Congressional Republicans failed to move forward Tuesday with a piecemeal approach to fund popular parts of the federal government to lessen the impact of the first government shutdown in 17 years. House and Senate Republicans had offered short-term funding plans to keep open national parks, the Department of Veterans Affairs and other government services in the nation’s capital. House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Ky. said the piecemeal approach would "continue to move the ball down the field" towards finding an agreement to resume full government funding. However, the GOP efforts failed to win the necessary support in the House of Representatives to advance to the Senate. The votes fell well short of the two-thirds threshold needed to suspend House rules.
Lawmakers and the White House dug in Tuesday for a long fight as the first federal government shutdown in nearly two decades showed no signs of breaking, increasing the likelihood it will become entangled in an even larger battle over the Treasury’s ability to pay the government’s bills. The two parties held no negotiations to resolve the impasse, instead trading blame. Republicans criticized Senate Democrats as being unwilling to negotiate an end to the standoff that forced federal agencies to curtail a range of activities and begin the furlough of more than 800,000 workers. U.S. stocks rose despite the government shutdown as investors said it would take a prolonged halt to rattle Wall Street.
The NC Department of Transportation is immediately furloughing 22 employees because of the federal shut down, it was announced Tuesday afternoon. There are 65 full-time DOT positions and six-part-time positions that are fully or partially funded by the federal government although 16 of those positions are currently vacant. "Our people are NCDOT’s most valuable resource, and our dedicated team works hard every day across the state to improve the quality of life for all North Carolinians,” DOT Secretary Tony Tata said in a statement. "We hope the federal government will resume operations as quickly as possible so all of our employees can get back to work.”
The Huffington Post: Government Shutdown Shows No Signs Of Ending As Congress Remains In Stalemate
The political stare-down on Capitol Hill shows no signs of easing, leaving federal government functions — from informational websites, to national parks, to processing veterans’ claims — in limbo from coast to coast. Lawmakers in both parties ominously suggested the partial shutdown might last for weeks. A funding cutoff for much of the government began Tuesday as a Republican effort to kill or delay the nation’s health care law stalled action on a short-term, traditionally routine spending bill. Republicans pivoted to a strategy to try to reopen the government piecemeal but were unable to immediately advance the idea in the House. National parks like Yellowstone and Alcatraz Island were shuttered, government websites went dark and hundreds of thousands of nonessential workers reported for a half-day to fill out time cards, hand in their government cellphones and laptops, and change voicemail messages to gird for a deepening shutdown. The Defense Department said it wasn’t clear that service academies would be able to participate in sports, putting Saturday’s Army vs. Boston College and Air Force vs. Navy football games on hold, with a decision to be made Thursday.
The federal government shutdown caused the furlough of hundreds of state government workers whose jobs are fully or partially federally funded Tuesday, and state officials said several thousand more jobs could be be affected. The state Department of Health and Human Services told 337 employees not to show up for work Wednesday morning. Officials said as many 4,500 DHHS workers could be furloughed or see their hours reduced. There was also a smaller furlough in the Department of Transportation, and a small group of workers at the state Labor Department saw their hours slashed in half.
ABC11: State Government Furloughing Workers Due To Shutdown
North Carolina state government began sending its first workers home Tuesday because of the partial shutdown of the federal government. Hundreds more were told not to show up Wednesday, and thousands could follow or see reduced hours if the showdown in Washington continues. The Department of Transportation, which receives federal dollars to pay for dozens of workers, announced Tuesday afternoon that 22 employees had been furloughed. DHHS announced later it told 337 agency employees not to report to work starting Wednesday and until a stop-gap spending measure is approved by Congress.
President Obama admonished House Republicans on Tuesday to quit fighting his three-year-old health care law and to “reopen the government,” a show of defiance that reflected Democrats’ confidence that conservatives have overreached after years of budget battles with the White House. “As long as I am president, I will not give in to reckless demands by some in the Republican Party to deny affordable health insurance to millions of hard-working Americans,” Mr. Obama said from the Rose Garden, flanked by new beneficiaries of the insurance program. Then, gesturing toward his guests, he added, “I want Republicans in Congress to know — these are the Americans you’d hurt if you were allowed to dismantle this law.” The president’s televised appearance captured the split-screen nature of this first of October: It was the start of a new fiscal year, with the federal government largely shuttered because of the parties’ funding impasse, yet also the inaugural day for a central piece of the landmark health care law at the center of the budget standoff.
From Fort Bragg to Research Triangle Park, from the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Outer Banks, North Carolina quickly felt the squeeze Tuesday of the federal government’s partial shutdown during a budget impasse. Hundreds of civilian workers on Fort Bragg were told to go home at noon. While military personnel are considered essential for national security and will remain on duty, about half of the post’s 14,500 civilian employees were furloughed.
