In the USA...United Surveillance AmericaUS shutdown: Republicans threaten to take debt limit fight to the brink
White House rules out using legal veto to force Congress's hand as economists warn of potentially catastrophic standoff
Dan Roberts in Washington and Dominic Rushe in New York
theguardian.com, Friday 4 October 2013 12.17 BST
The White House has ruled out using a legal veto to force Congress to extend the US debt limit as conservative Republicans threaten to take what the Treasury described as a potentially catastrophic economic standoff to the brink of a 17 October deadline.
President Obama had been encouraged by senior Democrats to call the bluff of hardline Republicans who want to add a debt limit refusal to an existing spending impasse that has already shut down much of the federal government.
Some Democrats argue that powers granted under the 14th amendment to the constitution, which was introduced to control southern states after the civil war, would allow the president to unilaterally borrow money if there was such a threat to the credit-worthiness of the US.
"Using the 14th would show the Republicans he means business," one former aide to Bill Clinton told the Guardian last week.
But the White House ruled out the option on Thursday, ending days of Washington debate about whether this obscure legal authority might provide a way out for Obama – at least from one half of Republicans' fiscal pincer movement. "The administration does not believe the 14th amendment gives power to the president to ignore the debt ceiling," said spokesman Jay Carney.
"The fact that there is significant controversy around the president's authority to act unilaterally means that it would not be a credible alternative to Congress raising the debt ceiling and would not be taken seriously by the market."
With options dwindling for forcing Republicans to drop their fight, Obama faces a protracted battle linking both spending and borrowing authority in a combined budget standoff.
Some conservative lawmakers are even questioning administration insistences that Congress must increase the debt limit by 17 October.
Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, one of several Republicans who first urged speaker John Boehner to link the budget with their demands to scrap healthcare reform, said the government shutdown may change the debt deadline by slowing down spending. "I don't know if the drop dead date on the debt limit is going to be 17 October because the government is not spending any money now," he told the Guardian. "This might get pushed back a little bit further."
Sensenbrenner also argued that public sympathy was shifting towards Republicans as the government shutdown wore on. "What I'm hearing from the public, mostly from phone calls that we get here and in my Wisconsin office, is that for a while Republicans were getting blamed for stonewalling but after Sunday – when we sent five proposals over to the Senate – the pendulum is starting to swing the other direction," he said.
"Where the public is at now is a lot different than in previous debt ceiling fights including August 2011. People are concerned about the debt because the debt has really ballooned and the president has got to be much more specific and convincing than just saying we've got to raise it so the government can pay its bills."
Earlier on Thursday, the US Treasury insisted that the shutdown would not affect its estimate of when the government would run out of cash, and warned that the US was heading toward a catastrophic event that could plunge the country into financial crisis.
A default would be unprecedented and has the potential to be catastrophic," Treasury said in a report. "The negative spillovers could reverberate around the world, and there might be a financial crisis and recession that could echo the events of 2008 or worse," the report said.
A row over the debt ceiling in 2011 led to a historic downgrade of the US's debt and panic on stock markets worldwide. "As we saw two years ago, prolonged uncertainty over whether our nation will pay its bills in full and on time hurts our economy," Lew said.
"Postponing a debt ceiling increase to the very last minute is exactly what our economy does not need – a self-inflicted wound harming families and businesses. Our nation has worked hard to recover from the 2008 financial crisis, and Congress must act now to lift the debt ceiling before that recovery is put in jeopardy."
The report came as US investors appeared to be getting increasingly nervous about the impact of the government shutdown and the upcoming debt ceiling debate. The Dow was down more than 160 points in morning trading and has closed down eight of the last 10 trading days.
The Treasury report said that the last row over the debt ceiling, which was resolved at the 11th hour, had persistent, negative consequences on the wider economy. "The financial markets stress that developed in August of 2011 persisted for many months. Then, as now, the economic expansion was vulnerable to adverse shocks," Treasury said.
Even the possibility of a default could decrease household wealth, increase borrowing costs and shake business confidence, the report said. "In the event of a default, the US economy could be plunged into a recession worse than any seen since the great depression."
The US dollar and Treasury securities are at the center of the international finance system. In the catastrophic event that a debt limit impasse were to lead to a default on Treasury securities, financial markets could be shaken to their core as was seen in late 2008," the Treasury said.
