Our government, especially House Republicans, are such an embarrassment to the nation at this point it is hard to write about it. The insanity knows no bounds as they continually play a game of chicken with the United States economy in order to get their way, even when these shenanigans are condemned by the American people. Republicans are reportedly delusional and believe somehow the Senate will accept their absurd Obamacare attack and trying to force America's poor to stave. The latest in this saga is a Senate vote to reject yet another house bill trying to delay Obamacare while passing a temporary funding bill that keeps the government operating until November 15th.
The Senate is expected to reject decisively a House bill that would delay the full effect of President Obama’s health care law as a condition for keeping the government running past Monday, as Senator Harry Reid, the Democratic majority leader, expressed confidence that he had public opinion on his side. Angering Republicans who lead the House, Mr. Reid kept the Senate shuttered on Sunday, in a calculated move to stall action on the House measure until Monday afternoon, just hours before the government’s spending authority runs out at midnight.
Our government is like a bunch of two year olds who need a nap. There are two issues going on, one is to fund the government so it doesn't stop running, which looks like a sure bet not to happen and the other is to raise the debt ceiling so the United States does not default on her financial obligations. USA Today put together a FAQ on government shutdowns and what it means to you in terms of services provided. One interesting fact is this latest shutdown does nothing to stop Obamacare as the exchanges for the uninsured are state run and will be open for business on October 1st.
A shut down is bad enough but the debt ceiling will assuredly cause economic catastrophe. The debt ceiling is how much the government can have in outstanding debt and not raising it causes cascading defaults since the U.S. Treasury won't be able to pay the bills. It is not future borrowing, it is about paying for what has already been bought. CNN also created a FAQ on the nasty consequences. House Republicans have threatened to not raise the debt ceiling if their delay in Obamacare implementation isn't passed and signed by the President. This is governance by hostage taking and extortion.
If a shut down happens it will be the first since 17 years ago when the GOP and President Clinton had their showdown and there is quite a history of shut downs The thing is, who cares if there is a history for this is insane. One would think after over 237 years as a nation, these sorts of fiendish follies would be curtailed, yet here we are with yet another manufactured crisis. Such cutthroat politics puts the globe in a frenzy, economies in a bind and causes unneeded psychodrama, traumatizes the American people and paralyzes the nation with fear. Just when one thinks it cannot get worse, it does.
Economists estimate that a two-week shutdown could cut GDP growth by 0.3 percentage points and one that lasted three-to-four weeks could cut growth by as much as 1.4 percentage points.
While most are predicting a government shutdown, there is a bit of sanity shining through the dark tumultuous clouds covering Capital Hill although sans a miracle, we wouldn't bank on these reports. Last check Wall Street sure isn't.
Shortly after House Republicans unveiled their latest gambit targeting Obamacare in exchange for funding the government, Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) went off-script by throwing his support behind the Senate bill, which is known as a clean continuing resolution, because it continues government funding without major amendments to other legislation.
"Let's see what the Senate sends back," Dent told reporters Saturday. "If they send back another clean CR, I suspect -- again, I'm not making a decision on what's going to be on the floor -- a clean CR would likely to be on the floor at some point."
"I’m prepared to vote for a clean resolution tomorrow," he added Sunday, according to The New York Times' Jonathan Weisman. "It’s time to govern. I don’t intend to support a fool’s errand."
We'll be updating this article with the latest going ons as they happen, but odds are crazies in Congress will shut down the government.
Update September 30th, 10pm EST:
Here we are with crazies gunning for Obamacare with the Senate rejecting the House latest bill which once again tries to stop Obamacare. It seems they don't give a damn how much economic damage and pain it causes to regular people. The deficit is now projected to increase by $2.5 billion and GDP as mentioned, it projected to lose 0.3 percentage points over Q4 GDP and if this goes on for a month, a shutdown will slam economic growth by 1.4 percentage points. Roughly 800,000 to a possible 1 million Federal workers will be furloughed with no pay and odds on no ability to retroactively get those lost wages back. That's quite a massive layoff in a labor market not creating jobs. Even if temporary this is a major blow to American workers. Poor women with children with suffer as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program won't be funded. Veterans will be impacted as services shut down and some home loans would be halted. Bottom line by crazies in the House refusing to fund the government, they will cost America much more.
There is just one silver lining in that Obama would have to delay the push through on yet another bad trade deal, the TPP. Even getting a passport will be impacted.
Update October 1st
No surprise, the government is now shut down as House Republicans successfully hold America hostage over Obamacare.
Update October 1st, 2pm EST
Even websites are shutting down and no economic data is publicly available. The BEA, which is our national accounts, responsible for measuring GDP and other metrics when in turn the world relies on, is completely shut down. The Census which takes care of all sorts of daily economic and people measurements, is completely shut down. Economic reports are already affected such as today's construction spending. From usa.gov there is a growing list of places and activities shut down. We think some of this is political for a website doesn't need an entire division to run, yet not having personnel around to monitor could lend itself to hacking.
Congress? The House Republicans are still at it, using Obamacare as an excuse to take America hostage and shutdown the government and Senate Democrats along with the administration are not budging. The issue is not just Obamacare, it is about threatening the United States economically if a minority doesn't get their way and while we're not too happy with corrupt Democrats either, on this score, this just has to stop. Governing by putting a gun to the head of the United States is unacceptable.
Update October 4th, 2:30pm EST
A new poll shows most of America blames Republicans for the shut down and are furious. Meanwhile politicians are really throwing around nasty insults, doing silly political posturing and getting on cable news with untrue talking points. Nice huh, these people are so out of touch with reality they think talking points will somehow make this better.
There are now 21 House Republicans ready to vote on a temporary budget bill from the Senate that does not have the Obamacare strings attached and this is enough to pass along with Democratic House votes. So far, House Speaker John Boehner will not bring the bill to the floor for a vote. These defecting Republicans, assuming all Democrats vote for the bill would mean there are four more votes than needed to pass the resolution to re-open the government.
Most amusing in that some states the health exchanges are offering better insurance and way lower premiums, although in other states this isn't true and Republican voters are finding this out. Repercussions are also happening in the Senate with other GOP Senators furious with Freshmen Tea partier Ted Cruz. Senators must win state wide elections unlike House members who are most often in gerrymandered districts. This means no matter how odious and corrupt, they are, no matter how nonsensical and outright crazy, in a gerrymandered district they will get re-elected. They don't have to answer to the people for for the district boundaries were drawn like the fence of an insane asylum, capturing all votes of that nut job class and crazy people like to cluster.
The congressional map is far more gerrymandered today than it was 17 years ago during the last shutdown, when House Speaker Newt Gingrich was negotiating with President Bill Clinton. According to David Wasserman, who analyzes House races for the Cook Political Report, 79 of the 236 House Republicans serving during the last shutdown resided in districts that Clinton won in 1992. Today, just 17 of the 232 House Republicans are in districts that Obama won in 2012.
The post-2010 redistricting process combined with recent demographic shifts helped solidify the Republican majority; few GOP seats are seen as seriously endangered in the midterm elections. But those factors have also put House Speaker John Boehner in a straitjacket, forced to answer to a Republican conference that has little appetite for resolving the standoff on anything resembling Democratic terms.
So that's the situation, dug in, under siege, by some crazies representing districts where due to past party manipulations to ensure a select type of votes, there is no way to get these nut jobs out of Congress. Long term, America should raise hell about manipulating congressional district borders to set up a situation where the most insane people are the ones who get into office,