Quotes of the day

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Friday that the Senate is done acting on legislation to avert a government shutdown and that House Republicans have no choice but to pass the Senate’s bill if they want to keep the government open.

“I want everyone to listen and to hear: The United States Senate has acted,” Reid said on the Senate floor. “This is the only legislation that can avert a government shutdown, and that time is ticking as we speak.”…

“In the meantime … if Speaker [John] Boehner [R-Ohio] wants to avoid a government shutdown, he will pass our resolution,” he said. “Otherwise, it’s a government shutdown.”


With a government shutdown less than three days away, the House is charging toward delaying Obamacare for one year and repealing the medical device tax in exchange for funding the government, several sources tell POLITICO…

It’s a small group of conservatives that have tied the hands of Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) — just enough Republicans to prevent the leadership from being able to exert its will…

Boehner tried to avert a government shutdown by seeking to direct angst over Obamacare to the debt ceiling fight, where he thought Obama would want to cut a deal that would include replacing the sequester. He first proposed using the debt ceiling vote as a backstop — something Republicans could look forward to if they didn’t get their way in the CR fight. But the rank-and-file rejected that strategy. Then, leadership sought to have a debt ceiling vote before the one on government funding. Rank-and-file Republicans rejected that as well, saying they wanted to see what the ultimate resolution in the CR battle before committing to raising the debt ceiling.


Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., said he thought “red state Democrats” would ultimately take the bait on Obamacare-related provisions, naming vulnerable Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, Mark Begich of Alaska and Kay Hagan of North Carolina.

Lamborn also said he wasn’t sure the Senate can act “that quickly” given its scheduled return on Monday at 2 p.m., and suggested that he thought a shutdown of “a matter of hours” — twelve at the most — was looking likely

A senior Democratic member told CQ Roll Call that Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, was sending GOP emissaries to key Democratic offices to take the temperature of what they would and wouldn’t accept in a CR deal. Boehner’s office denied that such an effort was in play.


Representative Tom Graves of Georgia announced on Friday that he and 61 of his colleagues would insist on a one-year delay of “Obamacare,” which is set to launch on October 1, as a condition of funding the government and averting a shutdown…

Representative Shelley Moore Capito, a seven-term West Virginia Republican, told Reuters she had “no idea what’s going to happen.”…

“There’s a lot of exasperation by those of us who want to move the ball forward and in a rational way,” Capito said. “By rational, I mean trying to achieve the achievable.”

“There is a lot of frustration because there is absolutely no way to please certain members. That’s frustrating to all of us become it becomes an internal battle. Some of us feel we are in a circular firing squad,” Capito said.


“If the government shuts down, it’s not what you think it would be. I have actually experienced that,” [Lindsey] Graham said. “If anybody creates a process where our military doesn’t get paid, and their families, they’re going to make an enemy … of me for life.”…

“I will do everything in my power to make sure that our men and women in uniform, and our law enforcement officers and intelligence community who’s fighting a war while we argue among ourselves get paid,” Graham said.


[GOP Rep. Richard] Hudson told reporters he was more worried about the impact of Obamacare going into effect for his constituents than any fallout from a possible government shutdown.

“I don’t see a long-term economic impact. I think the impact of all the jobs we’re going to lose because of Obamacare is much worse,” Hudson said.

Cole disagreed and said a shutdown would affect millions of Americans and result in job loss. He took a jab at fellow Republicans who downplayed the fallout for their party, saying “Politically, anybody who thinks it’s not high-risk is not playing with a full deck. It’s an extraordinary high risk for not much gain.”


“We were able to extract a great deal from the shutdown and could’ve gotten even more had we pressed further,” Gingrich said. “The challenge was that [Senate Leader] Dole was going to run for president. He had been a good partner to us in the Senate, and the situation put him in a real bind.”

Gingrich frames the prospects of shutdown as something Republicans shouldn’t be afraid of, as long as they can make the case the policies they are advocating for are tied directly to the economy and job growth.

“What the American people are seeing in Washington today are three factions: the Democrats, who have no interest in negotiating; The accomodationist Republicans, who just want everything to stay the same and for people to get along and go along; And the conservative reformers who recognize the need for real, dramatic change,” Gingrich said. “The first two factions are only interested in avoiding blame. The third is willing to take a hit from the elite media if what comes out at the end is real cuts to government spending, real reforms, real help for the economy and job growth.”…

“We are approaching, two years from now, the 900th anniversary of the Magna Carta. The idea that elected representatives of the people can use the power of the purse to negotiate. Barack Obama is not a monarch. Boehner should tell the president he has til Thanksgiving to golf, and then he needs to come negotiate,” said Gingrich.


