NCDP Clips October 1, 2013


New York Times: Government Shuts Down in Budget Impasse
A flurry of last-minute moves by the House, Senate and White House late Monday failed to break a bitter budget standoff over President Obama’s health care law, setting in motion the first government shutdown in nearly two decades. The impasse meant that 800,000 federal workers were to be furloughed and more than a million others would be asked to work without pay. The Office of Management and Budget issued orders shortly before the midnight deadline that “agencies should now execute plans for an orderly shutdown due to the absence of appropriations” because Congress had failed to act to keep the federal government financed. After a series of rapid-fire back and forth legislative maneuvers, the House and Senate ended the day with no resolution, and the Senate halted business until later Tuesday while the House took steps to open talks. But Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, dismissed as game-playing the House proposal to begin conference committee negotiations.

Washington Post: Don’t forget what the shutdown is really about
1) This is all about stopping a law that increases taxes on rich people and reduces subsidies to private insurers in Medicare in order to help low-income Americans buy health insurance. That’s it. That’s why the Republican Party might shut down the government and default on the debt. 2) The "continuing resolution" only funds the government for six weeks. So even if all goes well Monday night we’ll be doing this again in November. 3) Republicans are now discussing a "one-week CR," which would mean we’d be doing this again in seven days — and we’d be that much closer to the debt ceiling. 4) The leadership of the Republican Party agrees that the debt ceiling absolutely must be lifted. “I’m not going to risk the full faith and credit of the federal government," House Speaker John Boehner said. But they also maintain that they are willing to breach the debt limit, risking the full faith and credit of the federal government. As my colleague Greg Sargent has written in the Plum Line, this is a "glaring contradiction" at the heart of the GOP’s position.

New Republic: Don’t Blame the Tea Party for the Shutdown. Blame Boehner.
For weeks, high Senate Republicans like Bob Corker and Lindsey Graham had warned their House counterparts not to insist on such a strategy: Obama and the Democrats would never agree to it and, in a shutdown, Republicans would take the blame. Now King, who had already suggested he agreed with that critique, decided to do something about it. He started working the phones, hoping to rally enough votes to stop the spending bill from passing. All he needed were 17 votes. He got six. And nobody should be surprised. At midnight, the government shut down. Nobody knows when it will open back up. And outside of Washington, many people will probably think it’s business as usual in capital—in other words, that both parties are to blame. But nothing could be farther from the truth. This is a serious break with governing norms—a temper tantrum, by one faction of one party. But as with most temper tantrums, you can’t simply blame the kids acting out. You also need to blame the grown-up letting it happen. That means House Speaker John Boehner.

The New York Times: Those Banana Republicans
They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Why is it that the Republicans in Congress seem so determined to prove this maxim? Let’s start with the Affordable Care Act, a k a Obamacare. The exchanges that are at the heart of Obamacare — making it possible for people who are currently uninsured to buy health care — open for business on Tuesday. Ever since the Republicans took control of the House, they have held vote after vote to roll back the law, even while ignoring important business like, say,fixing the Postal Service. I think it’s been 43 times in all — votes that have been utterly pointless, in that the Senate is still run by Democrats, and the law is President Obama’s signature achievement, and there’s no way on God’s green earth it will be repealed.But never mind. As Oct. 1 has neared — the date both Obamacare kicks in and the government needs to be funded — Republicans moved to another tactic, which was every bit as hopeless. They began demanding that Obamacare be reversed — or at least delayed — as part of any deal to keep the government running. (At one point they had a lengthy wish list that was so implausible it was almost laugh-out-loud funny.)

National Review: Moderate Threat Fizzles
The size of a bloc of GOP moderates ready to bring down a vote on the House floor over the government-funding bill shriveled from 25 lawmakers on Saturday to just two when the House voted just now to pass the rule. New York representative Peter King and Pennsylvania representative Charlie Dent, two key moderates, voted no, while four hardline conservatives, including Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, voted no because the bill didn’t draw a hard enough line against Obamacare. The episode is a reminder of how congressional centrists aren’t as reliable as ideological warriors when it comes to keeping threats. But it also took a personal appeal from Speaker John Boehner and the particular circumstances of the vote to sway the group. During the rule vote, Boehner went to the back of the House chamber to deliver a message to the would-be moderate revolutionaries. “Trust me,” Boehner told them, according to King. Boehner said he understood their concerns, but he had a plan that would make the dire situation turn out alright.