The Treasury reached its borrowing limit in May and has been using "extraordinary measures" to fund payments ever since. Treasury secretary Jack Lew expects to exhaust those measures by 17 October and the congressional budget office expects the nation could start defaulting on obligations by 22 October unless swift action is taken.
October 3, 2013G.O.P. Elders See Liabilities in Shutdown
By JONATHAN MARTIN
WASHINGTON — The hard-line stance of Republican House members on the government shutdown is generating increasing anger among senior Republican officials, who say the small bloc of conservatives is undermining the party and helping President Obama just as the American people appeared to be losing confidence in him.
From statehouses to Capitol Hill, frustration is building and spilling out during closed-door meetings as Republicans press leaders of the effort to block funding for the health care law to explain where their strategy is ultimately leading.
“Fighting with the president is one thing,” said Senator Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri. “Fighting with the president and losing is another thing. When you’re in the minority you need to look really hard to find the fights you can win.”
The complaints come from fervent opponents of the president’s health care overhaul, who say that the shutdown is overshadowing discussion of the problems associated with the law and ruining any chance for revising it.
“This is a huge distraction,” said Gov. Bill Haslam of Tennessee. “Instead of that being the conversation, we’re talking about the government shutdown, and the average citizen can’t help but say the Republican Congress isn’t helping.”
Members of Congress from swing areas and Republican governors appear the most vocal. At a meeting with House Republicans in the Capitol on Tuesday, Representative Dave Reichert of Washington pointedly questioned what the end game is for the party, according to someone who attended and spoke on the condition of anonymity because the session was supposed to be confidential. Mr. Reichert, typically mild-mannered, represents a highly competitive suburban Seattle district.
And on Wednesday at a private luncheon, several Senate Republicans — Dan Coats of Indiana, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire — assailed Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, who has led the movement to block funding for the health law.
Ms. Ayotte was especially furious, according to two people present, and waved a printout from a conservative group friendly to Mr. Cruz attacking 25 of his fellow Republican senators for supporting a procedural vote that the group counted as support of the health law.
Ms. Ayotte asked Mr. Cruz to disavow the group’s effort and demanded he explain his strategy. When he did not, several other senators — including Mr. Johnson, Mr. Coats and even Mitch McConnell, the minority leader — joined in the criticism of Mr. Cruz.
“It just started a lynch mob,” said a senator who was present.
Despite the uproar, Mr. Cruz did not offer a plan for how his party could prevail in the shutdown battle and suggested his colleagues were defeatists.
Republican elders worry that the tactics of Mr. Cruz and his allies in the House are reinforcing the party’s image as obstructionist, and benefiting Mr. Obama at a time when his standing with the public is sliding. A New York Times/CBS poll last week found that 49 percent of Americans disapprove of the president’s job performance.
“The story people see now is President Obama sinking like a rock for months, and the only thing holding him up are the Republicans,” lamented Haley Barbour, the former governor of Mississippi who previously led the Republican National Committee. “We have to get to the best resolution we can under the Obama administration, and then focus on some other things.”
The tensions reveal deeper divisions about how to address more fundamental problems facing the party. Nearly a year after a second consecutive and decisive presidential loss, the rebranding effort that almost every top Republican called crucial has been set aside or obscured by the wrangling with Mr. Obama.
That means there has been little progress on issues the party establishment believes are critical to a revival, like an immigration overhaul, or something conservative intellectuals are more eager for, like a populist-oriented economic approach.
“There are certainly opportunity costs to Republicans in the confrontations and crises we’re witnessing,” said Pete Wehner, a former George W. Bush aide and a leading voice for change.
“Even if you don’t lay most of the blame on the G.O.P., there’s no question, I think, that the effort to reform and modernize the G.O.P. — and to rally support among Republicans around that effort — is being at a minimum impeded.”
And the spotlight on further dysfunction in Washington undercuts those Republicans who want to make less polarizing figures outside Washington — especially governors — the new face of the party.
“The fight here is important to have — this is an important part of political life,” said former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida at a recent news conference in the capital. “But I do think the emphasis of being against the president’s policies, no matter how principled they are, needs to be only half the story, if not less.”
Mr. Bush cited the accomplishments of three Republican governors and potential presidential candidates — Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Chris Christie of New Jersey — who he said were offering “a more positive, hopeful, optimistic message.”
