With Congress recessed, members trade blame on impending federal shutdown

Senate remained in weekend recess, refusing to come back until its scheduled return at 2 p.m. Monday.
TNS Regional News
Sep 29, 2013


As the nation moved closer to a government shutdown Tuesday, the political protagonists traded blame Sunday over whose fault it will be if federal employees are furloughed and some federal services are closed.

The Republican-controlled House was in recess Sunday after voting overnight to keep the government funded through Dec. 15, but delay implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The Democratic-controlled Senate remained in weekend recess, refusing to come back until its scheduled return at 2 p.m. Monday. And President Barack Obama remained out of sight Sunday.

``Tomorrow, the Senate will do exactly what we said we would do and reject these measures," said Adam Jentleson, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. ``At that point, Republicans will be faced with the same choice they have always faced: put the Senate's clean funding bill on the floor and let it pass with bipartisan votes, or force a Republican government shutdown.''

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, accused the Senate of trying to milk the shutdown clock — which tolls Monday at midnight — by not taking up the House measure until Monday. That would give Congress only 10 hours to avert a shutdown.

“If the Senate stalls until Monday afternoon instead of working today, it would be an act of breathtaking arrogance by the Senate Democratic leadership,” Boehner said in a written statement. “They will be deliberately bringing the nation to the brink of a government shutdown for the sake of raising taxes on seniors’ pacemakers and children’s hearing aids and plowing ahead with train wreck that is the president’s health care law.”

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who has spearheaded efforts to force a showdown over the health-care law, blamed Reid for being stubborn and refusing to compromise.

“So far Majority Leader Harry Reid has essentially told the House of Representatives and the American people, ‘go jump in a lake,’” Cruz said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “He said, ‘I’m not willing to compromise; I’m not willing to even talk.’ His position is 100 percent of Obamacare must be funded in all instances, and other than that, he’s going to shut the government down.”

About two dozen House members gathered on the steps outside a closed Senate chamber Sunday to draw attention to the Senate’s absence.

“The Senate not being here, Harry Reid is off on his own somewhere, is all the evidence you need to know they want to shut down the government,” said Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Ark. “I personally believe that Sen. Reid and the president, for political purposes, want to shut down the government.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., insisted Sunday that his party isn’t angling for a shutdown.

“Americans do not want a government shutdown and they do not want Obamacare,” McConnell said.

Democrats maintained that a shutdown is part of the Republican strategy. Former President Bill Clinton, appearing on ABC’s “This Week,” accused House Republicans and the tea party of trying to dictate “over the Senate, over House Democrats, over the speaker of the House of (their) own party and over the president.” He urged Obama to stand firm.

“They’re mad because they don’t want to negotiate. It seems almost spiteful,” said Clinton, who was president during government shutdowns in 1995 and 1996. “There’s nothing to negotiate with. He shouldn’t delay the health care bill. It’s the law. And we’re opening the enrollment on Oct. 1.”

Here’s how Congress got to this state:

— The Senate passed a measure Friday to keep the government running through November 15. It got no Republican support.

— The House Sunday voted to keep the government open through Dec. 15, with its plan to delay the health-care law, permanently kill a tax on medical devices that would help finance the law after that, and added a “conscience clause” to the health care law allowing employers to deny women contraception coverage.

— The House and Senate were both in recess Sunday;

When the Senate returns Monday, Reid plans to try to “table,” or basically kill, the House plan. That would need 51 votes, which should be easy to get in the Senate, where Democrats control 54 seats.

If as expected the measure is tabled, the budget bill would go back to the House without the changes it approved Sunday — “clean,” in legislative terms. The House would then be pressured to reconsider the Senate plan. If the House agreed before midnight, the government would stay open. If not, parts of the government would shut down.

“I am willing to work with anyone to improve the Affordable Care Act, but changes to the health care law should be debated through an open legislative process, not through a hostage-taking stunt,” said Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, D-N.H.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., suggested that the House and Senate appoint a conference committee with an “equal number of Republicans and Democrats” to work out their differences.

“You could appoint one today; they could meet tomorrow and hash out the differences,” Paul said on “Face the Nation.”

The chances of that happening in today’s harshly partisan atmosphere on Capitol Hill are slim.

The number of conference reports, written agreements on legislation negotiated between selected House and Senate members, has dropped from 257 during the 1973-1975 Congress to just 10 during the 2011-2013 Congress.