Politico: Government shutdown: Congress sputters on CR
The government has officially shut down. The partisan gridlock in Washington proved insurmountable, as House Republicans continue to insist on changing, delaying or defunding Obamacare as the price for keeping the government open, while Senate Democrats and President Barack Obama firmly rejected that position. It’s the first government shutdown since 1996, when Newt Gingrich was the House speaker and Bill Clinton was president. The House and Senate stayed in session until the wee hours Tuesday morning, but there is no clear path toward solving the budgetary impasse. In a sign of just how entrenched Washington is, Congress is fighting over just a few months of government funding. Sometime in November or December, Congress and the White House will have to agree on a longer-term funding bill to last into 2014. This is just the first fiscal fight of the fall. The debt ceiling must be lifted by Oct. 17.

Politico: Government shutdown update: Nancy Pelosi offers support for clean CR
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Monday offered Speaker John Boehner the needed votes from her caucus to passed the continuing resolution that has already cleared the Senate. It is a compromise by Democrats, she argued. It isn’t a surprising move by the California Democrat, who has so far refused to officially accept the $986 billion funding levels in the Senate-passed version of the bill. There was little doubt, however, that if called upon Pelosi would have been able to deliver the votes. “Democrats are continuing to work to avoid a shutdown of our government,” she told reporters on Monday.

MountainXpress: CNN: WNC Congressman Mark Meadows is ‘the man behind the government shutdown’
In a Sept. 30 report, CNN declares that Western North Carolina freshman congressman Mark Meadows is the "Architect of the brink" and "the man behind the government shutdown." The Republican legislator represents the 11th District, which includes parts of Buncombe County.
Here’s some excerpts from the article: Washington (CNN) — One of the most prominent developers of the plan that could shut the government down is a little-known congressman who has been in office only eight months. This newly elected tea party aligned lawmaker downplays his position, saying he has relatively little influence. But in reality, his efforts have pushed Washington to the brink. …In August, while lawmakers spent time in their districts, Meadows wrote a letter to his Republican leaders suggesting they tie the dismantling of Obamacare to the bill that funds the government for the next year. …

Dome: Morning Memo: Let the shutdown politics begin THEN SHUT IT DOWN:
The U.S. government started shutting down early Tuesday after a bitter fight over the new health care law deadlocked the Congress and stymied every attempt to keep money flowing after the federal fiscal year ended at midnight. It was the first such collapse of the government in nearly two decades and there was no immediate way to know how long it would last or how it would end. NOW BLAME GAME BEGINS: Hours after the partial shutdown, the blame game started, with Democrats and Republicans trying to say the other party was responsible. North Carolina congressmen are in the crosshairs.***Read more shutdown politics and a look at what Gov. Pat McCrory did as the impasse and a federal lawsuit against the state loomed — it’s all below in the Dome Morning Memo.***

CNN MONEY: Shutdown: A multi-billion dollar hit to economy
A government shutdown could cost the still-struggling U.S. economy roughly $1 billion a week in pay lost by furloughed federal workers. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg. First, there are the estimated 800,000 federal employees who will be off the job. That’s roughly the same number of workers employed by all the auto assembly lines and auto parts factories across the country. But economists say the impact will come not just from those lost wages, but also from related businesses cutting back or halting their operations. That will lead to a pullback in spending by employees of affected companies. Then, there’s the impact from increased business uncertainty that trims investments and disrupts financial markets. The total economic impact is likely to be at least 10 times greater than the simple calculation of wages lost by federal workers, said Brian Kessler, economist with Moody’s Analytics. His firm estimates that a three to four week shutdown will cost the economy about $55 billion.

