Shutdown battle: There's talk about talk

House Republicans might vote to avert default if White House will negotiate deficit reductions, changes to health care law
Associated Press
Oct 8, 2013


After weeks of gridlock, House Republicans floated broad hints Tuesday they might be willing to pass short-term legislation re-opening the government and averting a threatened default — in exchange for immediate talks with the Obama administration on measures to reduce deficits and change the nation's three-year-old health care law.

"I suspect we can work out a mechanism to raise the debt ceiling while a negotiation is underway," said Rep. Tom Cole, an Oklahoma Republican, who is close to Speaker John Boehner.

"I want to have a conversation," Boehner told reporters. "I'm not drawing lines in the sand. It is time for us to just sit down and resolve our differences."

The White House responded with marginally less bellicose language of its own without yielding on its core demands in the latest test of divided government.

President Barack Obama told Boehner in a phone call he would be willing to negotiate "over policies that Republicans think would strengthen the country" once the eight-day partial shutdown was over and the threat of default eased.

The events unfolded as the stock market sank for the second day in a row. And in the latest in a string of dire warnings, the International Monetary Fund said failure to raise the $16.7 trillion borrowing limit later this month could lead to a U.S. government default that might disrupt global financial markets, raise interest rates and push the U.S economy back into recession.

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has said the deadline for Congress to act is Oct., 17, setting that as the day the government will exhaust its ability to borrow funds and will have to rely day-to-day on tax and other receipts to pay its bills.

In the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid readied legislation to raise the debt limit by roughly $1 trillion, enough to prevent a recurrence of the current showdown until after the 2014 elections.

It was unclear whether Senate Republicans would slow progress of the bill, which was shorn of all items that many GOP lawmakers favor to reduce deficits or delay the health overhaul, which takes effect more fully on Jan. 1.

Inside the Capitol, the threat of a default overshadowed the continuing partial government shutdown, in its eighth day with little or no talk of an immediate end. An estimated 450,000 federal workers are idled at agencies responsible for items as diverse as food inspection and national parks, although all employees are eventually expected to receive full back pay.

In the House, majority Republicans announced plans to pass legislation reopening Head Start, the pre-school program for disadvantaged children. It is the latest in a string of bills to end the shutdown in one corner of government or another in hopes of forcing Democrats to abandon their own demands for a full reopening of the federal establishment.

Republicans also announced they would vote to make sure federal workers on the job don't miss their next regularly scheduled paycheck on Oct. 15.

In a potentially more significant political development, a third vote was expected on legislation to create a House-Senate working group on deficit reduction and economic growth. The 20-member panel would be empowered to recommend steps to raise the debt limit and reduce spending, including in so-called direct spending programs — a definition that appears broad enough to encompass benefit programs like Medicare and Social Security as well as the health care law that Republicans oppose.

The measure does not contain any provision to end the shutdown or raise the debt limit, although it could be amended to include them at a later date if a compromise emerges.

The shutdown began more than a week ago after Obama and Senate Democrats rejected Republican demands to defund "Obamacare," then to delay it, and finally to force a one-year delay in the requirement for individuals to purchase health care coverage or face a financial penalty.

It was not a course Boehner and the leadership had recommended — preferring a less confrontational approach and hoping to defer a showdown for the debt limit. Their hand was forced by a strategy advanced by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and tea party-aligned House members determined to eradicate the health care law before it fully took root.

That portion of the strategy was doomed to failure, since money for the health care program was never cut off.

With the government partially shut down, Boehner and the GOP leadership decided to allow the closure showdown to merge with one over the debt limit.

Officials who attended a closed-door meeting of the Republicans' House rank and file said Boehner had told lawmakers they were in the midst of a tough fight and Obama and Reid were trying to "annihilate" them.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said the current showdown isn't about Obamacare or the government shutdown, but about the constitutional balance of power between the president and Congress.

Democrats ridiculed the legislation to create a working group of lawmakers, likening it to a supercommittee that failed two years ago to reach a compromise on measures to cut future spending.

At the same time, there were signs of early maneuvering for political position in case the group is established.

"They claim they want to talk about deficit reduction, but their bill immediately rules out talking about closing tax loopholes to help get our fiscal house in order," said Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md..

"It's just more of the same from Speaker Boehner and his tea party caucus."



The Big Dog's back

Shove it teathuglicans.