Mr. Bush’s comments reflect what has become gospel among many Republican professionals: that the language and images projected by the Washington wing of the party are interfering with efforts to modernize.
In a speech this week to Republican state officials, Ed Gillespie, a former Republican chairman, lamented how members of the party’s Congressional caucus were “always in the position of talking about what they’re against — what they want to block or repeal or defund.”
“And we join them in staunch opposition to the president’s harmful policies — but our party might be better off if we spent more time speaking in positive terms about why we’re against those policies and, more importantly, what we’re for,” said Mr. Gillespie, who is chairman of the group he spoke to, the Republican State Leadership Committee.
The constant focus on Congressional and White House bickering especially annoys Republican governors who feel that the party can take back the White House in 2016 if they nominate one of their own and run not only against the Democrats, but also against Washington dysfunction, much as George W. Bush did in 2000.
“There’s a clear contrast there,” Gov. Brian Sandoval of Nevada said of the difference between his fellow chief executives and Republicans in Washington. “People are craving leadership and craving problem-solvers.”
Mr. Haslam of Tennessee noted that governors, unlike House members, have to answer to a much broader electorate, one where “the political pendulum swings back really fast.”
“If you’re in a seat that’s 80 percent Republican, you don’t see the pendulum swinging by very fast,” he said.
October 3, 2013Boehner Pledges to Avoid Default, Republicans Say
By ASHLEY PARKER and ANNIE LOWREY
WASHINGTON — Speaker John A. Boehner has privately told Republican lawmakers anxious about fallout from the government shutdown that he would not allow a potentially more crippling federal default as the atmosphere on Capitol Hill turned increasingly tense on Thursday.
Mr. Boehner’s comments, recounted by multiple lawmakers, that he would use a combination of Republican and Democratic votes to increase the federal debt limit if necessary appeared aimed at reassuring his colleagues — and nervous financial markets — that he did not intend to let the economic crisis spiral further out of control.
They came even though he has so far refused to allow a vote on a Senate budget measure to end the shutdown that many believe could pass with bipartisan backing. They also reflect Mr. Boehner’s view that a default would have widespread and long-term economic consequences while the shutdown, though disruptive, had more limited impact.
With the mood in Congress already unsettled by the bitter sparring over the fiscal standoff, the Capitol was shaken anew Thursday afternoon when a high-speed chase beginning near the White House ended near the Senate office complex with Capitol Police shooting the driver to death.
The sound of gunfire outside the Capitol forced at least five senators in the vicinity to take cover on their stomachs and led to a temporary lockdown of members of Congress and their staffs. The House and Senate adjourned for the day shortly after the incident as the shutdown extended into a third day.
Along with Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Senate Republican leader, Mr. Boehner has long dismissed the idea that Congress would not act to prevent a damaging default, and President Obama on Thursday called a default “the height of irresponsibility.” But the failure of the House and Senate to reach a deal ahead of the shutdown has raised questions of whether Republicans could be persuaded to join in raising the debt limit before the Treasury Department runs out of money about the middle of October.
His comments were read by members of both parties as renewing his determination on the default and came as the Treasury warned that an impasse over raising the debt limit might prove catastrophic and potentially result “in a financial crisis and recession that could echo the events of 2008 or worse.”
Lawmakers said that in recent days, Mr. Boehner, who is under fierce attack from Democrats over his handling of the shutdown, has made clear that he is willing to use a combination of Republican and Democratic votes on the debt limit if need be. Representative Leonard Lance of New Jersey, one of the moderate Republicans who met privately with Mr. Boehner on Wednesday, would not provide details of the meeting, but said, “The speaker of the House does not want to default on the debt on the United States, and I believe he believes in Congress as an institution, and I certainly believe he is working for the best interests of the American people.”
One lawmaker, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Mr. Boehner suggested he would be willing to violate the so-called Hastert Rule to pass a debt-limit increase. The informal rule refers to a policy of not bringing to the floor any measure that does not have a majority of Republican votes.
A spokesman for Mr. Boehner pushed back on the idea that the speaker would try to pass a debt-limit increase mainly with Democratic votes. “The speaker always, always prefers to pass legislation with a strong Republican majority,” said Michael Steel, a spokesman for Mr. Boehner.