Political Wire: Voters Overwhemingly Oppose GOP Strategy on Obamacare
A new Quinnipiac poll finds that American voters oppose Congress shutting down the federal government to block implementation of Obamacare, 72% to 22%. Voters also oppose blocking an increase in the nation’s debt ceiling as a way to stop Obamacare, 64% to 27%. Key finding: "American voters are divided on Obamacare, with 45% in favor and 47% opposed, but they are opposed 58% to 34% to Congress cutting off funding for the health care law to stop its implementation."


Talking Points Memo: Department Of Justice Sues Over North Carolina Voter ID Law
The Justice Department formally announced its plans to sue North Carolina over the state’s new controversial package of voter identification law on Monday. North Carolina joins Texas as states where the Justice Department is testing the limits of its power to prevent voter discrimination since the Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act in June. Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice argue that four provisions of North Carolina’s new voter ID law are aimed at keeping minorities from voting. The Justice Department complaint, which will be filed in North Carolina’s Middle District, contends that the law denies the right to vote based on "race, color, or membership in a language minority group." "The North Carolina law includes troubling new restrictions such as provisions that will reduce early voting days, eliminate same-day registration during early voting, and pose a restrictive photo identification requirement for in-person voting and also prohibit the counting of otherwise legitimate provisional ballots that are mistakenly cast in the right county but in the wrong precinct," Holder said at a press conference Monday.

Southern Studies: DOJ reportedly will sue NC over voter ID law
It sounds like U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will answer Sen. Kay Hagan’s call to protect voting rights in North Carolina.
Late last night word leaked to the Associated Press, The New York Times, and The Charlotte Observer that the U.S. Department of Justice plans to sue the state over its recently passed Voter Identification Verification Act (VIVA), which among other things imposes a strict mandate on voters to have certain photo voter identification in their possession to access their ballots. Holder is expected to make a full announcement about this today during a press conference in the state. According to the media outlets that broke the news last night, the Justice Department will aim specifically at VIVA sections that mandate photo ID, strip the first seven days and final weekend from early voting, ban same-day registration, and limit out-of-precinct voting. Civil rights advocates have criticized those provisions as unduly burdensome for people of color, college students, women, and elderly voters — all voting populations that tend to favor the Democratic Party.

McClatchyDC: Hagan lauds Justice Dept. for N.C. voter lawsuit
Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democratic lawmaker in red state North Carolina, praised the Justice Department’s decision Monday to sue over her state’s new voter laws. The federal lawsuit seeks to prevent North Carolina from implementing four provisions of the new voter law, particularly a stringent photo identication measure.“Now is not the time to be putting up barriers to the right to vote, and I applaud the Justice Department’s decision to challenge the new voter access restrictions in North Carolina that would, among other things, cut off a week of early voting and end same day registration,” said Hagan. “Restricting access to this basic right is simply not in sync with our North Carolina values, and it goes against our state’s proud tradition of eliminating barriers to participation in the democratic process.”

News and Observer:Berger, Tillis call voting lawsuit ‘baseless,’ while Hagan, Democrats cheer move
Meanwhile, Democrats and interest groups cheered the move, including U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, who had urged the Justice Department to review the law.“Now is not the time to be putting up barriers to the right to vote, and I applaud the Justice Department’s decision to challenge the new voter access restrictions in North Carolina that would, among other things, cut off a week of early voting and end same day registration,” Hagan said in a statement. “We shouldn’t be giving everyday North Carolinians fewer opportunities to make their voices heard while we are giving corporations more opportunities to influence elections.” N.C. Democratic Party Chairman Randy Voller: “The purpose of government is to create a more fair and just society. We welcome the decision by the Justice Department to combat efforts to make it harder for North Carolinians to have their voices heard."

Read more here:

MSNBC: DOJ sues North Carolina over ‘highly restrictive’ voting law
The U.S. Justice Department will file suit against North Carolina’s voting law, Attorney General Eric Holder said Monday. The move, which comes on the heels of a similar challenge filed last month against Texas, is the latest step in the Obama administration’s effort to defend voting rights in the wake of June’s Supreme Court ruling that weakened the landmark Voting Rights Act (VRA).Holder said North Carolina’s voting law, passed in July, “would shrink, rather than expand, access to the ballot.” He called it “highly restrictive.” “The Justice Department expects to show that the clear and intended effects of these changes would contract the electorate and result in unequal access to participation in the political process on account of race,” Holder added. The law is perhaps the nation’s strictest. In addition to requiring voters to show a limited range of state-issued IDs, it also cuts back on early voting and ends same-day voter registration, among other provisions. All of those provisions disproportionately affect racial minorities, studies show. Rick Hasen, a law professor at UC Irvine and a prominent expert on voting, has called the law “a laundry list of ways to make it harder for people to vote.”


