Tag Archives: Government Shutdown

Jay Leno Calls Out Ted Cruz On Shutdown: ‘You Looked Like A Big Fan From Where I Was Standing’

Somebody needed to call this clown out.  Jay Leno helped expose Ted Cruz’ blatant hypocrisy…

The Huffington Post

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) made his first foray into late-night television on Friday, facing some prodding questions from Tonight Show host Jay Leno on the government shutdown.

About four minutes into the interview, Leno asked Cruz why the shutdown took place, posing the idea that if Obamacare had been allowed to go forward without shutting down the government, the early struggles with the law may have been seen in a different light.

“Listen, Jay, I’m one of the many people who was not a fan of shutting down the government,” Cruz said. “Throughout this whole thing, I said…”

“Well you looked like a big fan from where I was standing,” Leno interjected.

“I said throughout, ‘We shouldn’t shut down the government,’” Cruz said seconds later. “And the reason we had a government shutdown is President Obama and the Democrats said ‘we will not negotiate and we will not compromise.’”

Recent polls show that three weeks after the shutdown came to a close, Americans are still angry at both Congress and President Barack Obama. A HuffPost/YouGov survey unveiled Thursday showed only 7 percent believe most members of Congress deserve reelection, compared to 73 percent who said they don’t.

Obama has taken his own share of heat, as a Friday Pew Research survey showed the president’s approval rating has plummeted to 41 percent. That marks an 11-percent drop since January 2013.

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Filed under Government Shutdown, Sen. Ted Cruz

BIG TROUBLE…

 

The Huffington Post

Democrats Have A Shot At Taking Back The House As Republican Popularity Continues To Drop: Poll

A new survey of 25 GOP-held districts shows dwindling favorability for Republican members of the House in the wake of the recent government shutdown.

The survey, conducted by liberal-leaning Public Policy Polling and funded by MoveOn.org, is the third in a series of polls that indicate Democrats have a shot at taking back the House of Representatives in the 2014 election cycle.

The results of the latest survey show that incumbent Republicans in 15 of the 25 districts polled trail generic Democratic candidates. When combined with the results of the previous surveys, the polls show that generic Democratic candidates lead in 37 of 61 GOP-held districts.

When voters were informed their Republican candidate supported the government shutdown, 11 more districts flipped and one race became a tie.

Democrats in the House only need to see a net increase of 17 seats in order to take back the majority. This poll indicates that Democrats could see an increase of as many as 49 seats.

Public Policy Polling indicated several caveats to the results. The surveys were conducted during a high-profile budget crisis debate, a year before the elections will take place. And incumbent Republican candidates were compared to “generic Democrats,” who may not represent the actual candidates each district will see.

“Democrats must recruit strong candidates and run effective campaigns in individual districts if they are to capitalize on the vulnerability revealed by these surveys,” Public Policy Polling’s Jim Williams said of the caveat, “and they must maintain a significant national advantage over Republicans.”

Recent polls conducted by the Pew Research Center and NBC/Wall Street Journal are consistent with the survey’s claim that the Republican party took a hit from the fiscal crisis. Pew found that more Americans blamed Republicans for the shutdown, and NBC/Wall Street Journal found that the Republican party was “badly damaged” by it.

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Filed under 2014 Mid-Term Elections

6 long-term effects of the government shutdown

Got a flu shot? Good, but the CDC is now more than two weeks behind in tracking the viruses.

The Week

The pain has just begun

Now that the first government shutdown in 17 years is over and we’ve avoided defaulting on the debt (at least for a little while), life in America is returning to normal. Federal employees are going back to work. Museums and parks across the country are reopening. The panda cam at the National Zoo is up and running again.

But that doesn’t mean we won’t be feeling the consequences of the shutdown and debt ceiling fiascoes (sic) in the weeks, or maybe even months, to come. Thanks to the political theater in Washington, the full faith and credit of the U.S. government has once again been called into question and an already shaky economic recovery has been handed a major setback. It’s going to take some time to dig out of this self-inflicted hole.