President Obama had it exactly right when he called the shutdown of the United States government an “ideological crusade” on the part of right-wing Republicans. What a price the tea party element in the Republican Party is prepared to make the American people pay for the belief on the part of the extremists that shutting government down is no big deal and kind of fun. This is a sorry commentary indeed on the ineffectiveness of Speaker John Boehner. It’s another head-scratching moment. First, the people watched as a couple of editions of ineffective sessions of Congress failed to do much because the Democrats in the U.S. Senate couldn’t muster the 60 votes needed to get anything done. Why, people wondered, does the majority not simply rule?And now the question is, why can’t Speaker Boehner, who has the necessary votes to pass a bill to keep the government going without attachments designed to wreck the Affordable Care Act, get that done? The answer is a maddening conundrum: Boehner fears alienating the tea partyers, who though a long way from having a majority can make mischief. If he passes a “clean bill,” absent the slaps at “Obamacare,” with the few moderate Republicans and Democrats on his side, he’ll spend the rest of his speakership with a target on his back and enemies in his own caucus who shoot first and ask questions later.
Florida resident Joe Bresnahan was among campers at Great Smoky Mountains National Park who learned that their vacation had been cut short by the government shutdown. He had a message for Congress. “When everybody goes to the polls next year, if there is an incumbent, regardless of party, vote for the other person,” he said. “Get them out. Fire every damn one of them. They need to be gone.” The shutdown caused headaches across the nation Tuesday as nonessential government agencies closed in the wake of the political impasse over the Affordable Care Act. Congress failed to agree on a budget late Monday, meaning many federal workers were off the job .
Political Wire: Big Business Takes Sides with Obama
"Having failed to persuade their traditional Republican allies in Congress to avert a government shutdown, business leaders fear bigger problems ahead, and they’re taking sides with a Democratic president whose health care and regulatory agenda they have vigorously opposed," the AP reports. President Obama "is embracing the business outreach, eager to employ groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Wall Street CEOs to portray House Republicans as out of touch even with their long-established corporate and financial patrons."
You can blame both political parties for many of Washington’s controversial policies, from the war on drugs to the explosion of corporate lobbying. The new government shutdown, however, is not that kind of story. It is an avoidable crisis caused solely by Republicans in the U.S. House. Here’s why. A majority of Congress actually opposes the shutdown. The federal government shut down for one reason: House Republicans did not pass a six-week funding bill. That doesn’t mean a majority of the House opposed the bill, however. In fact, the House never got to vote on it.
"But once you dig in, it becomes harder and harder to get yourself out of the hole. In other words, we THINK we know how this is going to end — with Republicans, due to all the political pressure they’re receiving, mostly capitulating on their demands to link government operations to the president’s health-care law — but it’s going to get worse before it gets better. Why? Because Republicans don’t know how to get out of the hole right now. They can’t surrender without getting something for this shutdown, right?" Meanwhile, Reid Wilson surveys the editorial pages and finds the "overwhelming number of editorial boards came to the same conclusion: That Republicans — specifically the tea party caucus — are to blame" for the government shutdown.
The United States’ self-imposed federal government shutdown has a way of making people around the world shake their heads in bewilderment. As Georgetown professor Erik Voeten wrote for The Washington Post’s new Monkey Cage political science blog, "I cannot think of a single foreign analogy to what is happening in the U.S. today."But there actually is one foreign precedent: Australia did this once. In 1975, the Australian government shut down because the legislature had failed to fund it, deadlocked by a budgetary squabble. It looked a lot like the U.S. shutdown of today, or the 17 previous U.S. shutdowns. Australia’s 1975 shutdown ended pretty differently, though, than they do here in America. Queen Elizabeth II’s official representative in Australia, Governor General Sir John Kerr, simply dismissed the prime minister. He appointed a replacement, who immediately passed the spending bill to fund the government. Three hours later, Kerr dismissed the rest of Parliament. Then Australia held elections to restart from scratch. And they haven’t had another shutdown since.
Senator Warren decided to get to the brass tacks about what this government shutdown is actually going to do to the country. She doesn’t mince words.
To the list of horribles delivered upon North Carolina’s good name by this current crop of Republicans now can be added the humiliation of being sued by the federal government for curtailing the voting rights of blacks. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, in announcing the lawsuit Monday, said he took the action “more in sorrow than in anger.” And a sad occasion it was for a state justly proud of its progress in civil rights to be returned to the battlefield of federal enforcement and Southern state resistance. North Carolina has been taken there by the GOP leadership in the General Assembly and a Republican governor whose laws and policies are taking the state backward on many fronts, including taxation, education funding, abortion rights, environmental protection, health insurance for the working poor and support for the unemployed.
