Fox News Report
After triggering a partial government shutdown for the first time in 17 years, the question now is: Can Congress and the White House compromise?.
Lawmakers spent all day Monday shuttling bills back and forth between the House and Senate, coming no closer to an agreement over a crucial spending package. House Republicans insisted on changes to ObamaCare as part of the budget bill, while Senate Democrats and President Obama adamantly refused.
Republicans are giving it another go Tuesday morning, trying to persuade Senate Democrats to come to the negotiating table.
But at an impasse as of the midnight deadline, the gears of government began to slow down.
Here’s the upside. Hundreds of thousands of federal workers will remain on the job. Though it’s been a long time since the last one, this marks the 18th shutdown since 1977. Mail will still be delivered, Social Security checks will go out and, thanks to a last-minute bill, the military will continue to get paid.
Still, the impact of the shutdown will begin to be felt across the country, as other agencies cut back their staff and national parks and other locations close down — a situation that will put increasing pressure on Congress as the hours and days drag on to reach an agreement.
The Senate is back in session Tuesday morning, as House Republicans try to pressure the chamber to once again consider a counterproposal that would pare back ObamaCare, a major portion of which launched on Tuesday. For the second time, House Republicans voted early Tuesday morning to endorse an approach that delays the law’s individual mandate while prohibiting lawmakers, their staff and top administration officials from getting government subsidies for their health care.
The latest twist was for Republicans to urge the Senate to form a so-called conference committee — a bicameral committee where lawmakers from both chambers would meet to resolve the differences between the warring pieces of legislation.
The House has already begun appointing representatives to that committee, even though Senate Democrats said late Monday they would not agree to that approach unless and until the House approves a “clean” budget bill. The Senate is expected to once again kill the Republican measure when it convenes Tuesday morning.
The debate is as much a political one as it is an effort to figure out a way to reopen the government.
Lawmakers spent the final minutes before midnight trying to assign blame to the other side of the aisle. Republicans are no doubt wary of the blowback their party felt during the Clinton-era shutdown, while Democrats were almost eager to pile the blame on the GOP.
“This is an unnecessary blow to America,” Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said.
House Speaker John Boehner claimed that Republicans are the ones trying to keep the government open but “the Senate has continued to reject our offers.”
Ahead of the deadline, the White House budget office ordered agency heads to execute an “orderly shutdown” of their operations due to lack of funds. Americans will begin to feel the effects of a shutdown by Tuesday morning, as national parks close, federal home loan officers scale back their caseload, and hundreds of thousands of federal workers face furlough.
The question now is how long the stand-off will last. Congress is fast-approaching another deadline, in mid-October, to raise the debt limit or face a U.S. government default. Lawmakers presumably want to resolve the status of the government swiftly in order to shift to that debate.
Throughout the day Monday, lawmakers engaged in a day-long bout of legislative hot potato.
The House repeatedly passed different versions of a bill that would fund the government while paring down the federal health care overhaul. Each time, the Senate said no and sent it back.
The rhetoric got more heated as the deadline neared.
“They’ve lost their minds,” Reid said of Republicans, in rejecting the latest proposal.
“Senate Democrats have made it perfectly clear that they’d rather shut down the federal government than accept even the most reasonable changes to ObamaCare,” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell countered.