Let’s take a look at six lasting effects of the fiscal brinkmanship:

1. GDP growth will likely decline
We’ve all heard anecdotes about restaurants remaining empty and family vacations being canceled because of the shutdown, but shuttering the government has been a tremendous drag on economic growth. Economists at Moody’s Analytics estimate that the shutdown caused a drop of 0.5 percentage points in gross domestic product, while Standard & Poor’s believes it “shaved” at least 0.6 percentage points off GDP growth in the fourth quarter of this year.

That amounts to taking roughly $24 billion out of the economy. Slower growth will send a signal to companies that it’s not time to invest, which in turn could lead to fewer jobs being created. Fewer jobs mean a slowdown in spending, and the cycle continues.

2. The veteran disability claims backlog grew
Eric Shinseki, secretary of Veterans Affairs, testified before Congress on Oct. 9 that the budget impasse was hampering his agency’s ability to rectify a massive backlog in disability claims. Hundreds of thousands of veterans — many of whom have been in limbo for more than a year — have been waiting for their claims to be approved and to start receiving disability checks. The VA had been making some progress before the shutdown. Between March and September, claims processors decreased the backlog to 418,000, from 611,000.

But the shutdown forced the furlough of 7,800 employees within the Veterans Benefits Administration, and the backlog grew again. The VA is still tabulating the damage that was done, but some estimates indicate as many as 2,000 cases may be affected.

3. CDC lost ground tracking the flu
It’s flu season, which means that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would normally be at work tracking viruses. This year, however, researchers lost almost three critical weeks to study whether the current crop of flu viruses will respond to anti-viral medication and whether the flu vaccine will be effective.

“It’s going to take us some time to assess where we are so we can salvage what we can,” said CDC spokeswoman Barbara Reynolds. It’s not clear how long it will take to get the research back up to speed, since 85 percent of flu trackers were sent home during the shutdown. “We’re trying to figure out what the priorities are,” said Reynolds. “The sooner in the flu season that we do these things, the better.”

4. Consumer confidence has plummeted
The shutdown undermined confidence in the economy, which slid in October to its lowest level in nine months. According to Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan, consumer confidence fell on their index to 75.2 in October, from 77.5 in September. Another gauge, the Bloomberg Consumer Confidence Index, dropped 22 points from September to October.

When people don’t feel good about the economy, they tend to spend less. A recent survey commissioned by Goldman Sachs found that a whopping 40 percent of Americans cut spending because of the shutdown. That’s a problem heading into the holiday season, which is when retailers bring in a healthy portion of their revenue. “The timing is terrible from that perspective because the retail sector has been having a rocky year,” said Joe Fuller, a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School. “People are anxious about what’s going on in Washington, and so they’re saying it’s a good time to be prudent and save money.”

5. Research was disrupted
There are scores of research projects funded by the federal government, most of which were put on hold during the shutdown. Clinical trials for cancer patients were delayed. Scientists are scrambling to save data sets that track constantly changing ecosystems. And the 16-day hiatus affected research of annual arctic sea ice, climate change, and planetary exploration, just to name a few.

Furthermore, the National Science Foundation will most likely have to delay reviewing and awarding grant proposals. “If people have funding, they can continue, yes,” Stephen Merrill, director of science, technology, and economic policy at the National Research Council, told The Washington Post. “But anybody caught between grants or dependent on a new grant, or even the extension of an existing grant, they’re all directly impacted.”

6. Interest rates may increase
There are several factors that explain why interest rates go up and down, but the latest round of debt ceiling negotiations have creditors a little jumpy. (JPMorgan Chase sold all of its short-term Treasury holdings last week.) Rating agencies in the U.S. and abroad have signaled they aren’t pleased with members of Congress openly advocating for default.

Before a compromise was reached, Fitch Ratings put the U.S. on notice that its credit rating may be downgraded. “That immediately ripples through to pricing,” said Fuller, noting that lenders will want to adjust their interest rates to cover the additional risk. “When anybody who owes somebody money makes a credible threat that they are not going to pay, a prudent lender says that borrower is riskier than I thought.”