North Carolina’s Republican governor is vowing to fight a lawsuit by the U.S. Justice Department challenging the state’s tough new elections law on the grounds it disproportionately excludes minority voters. Gov. Pat McCrory said Monday that he has hired a private lawyer to help defend the new law from what he suggested was a partisan attack by President Barack Obama’s Democratic administration. “I believe the federal government action is an overreach and without merit,” McCrory said at a brief media conference during which he took no questions. “I firmly believe we have done the right thing. I believe this is good law.” North Carolina’s new law cuts early voting by a week, ends same-day voter registration and includes a stringent photo ID requirement. The measure also eliminated a popular high school civics program that encouraged students to register to vote in advance of their 18th birthdays.
ABC NEWS 13: McCrory adviser questions Cooper’s professionalism
Gov. Pat McCrory’s top legal adviser is questioning whether North Carolina’s attorney general has compromised his ability to defend the state from a federal lawsuit alleging new Republican-backed voting changes are intended to suppress minority voter turnout. Chief legal counsel Bob Stephens said Tuesday comments last month by Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper opposing the new voting law left the state’s GOP governor no choice but to hire an outside lawyer. McCrory has retained at taxpayers’ expense a South Carolina lawyer with close ties to the Republican Party who bills $360 an hour. Cooper reiterated Tuesday it is his duty as both an elected official and legal professional to vigorously defend the state in court, even if he personally disagrees with arguments made by his office.
Gov. Pat McCrory’s top legal adviser is questioning whether North Carolina’s attorney general is capable of defending the state from a federal lawsuit alleging new Republican-backed voting changes are intended to suppress minority voter turnout. Bob Stephens, McCrory’s chief legal counsel, said Tuesday comments made by Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper opposing the new voting law left the state’s GOP governor no choice but to hire his own outside lawyer to buttress the state’s defense. McCrory has retained at taxpayers’ expense a South Carolina lawyer who has close ties to the Republican Party and bills $360 an hour.
Attorney General Roy Cooper said Tuesday that it is an “unnecessary expense” for Gov. Pat McCrory to hire an outside attorney to represent North Carolina against the Obama administration’s lawsuit challenging the state’s new voting law. “Our office continues to have the primary responsibility to defend the state,” Cooper told reporters. “Our staff will continue to do that.”The Democrat’s remarks sparked a political blame game about how the state is defending the lawsuit – one with implications for 2016, when Cooper is considering challenging the Republican governor.
Gov. Pat McCrory and Republican lawmakers wanted nothing to do with the new federal health care law, passing a law earlier this year to reject any ties to the insurance exchanges. But Tuesday, the day the online exchanges opened, McCrory struck a softer tone in a video statement released by his office but outlined no state help to those with questions. Acknowledging his opposition, McCrory said "it’s our duty to be as helpful as we can." The governor explained the basics with the preface, "no one has all the answers." He noted that the uninsured will be subject to a federal penalty if they don’t have insurance by March and he said "navigating Obamacare is not expected to be easy."
Officials at the state Department of Health and Human Services officials predicted a three months of bumpy road for the new Medicaid bill-paying system called NC Tracks. NC Tracks has been in use for three months as of Tuesday, and it looks like smooth road is not yet in sight for some providers. DHHS sent out a press release marking 90 days of NC Tracks that uses the words "proactive" or "proactively" six times. As in the department is "proactively reaching out" to providers who need help. Here’s a sample from DHHS information technology chief Joe Cooper: "We have also been working proactively with associations of providers and provider groups to help them transition to the new system. The N.C. Hospital Association sent Cooper a letter dated Tuesday that details four problems hospitals are having getting money out of NC Tracks.
McCrory’s office announced Tuesday there are just over 1,300 employees now in exempt positions with Cabinet-level agencies. These managerial and policymaking workers serve at the will of the governor or his lieutenants while carrying out his policies. The legislature this summer gave McCrory another 500 exempt positions to use, raising the maximum to 1,500. McCrory’s office said state law required him to notify officials Tuesday about those positions. McCrory’s office said three-fourths of the workers in exempt positions have been in state government long enough to recieve some protections to land another state job should they be fired through no fault of their own.
The North Carolina Democratic Party posted advertisements in newspapers across the state last week criticizing Republican lawmakers for their cuts to public education. According to Micah Beasley, a spokesman for the North Carolina Democratic Party, the party bought the ads because Republicans in the General Assembly passed a budget that cut about half a billion dollars to public schools and universities. “We wanted to lay out plainly the negative effects of Gov. [Pat] McCrory and Republican legislators turning their backs on public education in our state,” Beasley said. “From increased classroom sizes, to aging textbooks and dwindling supplies, these cuts are felt profoundly from pre-K all the way up to our public universities. Voters need to know this and they need to understand it.”
The Democrats will gather in Asheville this weekend for their annual Western Gala, known in less politically correct times as the Vance-Aycock Dinner. Sen. Kay Hagan, who is facing re-election next year, will be the featured speaker at the $75-per-person dinner at the Grove Park Inn, along with Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Ryback Jr., vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Attorney General Roy Cooper, who is testing the waters for a possible gubernatorial bid, will be the speaker at the Women’s Breakfast.