By William Douglas and David Lightman - McClatchy Washington Bureau (MCT)

©2013 McClatchy Washington Bureau

Visit the McClatchy Washington Bureau at www.mcclatchydc.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services



I appeal to all Americans to go to the polls in nov and recall everyone in Washington House Senate as well as the President . Kick them all out and Lets start all over and have the american public vote a brand new Goverment and I believe if this is done , We just might start getting things done in America . Its time to take Washington back and let these folks in Washington know we are tired of all the false promises and we demand to get the job done that should have been done a long time ago .
There is no good reason why we can not balance the budget as well as get things done to keep the U.S going and going in the right direction .
Its time for us {the voters } to say to Washington that we are sick the death of taxes and lack of jobs as well as the House as well as the SENATE TAKEN US FOR GRANTED . I am saying that we need to get with it and get the things done that needed to be done ,
If this Goverment goes and ends up on shut down , it tells me that the egos are running this country and not men and women
We all seen what happened this last time they{ the House and Senate}could not do the job that we hired them to do and cuts went across the board and affected areas like Airports as well as other areas and not to mention they are holding hostage the very funds that are paying the very people that are keeping our country as well as other areas around the world safe .
Its time for you me and every voter across this country to say enough is enough and if the house as well as the senate can not put the egos and agendas on the back burner , then they need to either step down and be forced out on Election DAY . AND TAKE THIS COUNTRY BACK



@ gene44870:

'Somewhat' second your sentiment.

To paraphrase Wm. F. Buckley Jr.:

I would rather be governed by the first 2000 people in the Norwalk phone book than the entire elected body of the U.S. government.


Not withstanding the fact that not one senator, U.S. representative, or president is up for re-election, it wouldn't help at all. Almost all 536 new ones would be bought and paid for almost immediately by the "special interests". Until you take their influence (money) out of Washington, nothing will change.




Re: "Until you take their influence (money) out of Washington, nothing will change."

Hate to "break it to ya," but "getting money outa politics" has been tried for over 100 yrs.


The "Iron Triangle" of govt. (bureaucrats & elected officials), industry (public & private) and paid lobbyists ain't gonna go away.


As is said: YOUR "special interest," MY lobbyist.



Microsoft "thought" that they were just a technology co. and had no interest in Washington or politics.

Then during the 1990s the DOJ sued Microsoft on anti-trust charges.

Ya know what Microsoft eventually did?

Hired themselves lobbyists in order to help protect their interests in DC.

AND, they started donating to politicians!

Govt.'s got NUTHIN' on the Mafia when it comes to paying for protection.

Cliff Cannon

@Buckeye15, gene 44870 & Contango : THE only major thing,I for one would disagree with you 3 on. Is the amount of time " big money " has been in charge,not only here. But literally everywhere.

Personally, I say 'big money' has ruled forever. Normally, not quite as blatantly selfish as it now rules in our country.

Still, when hasn't the 'man with the gold ' made the rules ? All of which has forever left those of us not dealt 4 aces asking for a re-deal. While those holding the Aces smile smugly and pretend not to hear.


@ CC:

Occupy Wall St. "occupied" the WRONG city.


In the Soviet Union, they were referred to as the Nomenklatura (the Political Ruling Class).

Cliff Cannon

@ Contango: " Occupy Wall St. "occupied" the WRONG city "


Dr. Information

Obama is quite the hypocrite. He wants compromise but is unwilling to do so himself. Red flag. Also, Washington has lawfully opted out of Obamacare. Red flag.

Its a sad state we are in. I say shut down Washington. I read about what would be shut down and its nothing of importance. It's time to make a stand. Cut things to reign in this deficit. No more ceiling expansion.


Cut all the foreign aid and we will have the money for health care pluss!!

Kottage Kat

R A P T U R E.


Re: "R A P T U R E."

IMO, ain't gonna help.

Based on certain Biblical passages, it would appear that heaven's just ANOTHER bureaucracy.

Cliff Cannon

@ Contango : So you have read it. And to think the nuns thought you were a heretic in school. :)


@ CC:

Priests, not nuns.

An example:

"In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you." (JN 14:2)

Reads like the need for zoning, streets and sanitation, etc.

Swedenborg professed that the afterlife was not dissimilar from this existence.


Cliff Cannon

@ Contango : Swedenborg is as tough to understand, as he is hard to forget.

P.S. I can see why the priests, requested transfer's from St.Paul's :)


Bozo said some time ago we were no longer a Christian Nation as well he is a Muslim.Well,I guess sending weapons and money to Syrian Rebel's that cut off the heads of Christian's is kind of obvious !Where is the outrage from The Christian Community,I guess he is right.The DNC said at their convention they didn't want Gun Totin Redneck Christians in their party.There are 70 million Catholics in this country and it took 50 million of them to elect this bozo,yet they march in Pro Life Parades.I know those hypocrites will never speak up.Don't stand on that separation of church and state,I have seen live footage of those Nazi's at mass as well.Lets see how that works out for them !


Don't poop your pants, this garbage has happened 18times before. We are peasants in their kingdom.