Here’s the problem, though. Every time he cuts one of those deals, he ups the odds angry conservatives will try to replace him. Mindful of their tenuous position, GOP leaders have been trying to head off the shutdown by promising members an even tougher confrontation on the much scarier debt limit. If Boehner gets through the shutdown and debt limit fight without drawing blood, that could be the last straw for House conservatives.

So how does he get around this dynamic? Some observers think Boehner’s best option might be to just let the tea party wing shut down the government. That way they get their big confrontation out of their system now — and suffer the political and economic consequences — instead of a few weeks later when the more dangerous debt limit kicks in.

“If a shutdown is avoided, it is likely to be because congressional Republicans have opted to wait and push for policy concessions on the debt limit instead,” Goldman Sachs economist Alec Phillips wrote in a research note. “By contrast, if a shutdown occurs, we would be surprised if congressional Republicans would want to risk another difficult situation only a couple of weeks later.”


Like an insistent teenage driver, determined to see how fast he can take that blind curve on a rainy road at night, the GOP seems unwilling to abandon its particular brand of brinkmanship until it winds up in the emergency room. If that’s the case, mightn’t it be better to let the crash happen, if only so the reconstruction can start?

In a Washington in which serial crisis over basic business has become the new norm — and the Republicans’ default negotiating posture has all the bluster of the Cowardly Lion’s “Put ’em uuup! Put ’em uuup!” — perhaps the thing to do is accept the worst. If the latest go-round is simply another ritualized prelude to a temporary solution, another melodramatic installment of “As the World Turns,” then what’s the point? Won’t the same cast be back next month, or next year, battling the same problem?…

But Erskine Bowles, Simpson’s co-chair on the bipartisan fiscal commission, who lived through the last shutdowns as a senior White House aide to Bill Clinton, said the Republicans now “have themselves in a box.”

“And it’s a box we’ve got to do everything we can to help them get out of. As bad a shutdown would be, it’s not disastrous. It’s bad, it’s silly, it’s stupid, it does hurt people. But it’s not disastrous. Default would be catastrophic and not just for the United States but for the world at large. We’re the world’s reserve currency.”


That’s why I’m rooting for a shutdown and you should be too — at this point, it’s the safest way to jolt Washington back to its senses

1. A shutdown would be far less costly than default. Unless Congress acts, most government agencies will shut down on Tuesday. This would inconvenience millions and waste plenty of money, but it wouldn’t affect “mandatory” programs, such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, or nutrition assistance. Americans would be angry. The stock market might drop. But we’ve lived through this before. By contrast, a default would be catastrophic. Markets would plummet. Interest rates would rise, probably permanently, because lenders would price in the now-very-real risk of default, making everything from mortgages to cars to college educations more expensive. The government itself would also face higher borrowing costs — a Treasury Department study found that a single percentage-point increase in interest rates would cost taxpayers an additional $150 billion a year. Worst of all, a default would almost certainly snuff out the recovery and bring on another recession.

2. We’d quickly find out which party Americans support. One powerful driver of Washington dysfunction is the certainty among partisans of both camps that Americans secretly agree with them and would rally to their side during a shutdown. In April 2011, when Republicans first demanded concessions to pass a continuing resolution, many hoped for a shutdown because they thought the Tea Party movement that had rebuked Democrats in the midterm elections would rise up once again. Today, many Democrats want a shutdown because polls show Republicans would be blamed. Some Republicans disagree. “I think Americans would side with the people who are fighting against a law they know is unfair,” says Heritage Foundation president Jim DeMint, the godfather of the “defund Obamacare” movement. A shutdown would make clear who is right and who is wrong, removing the temptation for another showdown.

3. Congress might start working again.


If Congress doesn’t pass a budget by Monday – the end of the fiscal year – the government shuts down, along with many vital services the American people depend on. On Friday, the Senate passed a bill to keep the government open. But Republicans in the House have been more concerned with appeasing an extreme faction of their party than working to pass a budget that creates new jobs or strengthens the middle class. And in the next couple days, these Republicans will have to decide whether to join the Senate and keep the government open, or create a crisis that will hurt people for the sole purpose of advancing their ideological agenda.

Past government shutdowns have disrupted the economy. This shutdown would, too. At a moment when our economy has steadily gained traction, and our deficits have been falling faster than at any time in 60 years, a shutdown would be a purely self-inflicted wound…

The American people have worked too hard to recover from crisis to see extremists in their Congress cause another one. And every day this goes on is another day that we can’t continue the work of rebuilding the great American middle class.