House Votes Down Democrats’ Latest Effort To End Government Shutdown
WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives rejected an effort by Democrats Wednesday to force a quick end to the continuing partial government government shutdown.
By a 227-197 vote Wednesday, the House rejected a move by Democrats aimed at forcing the House to vote on immediately reopening the government without clamping any restrictions on President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
The Democratic-run Senate has already approved such legislation.
House Republican leaders have refused to allow their chamber to vote on that plan. They have approved legislation that would reopen government, but only with a one-year delay in the health care law’s requirement that individuals purchase health insurance.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama said he will negotiate with congressional Republicans only after they agree to reopen the federal government and after they increase the nation’s borrowing authority, which is set to hit its limit in mid-October.
Obama says engaging in deal-making now would leave him and other presidents vulnerable to what he calls extortion by opposition parties.
Obama made his remarks Wednesday in an interview with CNBC.
He blamed the current impasse on, quote, “one faction of one party in one chamber.”
He said he would be willing to negotiate long-term budget issues, including savings in big spending programs like Medicare and Social Security, but said he would also want to eliminate tax loopholes to generate revenue to pay for some of his education and infrastructure priorities.
Obama met with congressional leaders at the White House earlier Wednesday. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said it was a nice conversation but suggested little progress was made. He said he wants Obama and Democrats to sit down for a serious discussion about funding the government.
Boehner says House Republicans have sent four proposals for funding the government to the Senate, but they’ve all been rejected. He says the Senate should appoint conferees to work out differences between a House and Senate proposals.
A funding cutoff for much of the government began Tuesday as a Republican effort to kill or delay the nation’s healthcare law stalled action on a short-term, traditionally routine spending bill.
PHOTOS: NYC Feels Effects Of Shutdown
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) earlier offered a new round of budget talks to House Republicans if they allow the government to reopen.
He proposed that the talks occur on a nonbinding measure known as a budget resolution that can serve as a template for follow-up legislation on the budget.
“House Republicans have proposed one cockamamie idea after another that have no chance of passing,” Reid said.
Democrats have been pressing for official negotiations on the budget resolution for some time, but Republicans have resisted, saying they won’t give any ground on taxes.
“In the end they got their shutdown, which they think will help them politically,” McConnell said.
Republicans are insisting on concessions such as a delay in the law’s mandate that individuals purchase health insurance as a condition of reopening the government.
Boehner rejected the offer, said spokesman Michael Steel.
There were some rumblings from Republicans who wanted to reopen the government.
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) accused tea party-backed lawmakers of trying to “hijack the party” and said he senses that a growing number of rank-and-file House Republicans — perhaps as many as 100 — are tired of the shutdown and will be meeting to look for a way out.
“There are only about 30 to 40 people who are responsible for all of this. It’s really disturbing,” King said. “It’s a minority and they’re able to get their way because not enough people are willing to stand up to them. We have to stand up to them.”
But GOP leaders and tea party-backed members seemed determined to press on. The House GOP leadership announced plans to pass five bills to open popular parts of the government — including national parks, processing of veterans’ claims, the Washington, D.C., government, medical research, and to pay members of the National Guard.
The White House immediately promised a veto, saying opening the government on a piecemeal basis is unacceptable.
“Instead of opening up a few government functions, the House of Representatives should re-open all of the government,” the White House said in an official policy statement.
Democrats in Congress said it was unfair to pick winners and losers as federal employees worked without a guarantee of getting paid and the effects of the partial shutdown rippled through the country and the economy.
“This is not how you run a country,” said Gwen Miller, a furloughed federal worker. “If that’s what they’re in there for, then they need to be removed themselves and then they’ll understand how it is go without money and a paycheck.”
Buffalo congressman Chris Collins introduced a bill that would force elected officials to forfeit their pay during the shutdown.
Staten Island congressman Michael Grimm said he supports it.
Meanwhile, the shutdown continues to impact federal workers, agencies and other facilities across the country.
On Capitol Hill, National Intelligence Director James Clapper said 70 percent of the intelligence workforce, including the CIA and NSA, have been furloughed, CBS 2’s Dick Brennan reported.
“This seriously damages our ability to protect the safety and security of this nation and its citizens,” Clapper said.
Closer to home, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y. is closed as a result of the shutdown.
As a matter of policy, cadets are not allowed to speak to the media, but one student told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell that they’re on standby to be on standby.
There is security stationed at the front gate and the roughly 700 students are being fed, but not much else is happening on campus, Haskell reported.
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