As Democrats and Republicans continue to blame each other for being unwilling to negotiate, a small group of House conservatives have driven the debate in Washington. Even though polls show the public is not happy about the government shutdown, conservative media outlets have provided plenty of support for Republicans on Capitol Hill. And they've rallied their community through TV, the radio and social media. NPR national political correspondent Don Gonyea reports.
For now, though, we turn to the other big story of the day, and that's the government shutdown. We're in day three, and there's little sign of a compromise at this point. Republicans insist they're willing to negotiate on a spending bill to fund the government. Democrats say a short-term spending bill is no place to negotiate the new health care law.
Now we're going to sort through the various interpretations of what is or isn't going on to resolve the government shutdown with NPR's congressional reporter Ailsa Chang. Hi there, Ailsa.
AILSA CHANG, BYLINE: Hi there.
CORNISH: So we heard the congresswoman mention these various bills the House is pushing to fund different popular departments of the government. But at the same time, Senate Democrats are saying no to a partial government reopening. So how are they justifying that position?
Before the shooting this afternoon, President Obama used an appearance at a construction company in suburban Maryland to press Congress on both the government shutdown and the looming debt ceiling deadline. He warned that if the debt ceiling is not raised, the country would face an economic shutdown. President Obama again called on Republicans and specifically House Speaker John Boehner to act swiftly to end the government shutdown.
Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 4:52 pm
(Updated at 6:50 p.m. ET with RNC numbers)
The government shutdown might be bad for federal employees, but it's turning out to be a boon for political fundraising.
Party committees and outside groups on both sides of the aisle have latched on to the latest Washington budget crisis, using the moment to rile their bases and fill their coffers for the 2014 campaign.
Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 1:30 pm
The Treasury Department is issuing a warning of dire economic consequences that could rival the Great Recession if Congress is unable to agree on raising the debt ceiling and the nation defaults on its obligations.
First there was the attention paid on Tuesday when a group of WWII veterans (with some help from Republican members of Congress and their staffs) ignored barricades and went through with their long-planned visit to the site.
Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 6:16 am
Good morning, fellow political junkies. As we enter Day 3 of the federal government shutdown, the impasse appears no closer to a solution. Nothing like a way forward seemed to come from President Obama's White House meeting Wednesday evening with congressional leaders.
But, then, we didn't expect much from it since the president's people said he wouldn't be negotiating.
A gate leading into the Joshua Tree National Park California is latched (though not locked) because of the partial government shutdown. Though national parks are technically closed, <a href="http://www.npr.org/2013/10/03/228719015/national-parks-close-as-other-public-lands-stay-open">national forests remain open</a> — they're too large to close.
Abbey Whetzel has a 12-year-old son named Sam who has been at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Maryland for over a month. He has leukemia that is no longer treatable. And in this difficult time, one source of joy has been the therapy dogs that come to visit the sick kids.
"They can only come once a week, but it's the highlight of Sam's week," says Whetzel. But this week, she says, her son got some bad news. "They came and stopped in, and told Sam that the therapy dog wouldn't be coming because of the government shutdown."
All right. The partial government shutdown could take an especially painful toll on American veterans. The most serious consequences will not come unless the shutdown continues for weeks. Those consequences would include cutting off disability and education benefits. Politicians on both sides have scrambled to show their support for vets, but as NPR's Quil Lawrence reports, veterans applying for new benefits may already be suffering.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pauses outside the West Wing of the White House after meeting Wednesday with President Obama, House Speaker John Boehner, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
As the leader of Senate Democrats, Harry Reid has been in a lot of fights — but this one may be different, in that Reid has drawn a line.
Throughout the weeks leading up to the shutdown, through four votes in the Senate with not a single defection from the Democratic caucus, and once again after the meeting at the White House, Reid has rejected any of the changes in the Affordable Care Act that House Republicans have demanded as a condition for funding the federal government.
Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 7:12 pm
Day 2 of the federal government shutdown found President Obama summoning congressional leaders to the White House to urge House Republicans to pass legislation to reopen agencies and raise the debt ceiling to avoid a first-ever default by the U.S. (Nothing was resolved; here's the story.)
Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 3:59 pm
There's nothing like a government shutdown to make people angry about government, or at least the politicians who are running things.
"The people we have in the Senate and the House of Representatives, I don't know who they're working for, but they're not working for us," says Larry Abernathy, an insurance broker in St. Louis. "I think both parties are useless."