But Mr. Steel acknowledged that Mr. Boehner, who has long and deep ties to the business community, understood the need to head off a default.
“The speaker has always been clear that a default would be disastrous for our economy,” Mr. Steel said. “He’s also been clear that a ‘clean’ debt hike cannot pass the House. That’s why the president and Senate Democrats should drop their ‘no negotiations’ stance, and work with us on a plan to raise the debt limit in a responsible way, with spending cuts and reforms to get our economy moving again and create jobs.”
It is conceivable that Mr. Boehner could pass a debt-limit increase with a slim majority of Republican votes, with Democrats making up the difference, as he has in the past on budget measures. But moving in that direction poses risks of a threat to Mr. Boehner’s leadership position from a watchful conservative bloc, which has warned that his post could be on the line if he goes against the legislative position of large numbers of the rank and file.
Representative John C. Fleming, Republican of Louisiana and one of his conference’s more conservative members, said that he doubted Mr. Boehner would be able to pass any bill — with or without Democratic support — that did not extract some significant concessions from Mr. Obama and Senate Democrats.
“I just don’t think there’d be hardly any Republicans in support of raising the debt ceiling without cuts to spending, changes to Obamacare, and perhaps other issues,” Mr. Fleming said. He added that he thought House Republicans would demand at least some sort of delay to the president’s signature health care law, as well as require that every dollar increase in the debt ceiling be matched by a dollar increase in spending cuts.
At the same time, growing numbers of House Republicans have expressed frustration at those insisting on changes to the health law when Mr. Obama has made clear he will not accept them. Their unhappiness, the furor caused by the shutdown and the desire to avoid default could help protect Mr. Boehner.
Representative James Lankford, Republican of Oklahoma and chairman of the Republican Policy Committee, said he did not think House Republicans had the “energy” to deal with a debt default.
“The speaker’s been over and over on that on the debt ceiling, that there’s no intention for default,” he said. “That’s been public, private, everywhere he’s had an opportunity.”
Democrats saw the disclosure of Mr. Boehner’s private comments as a possible sign of progress.
“Even coming close to the edge of default is very dangerous, and putting this issue to rest significantly ahead of the default date would allow everyone in the country to breathe a huge sigh of relief,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, the No. 3 Democrat in the Senate.
A Treasury Department report released Thursday said the debt-limit impasse could cause credit markets to freeze, the dollar to plummet and interest rates to rise precipitously.
After its release, Mr. Obama reiterated administration warnings about the potential economic consequences of not increasing the debt limit. “As reckless as a government shutdown is, as many people as are being hurt by a government shutdown, an economic shutdown that results from default would be dramatically worse,” Mr. Obama said Thursday, speaking to construction workers at M. Luis Construction in Rockville, Md., a suburb north of Washington.
W. James McNerney Jr., chief executive of Boeing, and also the chairman of the Business Roundtable, a corporate association, and of the White House export council, said in an interview on Thursday that for corporate America, the standoff over the government shutdown “drives an even deeper concern about the debt limit.”
"Moderate voices in the business community and elsewhere do not seem to be making much of an impact — encouraging the kind of cooperation among our political leaders that we need to solve this problem. It’s frustrating,” he said.
Representative Michael G. Fitzpatrick, Republican of Pennsylvania, one of just 22 House Republicans this year who helped Mr. Boehner pass, with a majority of Democratic support, three crucial bills — to avert a fiscal showdown, to provide relief for the victims of Hurricane Sandy, and to pass the Violence Against Women Act — said he expected he may be asked to do so again.
“Hurricane Sandy, the fiscal cliff, all of the big votes require reasonable Republicans and Democrats to come together in order to pass it and get it to the president’s desk,” he said. “This will be no different.”
Jackie Calmes and Jonathan Weisman contributed reporting.
October 3, 2013Experts See Potential Ways Out for Obama in Debt Ceiling Maze
By ADAM LIPTAK
WASHINGTON — Even as President Obama insists that he would be powerless to save the economy from catastrophe should Congress fail to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, some law professors say he does have options. They may be politically unattractive, unpalatable to the financial markets and subject to legal challenges, these experts say, but these choices are better than failing to live up to the nation’s financial commitments.
The view that Mr. Obama could continue borrowing without Congressional authorization is based on three arguments.