Even though Washington finally agreed to raise the borrowing authority until Feb. 7, Dagong, one of China’s four biggest credit rating agencies, dropped the U.S.’s rating from A to A- because the same political theater may repeat itself in four months.

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Filed under Government Shutdown

The torch has been passed to a new generation of Republicans

Sadly…

Born in the XXIst century, tempered by nothing, disciplined by a hard and bitter government shutdown, proud of their ancient confederate heritage, and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those privileges to which the white majority has always been committed, and to which they are committed today at home and around the world.

H/t:  Don Babets

 

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Filed under TEApublicans

Rachel Maddow Sums Up The Shutdown In One Incredible Graphic

“Through this process, Republicans said they would shut down the government, or, once it was shut down, they would refuse to open the government unless they got each one of these things. Of all of these things that they demanded, they got none of them! None…these have been sixteen bad days for the country and the economy.”

 

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Filed under GOP

Q&A: What’s the state of the debt limit fight today?

Congress had until Sept. 30 to raise the debt limit to avoid a partial government shutdown. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The Washington Post

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.

What’s going on right now?

Democrats and Republicans in the Senate are in a mad dash to finalize a deal to reopen the government and avoid breaching a Thursday deadline to raise the federal debt ceiling. (The debt ceiling is scary and gets its own primer here.)

When will they reach the deal?

Hopefully today.

What will the deal involve?

Details are still up in the air, but it’s likely to have a four main elements:

– Reopen the government and fund it through Jan. 15, 2014.
– Raise the debt limit through Feb. 7, 2014, but allow federal borrowing to continue for a few weeks longer.
– Require additional measures, favored by Republicans, to ensure that people who receive financial help in buying health insurance under President Obama’s Affordable Care Act are being honest about their income.
– Set up a negotiating committee to try to come up with a longer-term budget plan so we don’t go through this again early next year. The committee would be expected to issue budget recommendations by Dec. 13. Should it fail, agencies would have more flexibility to implement the deep cuts to domestic and Pentagon spending, known as sequestration, that took effect earlier this year.

When would the government open and the crisis be over?

As soon as both houses of Congress pass the deal and President Obama signs it.

When will the deal pass the Senate?

A deal could be passed as soon as Wednesday if all senators agree. If a single senator refuses to allow an immediate vote on the measure (looking at you, Ted Cruz), it could take several days. Cruz is reportedly being pressured by his Republican colleagues not to hold up any vote.

Will the deal pass the House?

(J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Big choices ahead for the Speaker. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Hard to say. When a Senate deal was progressing on Tuesday, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) unveiled his own proposal that nearly undermined all the movement in the Senate. But that effort failed, and Boehner has in the past allowed a vote on critical legislation when he is facing a deadline. Any Senate measure would likely pass the House with the support of most Democrats and a substantial number of Republicans.

That sounds pretty uncertain to me.

Unfortunately, true.

How long do lawmakers have to get the deal done?

It really should get done by Thursday. That’s when the government no longer can borrow any money and basically will be running on fumes. That’s the day we hit the debt ceiling deadline.

After the debt ceiling deadline is breached, there might be a couple of days, or even a week, of breathing room, as the Treasury Department uses up whatever’s left in the federal piggy bank.

But soon enough, there won’t be enough money to make all payments, and the Treasury  might have to delay or suspend Social Security checks, food stamps and tens of billions of dollars in payments. In effect, the government would begin defaulting on its obligations.

Treasury would have only daily tax receipts to pay for the government, which amount to only 70 cents for every dollar of federal spending over the next month. And that could cause financial market chaos and a recession.

It sounds like the world doesn’t actually end tomorrow if Congress takes more time to figure things out.

That’s correct — at least due to a government default. There could always be a massive asteroid or alien invasion that does end the world.

Be serious. What is the precise date when Congress has to act to make sure we avoid lots of economic problem?

The sooner the better, but we don’t have an absolute fixed date. Federal finances tend to be unpredictable. Markets could freak out at any time, though we can’t say with certainty when that will happen.

Assuming this deal makes it through, who’s won and who’s lost?

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

He can be giddy. But just a little. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

What a simplistic way of thinking about things! But since you asked, it seems pretty clear in this round of the budget wars, President Obama and the Democrats will have outmaneuvered their Republican opponents.

