Shutdown Drags On, But Leaders Aren't Talking - kcentv.com - KCEN HD - Waco, Temple, and Killeen

Shutdown Drags On, But Leaders Aren't Talking

Posted: Updated:

(NBC) - The government is headed for Day Six of the federal shutdown, and both sides in Congress say there still aren't any discussions going on about how to change that.

As the days creep by, the crisis is evolving from just a government shutdown to the risk of default on the country's debt when the nation's borrowed cash runs out on October 17. But House Speaker John Boehner is still wrestling with his own Republican conference, and President Barack Obama hasn't budged on his refusal to discuss major changes to his signature health care law as part of a deal to fund the government or raise the debt ceiling.

"Whether it's the president, the vice president, the Senate majority leader, Bill Clinton, or will.i.am -- we need somebody, anybody with a 'D' after his name who is willing to talk, and we have no partner to negotiate with at this point," a top House Republican leadership aide said Saturday.

House GOP aides acknowledge that, at this point, Boehner is likely looking to hold a single House vote that would end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling in one legislative move. But Democrats say that they won't entertain anything of the sort.

"He may be crafting a deal, but we're not interested," a senior Senate Democratic aide said of Boehner.

Democrats say that the stakes are higher than just the current fiscal crisis. Letting Republicans win concessions after threatening to allow a default will mean the country is forever governed from one crisis to the next, they argue.

"The way that you pass policy in this country is at stake," the Democratic aide said.

Instead, Democrats are alleging that Boehner broke a promise to pass a "clean" temporary government funding bill -- a measure that didn't include extra conservative policy priorities like defunding ObamaCare -- if it maintained the across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration.

Aides said Boehner and Reid met on July 17 to discuss how to keep government funding flowing. Reid agreed to convince Senate Democrats to support maintaining the sequester level of funding -- $988 billion -- and started trying to convince other Democrats to get on board. Liberals in his caucus wanted a higher spending level, $1.042 trillion.

Reid was temporarily accepting the sequester cuts, his chief of staff David Krone wrote in an email that day to another senior Democratic aide, because he knew it would be difficult to force a government shutdown if Republicans were willing to pass a "clean" funding bill at the sequester levels.

President Obama, speaking at a DC sandwich shop, says that the House has the opportunity to end the shutdown today, if only Speaker Boehner would allow a vote to take place.

It was all downhill from there, according to Reid's office. A week later, after a New York Times story outlined House GOP plans to demand even deeper cuts, Reid's aides asked Boehner's team if they still thought they could pass a clean funding bill. They reassured Reid's office that was the goal.

House leadership aides acknowledge these discussions took place, but say Boehner never said he would pass a clean government funding bill. "Did the speaker ever make a commitment? No," an aide to the speaker told NBC News.

In early September, House Minority Leader Eric Cantor's office told members to expect a vote on government funding the week they returned from August recess. On Sept. 11, they delayed that vote.

On Sept. 12, the four leaders discussed how the House could pass a spending measure that included language to defund the president's health care law. The Senate would then be able to use a procedural mechanism to strip it out before sending it to the president's desk.

But that plan unraveled in the face of conservative opposition. There weren't enough Republican votes to pass the clean government funding bill. The government shut down on Oct. 1.

It will stay that way until at least Monday evening, when the House is slated to return to session. The Senate won't convene on Sunday, and they held no votes during a Saturday session.

That leaves just over a week until Oct. 17, when Treasury Secretary Jack Lew says the country will run out of money to pay its debts.

At that point, Democrats believe pressure from the business community, Wall Street and ordinary Americans -- "anyone who doesn't keep their money under a mattress" was how one staffer put it -- will put enough pressure on Republicans.

"Boehner will give at the end of the day," the senior Democratic aide said.

But so far, Republicans aren't giving.

"There is no alternative to default if someone doesn't start talking to someone," the senior House Republican aide said.

  • Latest NewsMore>>

  • James Wright Foley, Kidnapped Journalist, Apparently Executed By ISIS

    James Wright Foley, Kidnapped Journalist, Apparently Executed By ISIS

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 10:05 PM EDT2014-08-20 02:05:16 GMT
    (NBCNEWS) -- The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) claims to have beheaded an American photojournalist and has threatened the life of another American journalist if President Obama doesn't stop airstrikes in Iraq. A graphic video obtained by NBC News purportedly shows James Wright Foley, a freelance journalist for the U.S.-based news service GlobalPost who was kidnapped while reporting from Syria two years ago, reciting threats against America before he is executed by an ISIS militant....More >>
    (NBCNEWS) -- The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) claims to have beheaded an American photojournalist and has threatened the life of another American journalist if President Obama doesn't stop airstrikes in Iraq. A graphic video obtained by NBC News purportedly shows James Wright Foley, a freelance journalist for the U.S.-based news service GlobalPost who was kidnapped while reporting from Syria two years ago, reciting threats against America before he is executed by an ISIS militant....More >>
  • "I feel like a soldier again", Archery Therapy Helps Wounded Ft. Hood Soldiers

    "I feel like a soldier again", Archery Therapy Helps Wounded Ft. Hood Soldiers

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 7:36 PM EDT2014-08-19 23:36:32 GMT
    (KCEN) -- Tamara Becker grips her bow, clears her mind, pulls back and lets the arrow fly. It's a feeling that makes her feel like a soldier again. “When I'm on the range I notice myself being less anxious and calm,” she said. “It causes you to focus and really helps with kinetic energy.” A Purple Heart recipient, Becker came back from Afghanistan a wounded soldier. Joining Fort Hood's Warrior Transition Unit for wounded, injured and ill soldiers, she began looking through their adaptive reco...More >>
    (KCEN) -- Tamara Becker grips her bow, clears her mind, pulls back and lets the arrow fly. It's a feeling that makes her feel like a soldier again. “When I'm on the range I notice myself being less anxious and calm,” she said. “It causes you to focus and really helps with kinetic energy.” A Purple Heart recipient, Becker came back from Afghanistan a wounded soldier. Joining Fort Hood's Warrior Transition Unit for wounded, injured and ill soldiers, she began looking through their adaptive reco...More >>
  • I-35 Safety Ad Campaign Targeted to Central Texas Construction Zones

    I-35 Safety Ad Campaign Targeted to Central Texas Construction Zones

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 7:02 PM EDT2014-08-19 23:02:49 GMT
    (KCEN) – It's become a way of life: dealing with traffic in construction zones on I-35. But now TxDOT is trying to make that way of life a little safer. It's a statewide safety campaign called “Be safe. Drive Smart,” but a main focus for the agency is right here in central Texas.More >>
    (KCEN) – It's become a way of life: dealing with traffic in construction zones on I-35. But now TxDOT is trying to make that way of life a little safer. It's a statewide safety campaign called “Be safe. Drive Smart,” but a main focus for the agency is right here in central Texas.
    More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KCEN. All Rights Reserved. Users of this site agree to the Terms of Service, Privacy Notice/Your California Privacy Rights, and Ad Choices.