Government Shutdown Update
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At midnight last night, the federal government shut down, the result of a standoff between lawmakers over how to provide funding for the new fiscal year, which started today.
In the run up to the shutdown, lawmakers traded proposals for a short-term funding proposal, or continuing resolution (CR). The back and forth began last Friday when the Senate passed a “clean” CR (meaning there were no attachments or provisions added to it) that would have provided funding through Nov. 15, 2013. The measure passed on largely partisan lines, 54 to 44.
House Republicans stuck to their plan to use the CR to delay the Affordable Care Act, voting 231 to 192 Saturday to provide funding through Dec. 15, but also delay the ACA for a year and repeal the law’s 2.3 percent excise tax on medical device manufacturers. Though repeal of the device tax has bipartisan support, Democrats in the Senate rejected the House’s plan on Monday afternoon.
After the Senate’s first vote Monday, the House came back with a proposal to combine a short-term funding proposal with a delay to the law’s individual mandate (the requirement that Americans have health insurance) and and eliminate the “federal health care contributions for lawmakers and Capitol Hill aides.” At about 8:30 last night, the House passed that bill on a 228 to 201 vote. However, the Senate rejected it on a 54-46 vote soon after.
According to USA Today, then early Tuesday morning the House voted “to start formal negotiations, called a conference committee, with the Senate on the stopgap bill.”
The Senate turned down that offer mid-Tuesday morning.
Now, Politico says, “[T]here are no negotiations going on between Speaker John Boehner and [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid, who called House Republicans ‘anarachists’ [sic] again on Monday …” While analysts say a shutdown, if it is short and lasts just a few days, would have a limited economic effect, investors “cautiously pulled back” yesterday, The New York Times said. (The Times said markets were stabilizing Tuesday morning.)
Off Capitol Hill, what is happening in Washington?
CNN offers a very detailed graph of what agencies are open, which are closed and how many employees are furloughed at each. (As a reminder, as we noted last week, about 50 percent to 60 percent of the federal workforce will stay on duty.) Here are some of the notable openings and closings:
- Active duty military – OPERATIONS WILL CONTINUE
- Social Security Administration – OPEN/MOSTLY OPEN
- U.S. Courts – OPEN FOR 10 DAYS
- Federal Communications Commission – CLOSED
- Department of Health and Human Service – OPEN
- Federal Aviation Administration – NEAR FULL FUNCTIONALITY
- Department of Veterans Affairs – MOSTLY OPEN
- U.S. Patent & Trademark Office – OPEN FOR A FEW WEEKS
- National Gallery of Art – CLOSED
- Internal Revenue Service – PARTIALLY OPEN
- Peace Corps – OPEN
- Smithsonian – CLOSED
- Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts – OPEN
- Bureau of Public Debt – OPEN
It is also worth noting that, last night, President Barack Obama signed a bill passed by the House and Senate that would guarantee members of the military get paid on time. However, the federal government has also shutdown several websites today, including usa.gov (partially and temporarily) and usda.gov. The website most often used to discuss the Affordable Care Act – healthcare.gov – is working.