One is grounded in an aggressive understanding of presidential power, the second in an interpretation of an obscure provision of the 14th Amendment and the third on a choice among three irreconcilable constitutional obligations.
A senior administration official was dismissive of all three options, calling them “unicorn theories,” reflecting the White House’s position that only Congress can solve a problem of its own creation.
“The Constitution gives Congress — not the president — the authority to borrow money, and only Congress can increase the debt ceiling,” Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, said on Thursday, adding that Congress must “authorize the Treasury to pay the bills that Congress racked up.”
But Eric Posner, a law professor at the University of Chicago, said that the meaning if not the words of the Constitution left Mr. Obama with room to act.
“The president has inherent emergency powers,” he said. “It has long been understood that the president should act to protect the country.”
That is the broadest option for Mr. Obama. The second is based on the actual text of the Constitution, though there is a dispute about what the words in question mean. Section 4 of the 14th Amendment says: “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.”
The provision, adopted in 1868, was meant to ensure the payment of Union debts after the Civil War. But it was written in more general terms, as the Supreme Court once noted in passing. “While this provision was undoubtedly inspired by the desire to put beyond question the obligations of the government issued during the Civil War,” Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes wrote in 1935, “its language indicates a broader connotation.”
On Thursday, Mr. Carney dismissed the argument, popular in some legal circles, that the amendment authorized the president to raise the debt ceiling.
“We do not believe that the 14th Amendment provides that authority to the president,” he said. He added that the meaning of the provision had divided constitutional scholars. That alone, Mr. Carney said, “means that it would not be a credible alternative.”
Laurence H. Tribe, a law professor at Harvard, is one of the skeptics who agrees with the White House. “The president should hold firm,” he said, “and not permit Congress to insist on holding its breath rather than doing its job of authorizing payment of the debts it has already incurred unless and until the president blinks on one of his signature initiatives.”
The third alternative, the subject of a 2012 article in The Columbia Law Review, focuses on what the article’s authors call the irreconcilable instructions Congress will have provided to Mr. Obama if it fails to act. Having been told to spend, but not to raise taxes or issue debt, “the president has to decide which of Congress’s orders to follow,” said Neil H. Buchanan, a law professor at George Washington University, who wrote the article with Michael C. Dorf, a law professor at Cornell. The president must, in the article’s words, “choose the least unconstitutional option.”
That option, the authors concluded, is issuing more debt.
“Anything you do that’s remotely realistic is going to be unconstitutional,” Professor Dorf said. “But the president should still try to minimize the constitutional violation.”
Professor Posner countered that the article was unrealistic. It would be political suicide, he said, for Mr. Obama to announce that he was violating the Constitution.
Professor Tribe also rejected the idea, saying it was proposed by “otherwise very sensible law scholars” who in this case had concocted “a prescription for a free-for-all that abandons the rule of law.”
“We have no metric for comparative lawlessness,” he said.
Mr. Obama will still have choices if Congress fails to act, Professor Tribe added, but they involve spending priorities. “Congressional spending directives to the president contain an implicit condition that, if the money just isn’t there to be spent, the president must make tough choices — prioritizing repayment of bondholders who have lent money to our country over those who have been promised payment under various sorts of entitlements, politically painful though that would be.”
However one interprets the Constitution, there remains the practical question of whether the nation’s creditors would continue to lend to the United States if the president did take unilateral action.
“I don’t think anyone in their right minds would buy those bonds,” Michael W. McConnell, a law professor at Stanford, said of debt issued without Congressional authorization.
Were Mr. Obama to act, court challenges would inevitably follow. But most legal experts said they expected judges to stay out of the fray, either by ruling that the particular challengers had not suffered the sort of direct injury that gave them standing to sue or by ducking the issue by calling it a “political question” not fit for judicial resolution.
In any event, Professor Dorf said, courts could not move quickly enough. “Even when courts move very fast, they don’t move as fast as markets,” he said.
There is at least one reason, Professor Posner said, to hope for a court challenge that would reach and be decided by the Supreme Court: “It would be the most interesting case in decades.”
Jackie Calmes contributed reporting.
************Obama slams John Boehner: Take a vote, stop this farce
By Agence France-Presse
Thursday, October 3, 2013 12:25 EDT
President Barack Obama on Thursday directly attacked Republican Speaker John Boehner, saying he could end a “reckless” US government shutdown in just five minutes.
