negotiate new funding so shut-down government operations can resume.
But Democrats in the Senate are likely to wait to see if GOP lawmakers
House continued to demand changes in Obamacare as the price of funding
federal activities and as the Democratic-controlled Senate rejected
Google’s doodle on Tuesday may honor the 123rd anniversary of YosemiteNational Park, but Yosemite and its fellow national parks are all
closed. Don’t make plans to visit the Smithsonian, because its doors
are locked, too. Ninety-seven percent of NASA’s employees are on
Social Security checks will still be delivered, the mail will go
through, and the military will be paid.
But the vast majority of Uncle Sam’s work will be curtailed as
agencies from the Department of Agriculture to the Department of
Veterans Affairs end nonessential services because they don’t have the
money to pay employees.
Bureacrageddon has come to pass. In political terms, what happens next?
First, the House’s last-ditch effort will almost certainly fail. Late
on Monday House members voted along party lines to appoint negotiators
to a House-Senate conference committee to hash out details of an
agreement on a continuing resolution to fund the government. Senate
majority leader Harry Reid (D) of Nevada has said he will reject this,
as he continues to maintain there is nothing to negotiate.
“From Democrats’ perspective, there is nothing left to discuss in
conference,” writes Sarah Binder, a George Washington University
professor of political science, on “The Monkey Cage” political blog
Second, Senator Reid and his fellow Democrats will wait to see if the
From their point of view, they have maintained unity against changes
in Obamacare while Republicans have scaled back demands from defunding
to delay. There are already fissures in the GOP stance in any case, as
many Senate Republicans have deplored the march to a shutdown as
unwinnable for their party.
Anything is possible in politics, but at this point it’s almost
unthinkable that Reid and President Obama would step back from their
maximalist insistence that they won’t accept any changes, delays, or
even tweaks to the Affordable Care Act as the price of renewed
Third, both parties will look to see what Speaker John Boehner does.
It’s widely assumed that a so-called clean continuing resolution — one
with no Obamacare amendments attached — would pass the House if
brought to a vote. Democrats would join with nonhardline Republicans
to provide the margin of victory.
To this point, Speaker Boehner hasn’t permitted such a clean bill to
advance. He has bowed to the wishes of the conservative Tea-Party wing
of his party that he use all means possible to fight a health-reform
law they see as a disaster for the country.
But these conservative members largely represent safe Republican
districts, and the political pressure they are most worried about is
from their right. Like Reid and Mr. Obama, they are unlikely to back
down. Conservative activists are pushing them to continue the fight.
“The GOP only has something if it now stands its ground and demands
defunding Obamacare. They must be in this to win this,” writes
right-leaning pundit Erick Erickson on “RedState.”
It’s possible that the shutdown will be a period that clears the air
in Washington, showing the limits of each side’s power and sating
desire for confrontation. That might make it easier to handle the next
crisis in line: the question of whether to raise the national debt
ceiling later in the month.
But for the moment, “the chief question is how long each party can
sustain a shutdown before folding,” writes Jake Sherman, John
Bresnahan, and Burgess Everett in Politico’s shutdown lead story.