It's a widely shared belief. People in this Midwestern city may be far removed from the back and forth of the budget debate that has paralyzed Washington, but the partial shutdown is very much on their minds.
While almost all of NASA's employees have been furloughed because of the government shutdown, ground control activities for the International Space Station are still operational. Above, astronaut Chris Cassidy on a spacewalk aboard the ISS on May 11.
Staff at the International Space Station's flight control room in Houston will remain on duty during the government shutdown to keep operations running at the orbiting outpost.
If ET wants to phone home, this is not the week to do it. NASA's phone lines are down, as are its website and many Twitter feeds. All have been silenced by the government shutdown, whose far-reaching consequences are now stretching into space.
The shutdown began on Tuesday, after Republicans and Democrats in the House of Representatives failed to come to an agreement over the federal budget. Most of the government's nonessential services have ground to a halt, and among the hardest hit agencies is NASA.
And finally to the national parks. In total, 401 park service sites have been closed due to the government shutdown, ranging from Yellowstone and Yosemite to Civil War battlefields and the Statue of Liberty. And the many memorials along the National Mall here in Washington are barricaded: Lincoln, Jefferson, World War II.
The director of the National Park Service, Jon Jarvis, told me even sites like those that may not seem to require park service supervision do.
A Senate hearing today focused on the shutdown's impact on national security. Intelligence leaders told lawmakers they could not guarantee the safety of the country because most civilian intelligence workers are furloughed. NPR's Larry Abramson has that story.
They've been sequestered, furloughed and told to work without pay. Meanwhile, they still have mortgages, bills and kids in college. How is the shutdown affecting hundreds of thousands of federal workers?
Scott Lee can look down the limestone cliffs and see the Colorado River cutting through the Grand Canyon. But what's maddening is he can't get on the river. Today, Lee was planning to get in a raft and launch a 20-day trip down the Colorado. But his group of 16, including his 13-year-old son, whom he pulled out of school in New Hampshire for this trip of a lifetime, can't get started.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish. Day two of the government shutdown is nearing its finish with no end in sight. President Obama is gathering the four top Congressional leaders to the White House this evening, but it's really just one person he'll need to persuade, House Speaker John Boehner.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid celebrate the open enrollment of the Affordable Care Act on Tuesday. During the government shutdown, the Democrats have been more unified than they have been in a long time.
President Obama has been railing against Republicans in Congress nearly every day this week.
"One faction of one party in one house of Congress in one branch of government shut down major parts of the government," he said in the White House Rose Garden on Tuesday. "All because they didn't like one law."
He's expected to take that message on the road on Thursday, visiting a construction company in Maryland to talk about the impact of the shutdown on the economy.
And that finger-pointing at Republicans is sure to be part of his speech again.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, you've probably heard a lot about the Stand Your Ground law in the death of Trayvon Martin, but you might not have heard about the woman who said she just fired a warning shot at her abusive husband and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Now her case is getting a second look, and we'll talk about that in just a few minutes.
Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 6:20 pm
The big fight among members of Congress over the Affordable Care Act could spell big pay cuts — as much as $12,000 — for their employees.
How is this possible? Congressional staffers are most likely wondering the same thing.
Look back to the drafting of the act four years ago. At the time, Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley argued that if the health insurance exchanges were good enough for ordinary Americans, they should be good enough for members of Congress and their staff members. Democrats went along with his argument, and it was included in the law.
Veterans who came to Washington Tuesday to see the World War II memorial on the National Mall were able to complete their visit, although the memorial — like other federal museums and memorials — was officially closed to the public.
Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 6:33 pm
Day 1 of the federal government shutdown, 2013 edition, was business as usual, at least when it came to each side trying to win the message war and keep the pressure on the political opposition in the hope of getting them to blink first.
President Obama had a White House Rose Garden event to mark what also was the first day individuals were able to enroll in the Affordable Care Act's health insurance exchanges. With real people who would benefit from the law arrayed behind him in a photo op, he used the moment to blast Republicans.
Pat Barnes of Hanover, Md. waits for her train at Union Station in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 1, the first day of the government shutdown. Barnes is a federal employee and was sent home early in response to the shutdown.
Credit Meredith Rizzo / NPR
Kirk Douglas from Martinsburg, W.Va. boards a train at Union Station in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 1, the first day of the government shutdown. "I think it's a sad day for the United States," he said. "People travel from all around the world to come see the Smithsonian, and now they're closed. It kind of makes us look like immature, bickering children to the rest of the world."