House Republicans decided to shut down the government in hopes of major changes t othe health-care law. None is in the offing.

Senate Republicans reluctantly went along with that strategy — at least for a while. In the meantime, the GOP brand was badly beaten up in the polls.

Prognosticators now guess that Republicans could have a very hard time winning the Senate in 2014 – even though the electoral map is stacked against the Democrats. But the House still looks safe for the GOP.

Meanwhile, Obama and Democrats stayed firm to their view that they would not pay a “ransom” in order to accomplish the basic tasks of keeping the government open and raising the debt limit.

Hold up one second. Hasn’t Obama been forced to compromise to raise the debt ceiling and open the government?

Not really. Obama is giving the flimsiest of fig leaves to the Republicans — a promise to do a better job ensuring that people who report their income to get help buying health insurance under the health-care law are actually reporting their income properly. There were already some assurances in the health-care law, so all the president is promising is an additional layer of scrutiny.

So is it all wonderful for Obama and Democrats?

Nope. The truth is that for all the drama, they’re getting little out of this deal. They don’t roll back the deep spending cuts known as sequester — a policy that is eating away at domestic priorities like education and research and development. They don’t get new money to spend on jobs or an immigration bill.

They just get a political win. And they avoid an economic disaster.

Once this crisis is over, what happens next?

Well, per the outlines of the agreement, both Republicans and Democrats would assign lawmakers to a committee to hash out a broader budget plan for the coming year. These joint efforts have not had success in the past, and we’ve gone years without a formal budget.

But hope dies hard. For Democrats and Republicans alike, the basic question in the committee will be whether they find a way to roll back the sequester, which is due to launch a new round of budget cuts in January.

Democrats hate the sequester, because it’s basically the opposite of the vision of domestic investment they’ve long campaigned on. Republicans are more ambivalent, but there are many in the GOP who don’t like how deeply it cuts Pentagon spending.

The most likely path to replacing part of the sequester is to make cuts to mandatory spending — like healthcare programs or farm subsidies — instead. On a practical level, Republicans and Democrats agree that mandatory spending is better to cut since it’s the long-term driver of our debt. But mandatory spending has pretty entrenched constituencies — such as the elderly or farmers — which makes such cuts difficult to achieve.

A bigger budget deal — the elusive “grand bargain” — could also be considered as part of the conference. But any discussion of significant changes to mandatory spending usually leads Democrats to insist on new taxes, which has been a deal-breaker for the GOP.

What happens if the committee fails to come to an agreement and we’re back in January with new deadlines?

Most likely, neither side will want a new fight over government funding or the debt ceiling with the mid-term elections fast approaching. So they’ll just extend everything once again, leaving (albeit more flexible) sequester cuts in place, and the voters will decide what they want come November.

Like that’s worked well in the past.

Fair point.

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Filed under Debt Ceiling, Washington

Lowdown on the shutdown in 3 minutes

CNN Politics

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October 13, 2013 · 10:26 AM

House Republican Tells Furloughed Federal Workers To Take Out Loans to Pay Their Bills

furloughed-worker

Furloughed Worker

The unmitigated gall of this self-righteous millionaire SOB!  The GOP has never understood the working class in this country…

PoliticusUSA

House Republican Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) told federal workers who have been furloughed by the government shutdown that they should go into debt by taking out loans to pay their bills.

Here is what the millionaire tea party congressman advised furloughed federal workers to do to make ends meet during the government shutdown (Via Progress Now New Mexico):

pearce-loans

Pearce showed no sympathy for the millions of people being impacted by the government shutdown that he supports. He demonstrated his missing relationship with reality by suggested that, “Financial institutions often offer short-term loans.” It is easy for a rich person like Pearce to walk into a bank and get a loan, but there isn’t a bank in this country that would give a loan to a person who has no current source of income, and no idea when they are going to be paid. (Some banks are stepping up to a degree, but they are placing limits on how much help they are offering.)