Talking Points Memo: Six Republicans Defect On Rule Vote To Delay Obamacare
The House took a procedural step at 7:15 p.m. ET toward its next vote on a spending bill with anti-Obamacare provisions. The House approved 225-204 the bill’s "rule," which allows the House to skip normal procuedures and bring the latest House GOP continuing resolution proposal to the floor for a vote this evening. Six Republicans voted against the rule with Democrats: Rep. Michele Bachmann (MN), Rep. Paul Broun (GA), Rep. Charlie Dent, Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX), Rep. Pete King (NY), Rep. Steve King (IA). After an hour of debate, the House will vote on the bill, roughly 8:15 p.m. ET. Pete King claimed he was staging a revolt at the rule vote to block conservative House Republicans, but the measure ultimately passed. The latest bill would delay Obamacare’s individual mandate for a year and eliminate subsidies for Congress members and staff.

New York News and Feature: The House GOP’s Legislative Strike
But the decision House Republicans made in January has set the party on the course it has followed since. If you want to grasp why Republicans are careening toward a potential federal government shutdown, and possibly toward provoking a sovereign debt crisis after that, you need to understand that this is the inevitable product of a conscious party strategy. Just as Republicans responded to their 2008 defeat by moving farther right, they responded to the 2012 defeat by moving right yet again. Since they had begun from a position of total opposition to the entire Obama agenda, the newer rightward lurch took the form of trying to wrest concessions from Obama by provoking a series of crises.


Dome: Pat McCrory strikes defiant tone against federal lawsuit, hires outside legal firm
Gov. Pat McCrory on Monday called the U.S. Justice Department’s lawsuit against North Carolina’s voting law “overreach and without merit.” “I firmly believe we’ve done the right thing. I believe this is good law. And I strongly disagree with the action that the attorney general has taken,” McCrory told reporters. The governor, dressed more casually than normal after his visit to the N.C. Zoo earlier in the day, struck a defiant tone in his remarks. He cast the legal battle as a matter of state’s rights, saying he would “defend our right to have common sense laws right here in North Carolina.”

Talking About Politics: At the Zoo
Sometimes writing this blog is easy. Like today. Below is a reprint – in full, with no cuts or comments – of yesterday’s news release from the Governor’s Communications Office: Press Release: Governor McCrory visits North Carolina Zoo Raleigh, NC – Governor Pat McCrory visited the North Carolina Zoo this morning, stopping by Asheboro for a tour to learn more about one of the nation’s most popular zoos. “The zoo is one of North Carolina’s top tourist attractions,” Governor McCrory said. “It is an outstanding recreational and educational resource for our citizens and those visiting North Carolina, and also provides a boost to the local economy."

WRAL: McCrory: Feds ‘overreach’ in voter law challenge
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory blasted back Monday at U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Justice Department challenging North Carolina’s tough new elections law. The lawsuit, which was filed Monday afternoon, is the latest effort by the Obama administration to fight back against a U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down the most powerful part of the landmark Voting Rights Act and freed Southern states from strict federal oversight of their elections. North Carolina’s new law, which was adopted last month, scales back the period for early voting and imposes stringent voter identification requirements."I believe the federal government action is an overreach and without merit," McCrory said at a news conference. "I think it’s obviously influenced by national politics since the Justice Department ignores similar laws in other (Democratic-leaning) blue states."


