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The Democrats’ Shutdown

- October 4, 2013

The White House Won’t Negotiate To End The Government Shutdown – Because They Don’t Care How Long It Lasts

Senior Obama Administration Official, On The Government Shutdown: “It Doesn’t Really Matter To Us” How Long The Shutdown Lasts. “Said a senior administration official: ‘We are winning...It doesn't really matter to us’ how long the shutdown lasts ‘because what matters is the end result.’” (Carol E. Lee and Peter Nicholas, “White House’s Hard Line On Shutdown, Debt Ceiling Has Risks Attached,” The Wall Street Journal, 10/3/13)

Yesterday, Obama Reiterated “And That's Why I've Said This Before -- I'm Going To Repeat It:  There Will Be No Negotiations Over This.” (President Barack Obama, Remarks On The Government Shutdown, Rockville, MD, 10/3/13)

Instead Of Taking Leadership To End The Shutdown, Obama “Is Keeping His Distance”

“As He Deals With A Standoff That Could Scramble The Politics Of His Second Term, Obama Has Adopted A New Approach To Congress: He Is Keeping His Distance.” “Now, two years later, Obama waited more than 40 hours after the federal government was shut down to invite Boehner and the other top congressional leaders to the White House for a sit-down, which appeared to involve little negotiating. As he deals with a standoff that could scramble the politics of his second term, Obama has adopted a new approach to Congress: He is keeping his distance.” (Kathleen Hennessey and Christi Parsons, “Obama Keeps Congress At Arm’s Length In Government Shutdown,” Los Angeles Times, 10/2/13)

  • Two Years Ago, Obama Employed A Markedly Different Strategy, Engaging “In Nearly Daily Negotiations.” “In 2011, with the government dangling on the edge of default, President Obama and House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) engaged in nearly daily negotiations. There were regular phone calls, talks and red wine at the White House. There were blow-ups, make-ups and then a deal.” (Kathleen Hennessey and Christi Parsons, “Obama Keeps Congress At Arm’s Length In Government Shutdown,” Los Angeles Times, 10/2/13)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) Is “Perhaps The Leading Proponent Of The White House’s Hands-Off Approach.” “But some Democrats, who have pushed Obama to take a harder line with House Republicans, were wary of the president's overture. They argued that such efforts had served primarily to provide political cover for Boehner, when he could not deliver the votes. Reid, perhaps the leading proponent of the White House's hands-off approach, distanced himself from what appeared to be a slight diversion from that strategy. ‘I've been invited to a meeting; I'm going to go to the meeting,’ Reid said.” (Kathleen Hennessey and Christi Parsons, “Obama Keeps Congress At Arm’s Length In Government Shutdown,” Los Angeles Times, 10/2/13)

Former Obama Press Secretary Robert Gibbs Suggested Obama “Just Sit Back And Watch.” “But the White House is sensitive to the perception that it is taking the advice of former Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, who on Tuesday suggested that Obama ‘just sit back and watch.’” (Kathleen Hennessey and Christi Parsons, “Obama Keeps Congress At Arm’s Length In Government Shutdown,” Los Angeles Times, 10/2/13)

“Obama Is Sticking To His Stance That He Won't Negotiate With Republicans Over The Government Shutdown Or The Higher-Stakes Fight Over The Federal Debt Ceiling.” “President Barack Obama is sticking to his stance that he won't negotiate with Republicans over the government shutdown or the higher-stakes fight over the federal debt ceiling. The question, for Republicans and White House allies alike: How long will that resolve last?” (Kathleen Hennessey and Christi Parsons, “Obama Keeps Congress At Arm’s Length In Government Shutdown,” Los Angeles Times, 10/2/13)

Instead Of Negotiating, Democrats Are Blocking Republican Efforts To Restore Critical Funding And End The Shutdown

House Republicans Have Passed Five Spending Bills To Reopen Parts Of The Government. “The House passed a Veterans Affairs spending resolution on Thursday, the fifth ‘mini’ spending bill of the week that was sent to the Senate in an effort to reduce the impact of the government shutdown. In a 259-157 vote, members passed the Honoring Our Promise to America's Veterans Act, H.J.Res. 72.” (Pete Kasperowicz, “Veterans Affairs Spending Bill Passes House, Goes To Senate,” The Hill, 10/3/13)