“Take a vote, stop this farce and end this shutdown right now,” Obama said during a fiery speech in the Washington DC suburbs.
Obama said that Boehner could reopen the government and send hundreds of thousands of people back to work “in just five minutes” by passing a temporary operating budget with no partisan strings attached.
“Speaker John Boehner won’t even let the bill get a yes or no vote, because he doesnt want to anger the extremists in his party,” Obama said.
“That is what his whole thing is about.”
“There’s a simple way to prove it. Send the bill to the floor, let everybody vote.”
“It will pass. Send me the bill, I will sign it. The shutdown will be over and we can get back to the business of governing and helping the American people. It could happen in the next half hour.”
****************If the GOP Gets it’s Way the USA Will be DOA
By: Hrafnkell Haraldsson
Oct. 4th, 2013
“We’re taking our toys – and yours – and going home!”
Tea party Republicans have opted out of the United States. They have ceased to participate in our democracy. Where political power is supposed to derive from the people, the tea party derives its power from corporations. It speaks for corporations, it acts for corporations. It has never spoken or acted for the American people. And now with the shutdown it has made clear that it never will.
Not only have America’s interests been attacked – our standing and our reputation overseas, our ability to defend ourselves from attack – but the American peoples’ interests have been attacked. People, already beaten down by tea party Republicanism, now find themselves deprived of essential services and 2 million federal employees are seeing their paychecks delayed while 800,000 civilian federal employees are losing their paychecks altogether. Veterans are losing benefits, flu shots are not being given. WIC will shut down and mothers and children left hungry. The list goes on.
Bad as all this is, the Republicans are actually happy about it, as giddy as revolutionaries, to have attacked the American people so successfully. Our fragile economy, so painstakingly brought back from the precipice over the past five years, is poised to take a swift kick in the backside by gleeful Republican politicians.
“Take a dirt nap, USA!”
Tea party Republicans did not just let the government shut down. They carefully planned and orchestrated this terrorist attack on America. And as I said above, they’re just as happy as can be. Rachel Maddow pointed to this fact on Tuesday, calling the GOP “giddy” and on Wednesday, Michele Bachmann told Sean Hannity that “this is about the happiest” her party has been in a long time. Last week, The Washington Post quoted Bachmann as saying “We’re very excited. It’s exactly what we wanted, and we got it.”
Worse, we’ve seen them call for secession and revolt, and even issue an invitation for the military to intervene and “save” our republic by destroying it (because military dictatorships are so democracy-friendly). It is sad to think we have lived to see the Grand Old Party become a byword for treason. They have used the excuse of terrorism to feed the military industrial complex’s appetites for years and all the while they were planning their own insider attack.
“Et tu, Ted?”
It is a well known historical fact that the assassins of Julius Caesar – Gaius Cassius Longinus and Marcus Junius Brutus – saw themselves as patriots, just as do Ted Cruz and his fellow conspirators. Brutus and Cassius thought they would be hailed as saviors of the republic when they stabbed Caesar to death.
But the people loved Caesar, and the conspirators had miscalculated: they fled for their lives and were hunted down, defeated, and killed. It is instructive to note that in Dante’s Inferno, only three people are so evil that they get chewed up by Satan’s mouths: Brutus, Cassius, and Judas Iscariot.
Make room for Ted Cruz, our modern-day Benedict Arnold.
Pearl Harbor. 9/11. This shutdown is a punch below the belt. An attack not only on America but on Americans. As insidious as any al Qaeda plot and all the worse because it is an act by people we ought to be able to trust, people the American people elected to look out for their interests, not attack them. Yes, the Taliban is an enemy of America but the GOP has shown itself to be THE enemy and for this act of terrorism let their memory be damned in the years, decades, and centuries to come.
*************Fox News Poll Finds Disapproval Of GOP Skyrocketing After They Shut Down Government
By: Jason Easley
Oct. 3rd, 2013
Bad News is everywhere for the Republican Party. Even the Fox News poll has found disapproval of the Republican Party jumping to 59% in their latest poll.
According to the Fox News poll, disapproval of the Republican Party has jumped from 46% in September of 2012 to 59% today. Disapproval of the GOP has climbed from 54% in January to 56% in April to nearing 60% today. Approval of the Republican Party has fallen from 45% to 35%. In contrast, Democratic Party unfavorability has stayed stable in the Fox poll at between 48% and 49% all through 2013.
