol.

— Tim Griffin (@TimGriffinAR2) October 3, 2013

Later, Griffin tweeted that he didn’t intend to blame Democrats for the situation.

“The shooting today is a terrible and inexcusable tragedy and an act of terroism,” Griffin said. “No one but the shooter is to blame. I tweeted out of emotion but agree that the timing was not helpful.”

White House officials and Democrats in recent days have used various metaphors for the current budget situation, including suggesting that Republicans were negotiating with a “gun to their head” and likening the GOP to someone with a bomb strapped to their chests.

Gun violence is often politicized, even in the near aftermath of a shooting. Shortly after Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) was shot in 2011, some on the left cited Sarah Palin, who had featured Giffords’s district on her political action committee’s website by putting crosshairs over it.

Update 3:22 p.m.: Griffin isn’t the only one who cited political rhetoric after the shooting. Howard Kurtz reports that Rep. Juan Vargas (D-Calif.) has as well — though Vargas didn’t blame either party, it should be noted.

Rep Juan Vargas tells us “the rhetoric is unfortunate, it’s so high. It does bring out the crazies,”

— HowardKurtz (@HowardKurtz) October 3, 2013

  • Aaron Blake
  • ·

A sampling, from Post Politics:

  • Ed O'Keefe
  • ·

The House and the Senate have both been recessed until further notice.

  • Aaron Blake
  • ·

From Laura Vozzella:

RICHMOND — The federal government shutdown has inspired TV and radio ads in the Virginia governor’s race, with Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Ken Cuccinelli II each accusing the other of Washington-style intransigence.

McAuliffe released a television ad Thursday that seeks to link Cuccinelli, the state’s attorney general, to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), the architect of the shutdown and a fellow tea party favorite. Cuccinelli put out a radio spot that says McAuliffe, the former Democratic National Committee chairman, has sided with dug-in Democrats in Washington and threatened to shut down state government if he doesn’t get his way on Medicaid expansion.

For more on this battle, head to Virginia Politics.

  • Mark Berman
  • ·

There have been multiple reports of shots fired near the U.S. Capitol. Head here for the latest updates.

  • Mark Berman
  • ·

While the shutdown has threatened weddings and postponed other events, not everything happening around the Mall this weekend has been canceled.

Case in point: The Race for Every Child, an event scheduled for Saturday beginning at 7 a.m. in downtown D.C. While the 5K begins and ends at Freedom Plaza and roams near the Mall and the U.S. Capitol, organizers say it’s still on despite the shutdown.

The Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon, originally set for Sunday, has been delayed until Nov. 10. This was because the first eight miles of that course was on the George Washington Memorial Parkway, which is overseen by the National Park Service.

For more on the Race for Every Child, head here.

  • Masuma Ahuja
  • ·

From the Federal Eye:

As we enter the third day of the shutdown, hundreds of thousands of federal government employees remain furloughed. These workers have a wide array of jobs from park rangers and lawyers, to animal keepers and economists. Here’s your chance to find out who they are and what they do. Today, Jason Dworkin, chief of astrochemistry at NASA, shares what it’s like to be a scientist at the agency.

What have you always wanted to know about NASA? Leave your questions for him in the comments, and he will return later this afternoon to answer selected questions right here in this post. Jason will try to respond to as many relevant questions as he can.

Click here to leave a question for Jason.  Read the full post here.

  • Mark Berman
  • ·
(Photo by Astrid Riecken For The Washington Post)

(Astrid Riecken For The Washington Post)

With workers furloughed, and many attractions across the District shut down, many people have apparently decided to spend their free time biking through the area.

The first two days of the shutdown were two of the busiest days in Capital Bikeshare history, according to a note posted on Facebook today.

Bikeshare had 10,367 trips taken on Tuesday and 10,393 rides taken on Wednesday. Each day was among the 20 busiest single days since Bikeshare launched in 2010.

  • Sean Sullivan
  • ·

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal says the federal government shutdown is a symptom of a larger problem with Washington. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says it’s a “failure of everyone who is responsible for the system.” And Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says there is enough blame to go around for everyone in the nation’s capital.

Sensing a theme here?

Republican governors who may run for president in 2016 have taken square aim at the federal government shutdown in an effort to amplify their long-running message that the states — in particular, their own states — do it better.

Briefing reporters in Washington Wednesday, Jindal, chairman of the Republican Governors Association, argued that the shutdown is just one part of a larger systemic problem in Congress that can only be fixed by sweeping “structural” changes.

“It didn’t start with his current challenge,” Jindal said.

More on The Fix.

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