  • The House Passed Funding For Veterans – Which Included The Support Of 35 Democrats. “That resolution won the support of 35 Democrats, showing that there is some level of bipartisan support for passing bills that re-open parts of the government.” (Pete Kasperowicz, “Veterans Affairs Spending Bill Passes House, Goes To Senate,” The Hill, 10/3/13)
  • The House Passed Funding For National Guard And Military Reserve Programs – Which Included The Support Of 36 Democrats. “The House on Thursday passed legislation that would fund the National Guard and military reserve programs, the fourth bill Republicans have moved in an effort to reduce the impact of the government shutdown. Members passed H.R. 3230, the Pay Our Guard and Reserve Act, in a 265-160 vote. The bill won the support of 36 Democrats and every Republican member.” (Pete Kasperowicz, “House Sends Bill Funding National Guard, Military Reserves To Senate,” The Hill, 10/3/13)
  • The House Has Also Approved Bipartisan Legislation To Restore Funding For The District Of Columbia, The National Institutes Of Health, And The National Park Serivce. “The House approved three targeted spending resolutions to the Senate Wednesday, daring Senate Democrats to vote against measures to immediately fund the District of Columbia, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Park Service. The bills are part of the House Republican plan to pass spending bills in areas where there is bipartisan agreement in order to spare some pieces of the government from the shutdown.” (Pete Kasperowicz, “House Passes Bills To Fund DC, Parks And Medical Research,” The Hill, 10/2/13)

Senate Democrats Have Ignored The House-Passed Legislation. “As of Thursday, the House has sent the Senate five narrow spending bills, but the Senate has ignored them so far. Earlier today, Senate Democrats objected to calling up two of those bills, and have not indicated it will hold any votes on them.” (Pete Kasperowicz, “Veterans Affairs Spending Bill Passes House, Goes To Senate,” The Hill, 10/3/13)

  • When Asked Why He Wouldn’t Support Funding For The National Institutes Of Health And Clinical Trials For Cancer Patients, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Responded, “Why Would We Want To Do That?” DANA BASH: “You all talked about children with cancer unable to go to clinical trials. The House is presumably going to pass a bill that funds at least the NIH. Given what you’ve said, will you at least pass that? And if not, aren’t you playing the same political games that Republicans are?” HARRY REID: “Listen, Sen. Durbin explained that very well, and he did it here, did it on the Floor earlier, as did Sen. Schumer, And it’s this. What right did they have to pick and choose what part of government is going to be funded? It’s obvious what’s going on here. You talk about reckless and irresponsible. Wow. What this is all about is Obamacare. They are obsessed. I don’t know what other word I can use. They’re obsessed with this Obamacare thing. It’s working now and it will continue to work and people will love it more than they do now by far. So they have no right to pick and choose.” BASH: “But if you can help one child who has cancer, why wouldn’t you do it?” REID: “Why would we want to do that?” (Sen. Harry Reid, Senate Press Briefing, Washington, D.C., 10/2/13)

Obama Has Also Vowed To Veto The House-Passed Bills. “The White House on Wednesday renewed its vow to block the piecemeal funding approach pushed by House Republicans. In a statement of administration policy, the White House called that approach ‘not a serious or responsible way to run the U.S. government,’ promising that the president would veto the measures the House is considering if they were to reach his desk..” (Peter Schroeder, “White House Vows Veto For Piecemeal GOP Spending Measures,” The Hill, 10/2/13)

  • White House Press Secretary Jay Carney Dismissed Efforts By Republicans To End The Shutdown: “It’s A Gimmick … It’s Not Serious.” QUESTION: “Jay, House Republicans are willing to vote funding to reopen national parks, museums, memorials, veterans’ payments and the D.C. government.  Why is the White House against it?  Why not take what you can get?” JAY CARNEY:  “Because that's not how this works.  It’s a gimmick and it is unsustainable and it’s not serious.  And the lack of seriousness in their approach has been demonstrated again and again and again, and this is yet the latest iteration of that.” (White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, Press Briefing,  Washington, DC, 10/2/13) 

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