Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 8:19 am
The federal government shutdown is now in its second week, and one big reason for the division in Washington is the growing divide between different kinds of voters back home. Those differences make news on Election Day, but they're visible every day.
Members in both parties find less and less common ground, in part because their constituents have such contrasting notions of government's proper role. And those contrasting visions often coincide with contrasting lifestyles — evident in many of the choices they make.
The U.S. Supreme Court re-entered the debate over money and politics on Tuesday, hearing arguments in a case that could further erode limits on campaign cash.
Just three years ago, a narrow 5-to-4 conservative majority ruled that corporations are people, entitled to spend unlimited amounts on candidate elections as long as they do it separately from candidates' campaigns. On Tuesday, the court moved on to grapple with direct contributions to campaigns — in particular the aggregate limits on contributions by wealthy donors.
Robert Siegel interviews Sen. Mark Warner (VA-D), about why it's so hard to pull together moderate Democratic and Republican senators together to try and come up with ideas for ending the government shutdown and to avoid government default.
House Republicans had a closed door meeting this morning, and emerged with the same talking point they've used all week: They just want to negotiate with the president. President Obama quickly gave his response: He will not negotiate over the government shutdown or the debt ceiling.
President Obama held a news conference at the White House Tuesday to urge Republicans to vote on a bill to reopen the government, saying it was time to focus on the next issue: raising the debt ceiling.
On Tuesday, House Speaker John Boehner urged Democrats to negotiate on budget and debt issues. In a phone call, President Obama told Boehner he is open to talks, but not until the current crises are over.
Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 11:54 am
President Obama phoned House Speaker John Boehner on Tuesday morning to tell him that he's open to discussing Republicans' fiscal ideas, but not until the government shutdown is over and the federal debt ceiling has been raised.
Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 1:14 pm
Federal employees aren't the only ones feeling the heat in Week 2 of the government shutdown.
D.C. bars and restaurants are also getting nervous about just how long their customers will be out on furlough — and how that might dent their bottom line. While attendance at local happy hours was up in the past week, according to some reports, there are serious concerns about whether that can last with so many government workers sent home.
Good morning, fellow political junkies. It's Day 8 of the partial shutdown of the federal government. Among the only certainties: many federal workers are a day closer to missing a paycheck and the nation is a day closer to hitting the debt ceiling.
When it comes to political deal-making, former House Speaker Dennis Hastert speaks from experience.
"I always had a feeling whenever I had to negotiate ... you really needed to make sure that you knew where the hole in the box was, so if you got in there, you could get out of it again," says the Illinois Republican, who was speaker from 1999 until 2007.
Hastert tells NPR's Steve Inskeep that he can't say whether House Republicans now have themselves in a box in the government shutdown fight because "we don't know what the end of this thing is yet."
As the seventh day of the federal government shutdown wraps up, Congress and the White House appear no closer to reaching a budget agreement.
Without much action Monday, a slew of newly released polls filled the news vacuum. While they showed that both parties are taking a hit over the shutdown, it appears Republicans are bearing the brunt of the blame from the American public.
The federal government remains shut down over a budget stalemate, but California's Gov. Jerry Brown decided not to wait for Congress to make decisions on the Gordian knot that is U.S. immigration policy. On Saturday, Brown signed into law a group of bills related to immigration because, he said, enough time has passed.
"While Washington waffles on immigration, California's moving ahead," Brown stated. He added, with trademark bluntness, "I'm not waiting."
The government is just 10 days away from defaulting on its debt. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has said that by Oct. 17, the department will likely have less money on hand than it needs to pay all its bills.
"The reality is that if we run out of cash to pay our bills, there is no option that permits us to pay all of our bills on time, which means that a failure of Congress to act would for the first time put us in a place where we're defaulting on our obligations as a government," Lew said on NBC's Meet The Press on Sunday.
Republican South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley announces her candidacy for a second term in August, with South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott (from left), Govs. Rick Perry of Texas, Scott Walker of Wisconsin, and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.
Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 2:23 pm
The federal government shutdown has given governors across the country an opportunity to take part in one of their favorite pastimes: scolding Washington.
Among Republicans, though, there appears to be some disagreement over exactly who's to blame for the latest budget impasse.
One camp of GOP governors — often those in blue states or with national ambitions (if not both) — has largely chastised all parties involved. They're eager to distance themselves from Washington and portray themselves as results-oriented "outsiders."
In other immigration news, California Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law a measure that makes it harder for federal immigration officials to detain people believed to be in this country illegally. The new state law, called the Trust Act, restricts local police from holding undocumented immigrants without serious criminal records and turning them over to immigration authorities. NPR's Richard Gonzales reports.
The government shutdown was a plan months in the making — the brainchild of a constellation of dozens of conservative groups — according to Sheryl Gay Stolberg, who co-wrote an article about it in The New York Times. The report describes a conservative blueprint that linked funding the government with undoing Obamacare.
One week into the federal shutdown and the reviews are coming in in the form of public polls. The Pew Research Center has a new poll out today that shows widespread public frustration, but also deep partisan differences about how to relieve that frustration. Michael Dimock is the director of the Pew Center. Welcome to the program once again.
MICHAEL DIMOCK: Hi, Robert.
SIEGEL: I gather the answer to the question, whom do you blame for the shutdown is that depends on which people you ask.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Coming up, diplomats around the world continue to pay close attention to the events in Syria and Iran, but one scholar explains why we shouldn't forget about Egypt. That's in a few minutes.
People who for years had planned to be boating down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon right about now instead found themselves on Saturday camping in a parking lot because of the government shutdown.
Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 3:30 am
As the partial government shutdown nears the start of its second week, Democrats say the only way out is for House Republicans to pass a clean spending bill to re-open the government with no changes to the Affordable Care Act. Some Republicans agree. So why don't moderate House Republicans rise up, and do something to end the shutdown?
Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 3:22 am
A partial shutdown of the federal government is now in its seventh day. At the heart of the impasse is a political battle. For the government to re-open, Republicans are insisting on big changes to President Obama's signature health care law. This is not the first time there's been GOP resistance to a new social welfare program that was advocated and signed into law by a Democratic president.
When the rest of the government shuts down for a blizzard, the U.S. Supreme Court soldiers on. And so it is that this week, with the rest of the government shut down in a political deep freeze, the high court, being deemed essential, is open for business.
It is, after all, not just any week for the justices. It is the opening of a new term.
With a government shutdown nearing its second week, there were no signs of a new deal in Washington Sunday. But several leaders are speaking out about the impasse, even as they look ahead to the next battle: an Oct. 17 deadline to raise the U.S. debt ceiling.
When House Speaker John Boehner was asked on ABC's This Week about the possibility that he might present a "clean" funding bill that doesn't attack the new health care system in the Affordable Care Act, the Ohio Republican said there was no point.