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.
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.
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.
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.
Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 4:51 pm
As more than 800,000 government employees were sent home this morning, the staff at Washington, D.C.'s Sixth & I Historic Synagogue opened "Shutdown Central," a gathering space for furloughed locals to work and play.
Of the hundreds of thousands of federal workers not working because of the shutdown, many are, of course, here in Washington, D.C. The region is home to dozens of federal agencies, from Homeland Security to the Environmental Protection Agency. NPR's Allison Keyes spoke with some of those affected.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
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For the first time in 17 years, the U.S. government has shut down, at least in part. Some 800,000 federal workers are being furloughed. Over a million other essential civilian employees remain on the job, but it's unclear when they'll be paid. Speaking in the White House Rose Garden today, President Obama said he blames Republicans.
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And I'm Audie Cornish. It hasn't even been a day since lawmakers failed to come to an agreement over a spending bill to keep the government open, but in less than 24 hours, the impact of the shutdown is already evident around the country and we're not just talking about government workers. Children are affected, too. About 19,000 kids won't be able to attend Head Start, a federal education program for preschoolers.
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Amidst all this talk of a government shutdown, another big story has gotten less attention today. It's the first day people can sign up for health coverage on the new insurance exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act. To get a sense of how things are going, we'll hear several reports throughout the program. In a moment, we'll take you to Florida, where Governor Rick Scott has fought hard against the law.
This week's government shutdown could be just a warmup for an even bigger budget battle in a couple of weeks.
Congress has to raise the limit on the amount of money the federal government is allowed to borrow by Oct. 17. If the debt ceiling is not raised on time, President Obama warns that Washington won't be able to keep paying its bills.
"It'd be far more dangerous than a government shutdown, as bad as a shutdown is," Obama said Tuesday. "It would be an economic shutdown."
Among the things House Republicans are asking for in the ongoing spending battle is an elimination of health benefits for members of Congress and their staff. As the law now stands, congressional staff are required to buy their health insurance on the Affordable Care Act exchanges and the federal government will help pay for their plans.
House Republicans say that kind of assistance amounts to a special subsidy. But as NPR's Ailsa Chang reports, taking away the health benefit would amount to a large pay cut.
Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 4:53 pm
If you're wondering how long the shutdown will last, well, don't hold your breath.
As of this writing, there are no indications that talks are underway — or even in the offing.
Indeed, the Democratic-controlled Senate rejected House legislation Tuesday morning calling for a House-Senate conference to try to settle the disagreement behind the first federal government shutdown in 17 years.
Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 12:08 pm
Update at 8:18 p.m. ET. Impasse:
As first day of a federal government shutdown came to a close, Congress was not any closer to a resolution.
Case in point: Republicans in the House proposed three bills that would have reopened national parks, the Department of Veteran's Affairs and kept the D.C. government afloat. But all three bills didn't even make it out of the House.
John Boehner might not have the worst job in politics, but not many people envy the House speaker these days.
The GOP rank and file won't listen to him, grass-roots conservatives don't trust him, and Democrats say he can't deliver votes.
For a man who occupies the most powerful position in the House, Boehner's inability — or, possibly, his unwillingness — to persuade his fellow House Republicans to accept a budget without delaying or blocking parts of the Affordable Care Act has resulted in the first government shutdown since 1996.
President Obama spoke with NPR in the Oval Office on Monday, as a visiting group of young people in suits got a tour of the Rose Garden outside the windows. The most striking part of our encounter in this moment of crisis was how familiar the atmosphere seemed.
President Obama says he's tired of the seemingly never-ending rounds of budget crises.
"When it comes to Congress paying its bills ... we cannot be a country that is lurching every two months or three months from crisis to crisis to crisis," Obama said in an interview Monday with NPR's Steve Inskeep.
Yet that is precisely the situation the president finds himself in.
Before parts of the government began shutting down, the House and Senate bounced a series of stopgap spending bills between the chambers. The House would insert language to delay or limit the president's health care law, and the Senate would reject the Obamacare language and send the bill back. The two chambers did not reach an agreement before the midnight deadline.