Huffington Post: The Numbers Are in: Democrats Are on the Right Side of Voters
Americans have had enough of the GOP’s ideological agenda. Republicans are simply out of sync with where America is today, and the polling proves it. Republicans continue to push additional anti-abortion bills, even though 68% of Americans think that it is time for state legislatures to stop their attacks on abortion rights. Clear majorities of voters in red and blue states oppose GOP legislators blocking expanding health insurance options for working people, and they are tired of the Republican legislators blocking legislation that would ensure that people cannot be fired from their jobs because of the person they love. Democrats are fighting to increase the minimum wage, but the GOP continues to oppose them and the majority of voters whom they claim to represent.

WRAL: Cooper: outside counsel for elections law case "unnecessary"
Attorney General Roy Cooper says his office doesn’t need any help in defending the state’s new voter ID and elections laws but will work with lawyers hired by Gov. Pat McCrory and the legislature. "Our office has the primary responsibility for defending this and other lawsuits," Cooper said. "I think it’s unnecessary to hire additional attorneys. They certainly have the authority to do that under the law and they’ve done it…Unfortunately, I this it just ends up costing more money."


Dome: Hagan, Ryback to head Dems Western watchmacallit
The Democrats will gather in Asheville this weekend for their annual Western Gala, formerly known in less politically correct times as the Vance-Aycock Dinner. Sen. Kay Hagan, who is facing reelection next year, will be the featured speaker at the $75- person dinner at the Grove Park Inn along with Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Ryback Jr., who vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

Charlotte Observer: Rep. Tricia Cotham delivers a new 8-pound, 10-ounce constituent
N.C. Rep. Tricia Cotham’s second baby – a rambunctious 8-pound, 10-ounce boy named Ryan Francis Meek – arrived Friday, instantly becoming a “social media baby” with his mom tweeting a running commentary before and after the delivery. Ryan and older brother Elliot, born in 2010, are rarities in North Carolina – few sitting legislators have had babies in recent years. They are now members of a growing political family. Their mother, a Democrat, is in her fourth term in the N.C. House, representing east Charlotte and Matthews. Their father, attorney Jerry Meek, is a Democratic Party activist and former state party chair. Their grandmother, Pat Cotham, also a Democrat, chairs the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners.


Political Wire: Democrats Open Big Lead in Generic Ballot
Another interesting tidbit from the new Quinnipiac poll: "Looking at the 2014 Congressional races, voters pick a generic Democrat over a generic Republican candidate 43% to 34%, the widest Democratic margin measured so far."According to Politico, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) "has privately warned House Republicans that they could lose their majority in 2014 as a result of shutting down the government."

The Hill: House Dems hitting House GOP with robocalls on shutdown
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is launching robocalls targeting more than 60 House Republicans on the government shutdown. The calls patch constituents through to their congressman to allow them to urge them to end the shutdown, which began early Tuesday morning as the clock ran out on the government funding measure and the two chambers were unable to come to a compromise. "While you we’re sleeping, Congressman Tim Wahlberg (R-Mich.) shut down the government. You heard that right. But even worse — Congressman Wahlberg is still getting paid — and he’s just not listening to our frustration. All because of his demand to take away your benefits and project insurance company profits," the robocall charges.


JeffersonPost: Can Tillis duplicate Holshouser’s singular victory?
When former Gov. James Holshouser died last month, many North Carolinians of all political persuasions remembered with gratitude his example of political leadership and unselfish public service. One Republican U.S. Senate candidate has a special additional reason to be grateful for Holshouser’s example. As Thom Tillis, speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives, seeks to leverage his legislative service into a successful U.S. Senate race, he must be looking for examples of other Republicans who have moved directly from the state legislature to win a major statewide election such as governor or U.S. Senator. He will find only one example, Jim Holshouser, who, while serving in the North Carolina House, won the 1972 governor’s election. No other modern-day Republican legislator has won a major statewide race. If you are thinking that until recently Republicans in North Carolina, including legislators, were frozen out of high political office, remember their extraordinary success in races for governor and the U.S. Senate. In addition to Holshouser, there are Governors Jim Martin and Pat McCrory and Senators Jesse Helms, John East, Lauch Faircloth, Elizabeth Dole, and Richard Burr. Only Holshouser won while serving in the state legislature.


Micah Beasley, Press Secretary
North Carolina Democratic Party
Twitter: @Micah4NC

Paid for by North Carolina Democratic Party. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate committee.