Rep. Pearce is also advising people to go into debt during his government shutdown. Notice that the tea party congressman doesn’t offer to help the people that are being economically damaged by the shutdown that he voted for.  Federal employees are the innocent victims of the House Republicans’ ideological war against the ACA.

Pearce is one of the House Republicans who refuses to vote for a government funding bill unless there are changes to Obamacare.

The reason why this government shutdown is killing the Republican Party is that it is exposing the Republicans for who they really are. Out of touch millionaires like Steve Pearce don’t understand why the government shutdown is hurting people. I suspect that Mr. Pearce is blaming the furloughed workers for their own plight. He assumes that they could get through the shutdown just fine if they would run over to the bank and get some more money. That’s easy, right?

It’s easy if you are a millionaire congressman, but difficult to impossible to survive this type of economic uncertainty if you are anyone else. During the government shutdown, many Americans are learning what people who follow politics understood long ago. House Republicans don’t care about working class people. They don’t care that their shutdown is hurting millions. They don’t care that people can’t eat, or pay their bills.

If House Republicans like Steve Pearce don’t care about you, then you should repay the favor by not voting for them in 2014.

 

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Filed under 113th Congress, Tea Party Politicians, TEApublicans

Jon Stewart Goes Off On ‘Bipartisan Curious’ Republicans Who Won’t Come Out Against The Shutdown

The Huffington Post

As the government shutdown continues, we keep hearing about those moderate Republicans in the House who would vote for a clean continuing resolution, if only Speaker Boehner would allow a vote.

Jon Stewart wonders, however, if there are so many of them, why don’t they force the issue? Watch above as he and Al Madrigal discuss the “bipartisan curious” Republicans who care more about keeping their government paychecks than everyone else getting theirs.

 

 

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John Boehner On Debt Ceiling: Not Threatening Default Would Be ‘Unconditional Surrender’

The Huffington Post

Less than two hours after President Barack Obama turned up political pressure on Republicans to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the president was looking for “unconditional surrender.”

“The president said today if there’s unconditional surrender by Republicans, he’ll sit down and talk to us,” Boehner said Tuesday. “That’s not the way our government works.”

The Ohio Republican addressed reporters just outside his office to rebut Obama’s earlier press conference. His message to the president was clear: The ongoing government shutdown and pending debt ceiling deadline would not be resolved without negotiations.

“It’s time to have that conversation,” Boehner said. “Not next week, not next month — the conversation needs to begin today. The long and short of it is, there’s going to be a negotiation.”

Boehner ducked a question on what would happen if Congress found itself in the final minutes before a debt ceiling breach without an agreement, reiterating the need to talk.

Obama placed a call to Boehner earlier in the day, to reaffirm his position that Republicans should pass ‘clean’ bills, with no strings attached, to end the government shutdown and to increase the debt ceiling. Boehner said it was a “pleasant” conversation, but he was left “disappointed.”

House Republicans unveiled a new strategy Tuesday to deal with both the shutdown and the looming debt ceiling crisis: a bipartisan negotiating team, resembling 2011′s supercommittee, that would hash out a deal to solve both issues. Senate Democrats showed little interest in the idea, and plan to bring a clean bill to the floor this week that would extend the debt limit through the end of 2014.

“All we’re asking for is to sit down and have a conversation,” Boehner said. “There’s no reason to make it more difficult to bring people to the table. There’s no boundaries here. There’s nothing on the table, there’s nothing off the table. I’m trying to do everything I can to bring people together and have a conversation.”

Both Obama and Democrats said they would be willing to have that conversation, but only after Republicans reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), the House Budget Committee’s top Democrat, also pointed out that Republicans did not include tax reform in the so-called negotiating team’s points of discussion, making the prospects of a deficit-reduction deal unlikely.

If no breakthrough is made in the next week, Congress will move dangerously close to the Oct. 17 deadline for the government to breach the current debt limit. Economists have warned the consequences of default may include sending stock and bond markets into nosedives and tipping off another recession.

Boehner said he agreed with the president that the consequences of default would be severe.

“I didn’t come here to shut down the government,” Boehner said. “And I certainly didn’t come here to default on our debt.”

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Filed under Debt Limit