Support for repealing the ACA has dropped from 39% in June to 30% today. This could mean that the linking of funding the government to defunding or delaying the ACA has completely backfired on the Republican Party. The number of Americans who think that they will be better off under Obamacare has risen by 7 points from 34% to 41%, and by a margin of 36%-19% respondents thought that Ted Cruz’s fake filibuster hurt efforts to repeal the ACA.
Eighty one percent think the government shutdown is a serious problem, and they are blaming John Boehner and Ted Cruz (42%) more than they are blaming Harry Reid and President Obama (32%). A new CBS News poll confirmed the Fox News poll by finding that 44% of Americans blame Boehner and the Republicans for the shutdown, while 35% blame Obama and the Democrats.
The behavior of House Republicans isn’t just hurting their 2014 chances. It is damaging the whole Republican Party. When a Fox News poll finds a sizable margin of people are blaming the Republicans things are really bad. The Fox News polls have always shaded their questions with loaded terms, so it means a lot when a poll that is normally friendly to the GOP finds things going this badly.
Republicans dismiss most polls as “rigged by the liberal media,” but it is difficult for them to ignore a poll that cones from the supposed only real news source that they trust. The government shutdown isn’t just bad for Republicans. It’s disastrous.
All of the Republican talking points blaming Harry Reid and President Obama for the shutdown are failing miserably. Every moment that the shutdown continues compounds the damage. We all knew that this day would come someday. The Republican Party is being destroyed by their own obsession with Obamacare.
****************A Delusional Eric Cantor is Betting on President Obama Caving
By: Sarah Jones
Oct. 3rd, 2013
Eric Cantor seems to believe that if Republicans keep hanging tight with their winning position of destroying the economy, the President will cave. Reminder: This is from the folks who brought you “Romney surge”, “unskewed polls” and “Ohio is in the bag”.
CQ Roll Call published a very confident sounding email from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor laying out the Republican strategy for winning. The title of the email is “Current State of Play, Strategy, and Goals,” because nothing says “play” like kids with cancer not getting the help they need because the government is shutdown. #Winning. Naturally their strategy is to blame Democrats and wait for the President to cave.
From Roll Call:
Our Strategy: While no one can predict with certainty how the current shutdown will be resolved, I am confident that if we keep advancing common-sense solutions to the problems created by the shutdown that Senate Democrats and President Obama will eventually agree to meaningful discussions that would allow us to ultimately resolve this impasse. The American people have elected a divided government and they expect us to work together and they will not countenance one party simply refusing to negotiate.
To achieve this goal of getting the public to blame Democrats, Republicans are going to pass piecemeal items to fund specific things (they don’t mention this but their funding has been at lower levels than agreed upon). Then, when Democrats balk, Republicans can take their whinging to the TV and point fingers as Rome burns.
The President is not going to negotiate policy over hostages like the debt ceiling or Boehner’s shutdown.
He said it, he meant it.
Cantor ought to go ask Osama bin Laden if President Obama means what he says.
Republicans are so busy seeing Obama through the lens of their own hatred and clear prejudice that they don’t see the obvious. This is a man who means what he says. He is not messing around. He rightfully sees the health of our economy as his responsibility to the people of this country. So, while he takes a ton of crap from Republicans personally, he will not tolerate deliberate attempts to destroy our economy and harm American families. What Republicans are pulling is not “negotiating”. They are harming our economy over a tempter tantrum that they lost the election.
Republicans refuse to do their jobs until they have hostages in their hands because they want to get their way, and the people denied them that power by denying them the Senate and the White House.
Obama’s red line is obvious to anyone who’s not blinded by the Republican bubble. Romney surge, anyone?
***************An Open Mic Catches Rand Paul’s Loose Lips Sinking The Republican Shutdown Ship
By: Jason Easley
Oct. 3rd, 2013
An open mic and camera caught Rand Paul discussing shutdown strategy with Mitch McConnell. Paul admitted that Republicans don’t want to be there, and their only hope is to look reasonable.
WPSD 6 reported the conversation:
Senator Paul began, “Do you have a second?”
“I’m all wired up here, um,” Senator McConnell replied.