Charlotte Observer: Democrats Target Three N.C. House Members in Shutdown Fight
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is targeting three N.C. congressmen with robo-calls over the government shutdown, including Republican Rep. Robert Pittenger of Charlotte. The DCCC began the calls Tuesday, hours after the shutdown went into effect. "While you were sleeping, Congressman Robert Pittenger shut down the government," the calls say. "You heard that right. But even worse – Congressman Pittenger is still getting paid – and he’s not listening to our frustration. All because of his demand to take away your benefits and protect insurance company profits. Call Congressman Pittenger … to end the shutdown."
Politico: Government shutdown: Red-state Senate Dems stick with their party
They’re up for reelection in places where President Barack Obama is deeply unpopular, but red-state Democrats are sticking with their party in the acrimonious fight over Obamacare and shutting down the government. Sens. Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Mark Begich of Alaska have consistently voted with their party to reject repeated GOP attempts to chip away at the health care law — reflecting a remarkable level of Democratic unity on the issue. Not a single Democrat crossed party lines Monday in a Senate vote to reject House-passed provisions that would have, among other things, delayed Obamacare for one year. The cohesion stands in contrast to other divisive issues such as gun control and spending cuts that have led red-state Democrats to split with their colleagues.
Reflector: Tillis spokesman heading to manage US Senate bid
Tillis announced Tuesday that Jordan Shaw will soon take a leave of absence from his job in the General Assembly, meaning it’s possible he could return to the post within the speaker’s office. Shaw is a Virginia native who previously worked in campaign-related positions in Virginia and at the North Carolina Republican Party. He joined Tillis’ staff as the Mecklenburg County Republican was elected speaker in early 2011. Tillis is one of four announced candidates for the GOP nomination for Senate next May. The winner is expected to take on Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan in November 2014.
A leading Washington political prognosticator is saying Republican Thom Tillis "should be a formidable general-election candidate." Stuart Rothenberg took a look at the N.C. House speaker’s candidacy in the context of interview three other Senate candidates recently. He writes: "At the other end of the spectrum (from the tea party) is Thom Tillis, the speaker of the North Carolina House and the early favorite for the GOP Senate nomination against Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan. Tillis, who grew up in a working-class family and didn’t earn a college degree until he was 37 years old, became a management consultant. He eventually became a partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers before moving to IBM. "He knocked off an incumbent Republican legislator in 2006 and ran for speaker four years later, defeating the party’s minority leader, who sought to move up the ladder. Tillis checks all of the conservative boxes on his website. He is anti-abortion, believes “marriage is between one man and one woman…”
After Democrats ran an ad in State House Districts, something akin to a shockwave rippled down the hallways of the General Assembly, unsettling the less stouthearted Republican legislators. Last fall, after the last election House Republicans, riding high, assumed, We won. People love us. We can do what we want. They did. Then their poll numbers dropped. Then that ad hit. Then a cry went up from the unsettled, If we just give teachers raises – people will love us again. This may be like the fellow who let the dog out one morning, fell down the steps, broke his leg, then angrily told his wife, The whole thing was that darn dog’s fault.
The Republican Party shut down government. It’s not a partisan issue. It’s really an internal fight for the control and direction of the GOP. The Tea Party is basically having a temper tantrum and the Republican leadership is indulging them because they see the Tea Party base as essential to GOP electoral success in 2014. Unfortunately for the Republicans, the Tea Party has decided to make Obamacare its Waterloo. The movement that began in the summer of 2009 in response to the bailouts of Wall Street and the automotive industry has come down to a single issue–repeal of the President’s signature program. And, they are sure that the American people will rally around them to stop health care reform. House Speaker John Boehner keeps claiming that Obama won’t negotiate with the GOP over delaying or repealing the Affordable Care Act, but the act is not up for negotiation. It’s the law of the land, passed by Congress and signed by the President of the United States. The time for negotiating is over.
Reading the N&O editorial that blames U. S. House Speaker John Boehner for the current government shutdown, I couldn’t help but think about Pat McCrory. The embattled governor and thin-skinned speaker share a lot of traits. They would both do well to lead instead of follow. John Boehner is willing to sacrifice the well-being of the country in order to placate his Tea Party caucus. During the legislative session, Pat McCrory willingly sold North Carolina down the river to try to win friends on the right in the General Assembly. Neither man stands on principal. Between the two of them, they have bowed to the wishes of people who deny climate change and believe the earth is only 6,000 years old. They’re both moderates who willingly defer to the anti-intellectual, anti-science wing of the party and then seem hurt when they’re called on it.
Micah Beasley, Press Secretary
North Carolina Democratic Party
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