Darwin's choice

An old Social Security card with the "NOT FOR IDENTIFICATION" message.
Our Social Security

Franklin Roosevelt, a Democrat, introduced the Social
Security (FICA) Program. He promised:

1) That participation in the Program would be
completely voluntary,

No longer Voluntary

2) That the participants would only have to pay
1% of the first $1,400 of their annual
incomes into the Program,

Now 7.65% plus 7.65% the employer pays
On the first $90,000.

3) That the money the participants elected to put
into the Program would be deductible from
their income for tax purposes each year,

No longer tax deductible

4) That the money the participants put in went to the
Independent 'Trust Fund' rather than into the
General Operating Fund, and therefore, would
only be used to fund the Social Security
Retirement Program, and no other
Government program, and,

Under Johnson the money was moved to
The General Fund and spent.

5) That the annuity payments to the retirees would never be taxed
as income.

Under Clinton & Gore
up to 85% of your Social Security can be taxed.

Since many of us have paid into FICA for years and are
now receiving a Social Security check every month --
and then finding that we are getting taxed on 85% of
the money we paid to the Federal government to 'put
away -- you may be interested in the following:

------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- ----

Q: Which Political Party took Social Security from the
Independent 'Trust Fund' and put it into the
General Fund so that Congress could spend it?

A: It was Lyndon Johnson and theDemocratically
controlled House and Senate.

------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- --

Q: Which Political Party eliminated the income tax
deduction for Social Security (FICA) withholding?

A: The Democratic Party.

------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- -----

Q: Which Political Party started taxing Social
Security annuities?

A: The Democratic Party with Al Gore casting the
'tie-breaking' deciding vote as President of the
Senate, while he was Vice President of the U.S.

------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- -

Q: Which Political Party decided to start
giving annuity payments to immigrants?


A: That's right!

Jimmy Carter and the Democratic Party.
Immigrants moved into this country, and at age 65,
began to receive Social Security payments! The
Democratic Party gave these payments to them,
even though they never paid a dime into it!

------------ -- ------------ --------- ----- ------------ --------- ---------

Yep, Big Dog, that's not a teat you're sucking on!

There you go again

Yep, Big Dog and others, let's keep increasing the debt ceiling....
Let's double it....
Let's triple it....
You don't care what are children have to face as long as it is good for you. Yep, that has become the American way (to some people)!!!!!

thinkagain's picture

It's just more of the same from President Obama and his free spending caucus. Their only solution…raise taxes. Shut it down, shut it all down…


ThinkAgain: sorry to burst your bubble, but it was a free-spending George Bush who took us from a budget surplus to a multi-trillion dollar deficit, and brought us into the biggest recession since the 1930's. Of course, when you greatly increase spending while simultaneously cutting taxes (incoming revenue), the only option is to put everything on a credit card, which is what Bush did.

The deficit has been cut in half under Obama' but I'm guessing you didn't know that, right?


I applaud what Clinton did to reduce the size and scope our our Federal spending, he did not really reduce the deficit, his budgets excluded military and social security and those are the biggest parts of federal spending, he just slowed the growth of other programs, and for that I applaud him, but he did not really drive surpluses.


coasterfan writes:

"The deficit has been cut in half under Obama,"

And he did that exactly how?

Not-to-worry about raising the federal debt ceiling; just have "Bubble Ben" crank out a few trillion more to further help prop up this moribund economy.

The New World Czar

Here is good view from the Land Down Under on Bernanke's performance, enjoy.


Let's put another Republican president in office - then we'll all be picking fleas off each other for food.


Isn't that what you have been doing to Piddle Puppy?


I've got one for you , right in my arse.


I am not surprised you have fleas, and your special friend crawling around in your arse.


That " special friend " is you.


Darwin's choice

Doubt it, your head is in the way.


Not done eating yet , Dummies choice ?


The Republicans are losing the American public on this one. They have found themselves in the corner and not too many there to help them out. I just love Eric Cantor's comment that this is not about the shutdown or Obamacare it's about the constitutional balance of power between the president and Congress. Oh Really???? Cantor was spinning a totally different story 2 weeks ago but then that was before he and his ultra conservative Republicans are losing in the polls.

My my you just can't write better fiction than the Republicans are spinning here in Washington politics. I can hardly wait for Nov 2014 and see how the voters deal with the ultra conservative congressmen,


You're right.

Darwin's choice

Watch this , and tell us its allright??

Moron Democrats, led by that cure for the four hour erection, Nancy Pelosi.


Speaking of erections , how are you and John Boehner doing ?


Fox news --- LOL !!!

Right !
I'm going to believe you because Fox News said so.


Out of Iraq.


I am happy that you have realized that, a year and a half or so after it was done. Congratulations.