“I just did CNN and I just go over and over again ‘We’re willing to compromise. ‘We’re willing to negotiate.’ I think… I don’t think they poll tested we won’t negotiate. I think it’s awful for them to say that over and over again,” Paul said.
“Yeah, I do too and I, and I just came back from that two hour meeting with them and that, and that was basically the same view privately as it was publically,” McConnell agreed.
Paul added, “I think if we keep saying ‘We wanted to defund it. We fought for that and that we’re willing to compromise on this’, I think they can’t, we’re gonna, I think… well I know we don’t want to be here, but we’re gonna win this I think.”
Rand Paul admitted to the world the Republicans only hope of getting out of the government shutdown is if Democrats didn’t focus group test their talking points enough. It is nice to see Mitch McConnell confirm that there isn’t going to be a secret deal. Obama is telling Republicans privately the exact same thing that he is saying publicly. They are going to get nothing.
However, Republicans are saying something publicly that they don’t believe privately. Publicly, the Republicans are talking tough. Privately, they are desperate for a way out of the shutdown that allows them to claim some little symbolic or token victory.
After saying no to everything since Obama took office, Republicans aren’t going to be able to fool people into thinking that they are the party of compromise with a few well tested shutdown talking points. Paul has the mood of the country wrong. The American people want these games to stop. The Democratic message is a call for the American people to take a stand against these partisan games. Republicans don’t have a counter message to the actual mood of the country.
Rand Paul is delusional if he thinks that Republicans are going to win this. They’ve already lost. The only things left to be determined are the size of the loss, and whether or not this will cost them control of the House in 2014.
Rand Paul basically admitted that the Republican tough talk is empty. Paul probably thought he was being clever by speaking to McConnell in front of the camera and mic, but all he did was dig the hole a little deeper for the Republican Party.
************ Bankers and Business Leaders Concerned About Debt Limit
WASHINGTON – The prospect of a mid-October debt crisis on top of the government shutdown “shapes up to be sort of a perfect storm” for the economy that is rattling American bankers and businesses, a leading corporate executive said on Thursday.
“The banking community, they legitimately are concerned and it’s a deeper concern than the last time around,” when Congress nearly failed to increase the debt limit in mid-2011, said W. James McNerney Jr., chief executive of Boeing and chairman of both the Business Roundtable, a group of major corporations, and the White House export council.
By itself, the shutdown — more than three days old and with no end in sight — “is going to have an impact,” Mr. McNerney said in an interview. He predicted furloughs at companies like his that have direct or indirect relationships with the government if the shutdown lasts a week or two – as many in Congress have said it will.
But the bigger worry, he added, is about the Oct. 17 deadline for Congress to increase the nation’s borrowing limit so that the Treasury Department can continue to cover the government’s existing liabilities and obligations to citizens, contractors and creditors here and abroad. Failing to do so could precipitate a global financial crisis, say both federal and private-sector economists.
For business leaders, the Boeing chief said, the impasse between the White House and the Republican-run House over a budget to end the shutdown “drives an even deeper concern about the debt limit.” Republicans are demanding that Mr. Obama agree to defund or delay his signature domestic achievement, the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, as a condition of their support either for financing the government or increasing the debt limit.
“Moderate voices in the business community and elsewhere do not seem to be making much of an impact, encouraging the kind of cooperation among our political leaders that we need to solve this problem,” Mr. McNerney said. “It’s frustrating.”
But he refused to take sides, even as the White House and some moderate Republicans have urged the business community to put pressure on House Republican leaders to drop their demand – enforced so far by Tea Party lawmakers and outside groups – that Mr. Obama make concessions on his three-year-old health-insurance law.
“This is an issue about the functioning of the U.S. government,” Mr. McNerney said. “This is not an ideological issue for us. I think the best role we can play is to make it clear that this is an economy, job-threatening and competitiveness issue.”
Even if Congress and the White House reach some accord to avert the worst outcomes – the first-ever default by the United States government – the repeated cycles of self-imposed crises over the budget since 2011 could well have an ongoing cost, he said.
“I think markets are worried that there is a permanent government-generated volatility that the stock markets or the credit markets really haven’t taken into account in the way they price things,” Mr. McNerney said.
The long-term effect, he predicted, would be “to impair credit markets” as well as “the value of stocks that people have in their pensions and 401(k)s.”