U.S. Government Begins "Tea Party" Shutdown

Search form

U.S. Government Begins "Tea Party" Shutdown

U.S. Government Begins "Tea Party" Shutdown
Tue, 10/1/2013 - by Dan Roberts
This article originally appeared on The Guardian

The U.S. government was forced to begin closing swaths of non-essential services on Tuesday morning after frantic rounds of late night political sparring failed to avert the first federal shutdown in nearly two decades.

As a midnight deadline to extend Congressional spending authority ticked ever closer, Republicans staged a series of last-ditch efforts to use a once-routine budget procedure to force Democrats to abandon their efforts to extend U.S. health insurance.

Three separate attacks on the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, were staged by the House of Representatives, only to be rejected in turn by the Democrat-controlled Senate, which accused Republicans of holding the country to ransom.

Shortly before midnight, Senate majority leader Harry Reid marked the end of the process by rejecting House calls for formal talks to reconcile their conflicting positions, arguing it was impossible to negotiate with a “gun to our heads”.

“This is a very serious time in the history of our country,” Reid said. “Millions of people are going to be affected tomorrow and the Republicans are still playing games”

An estimated 800,000 federal workers will be forced to stay at home from Tuesday under a stalemate that could drag on for days and disrupt services as varied as national parks and the U.S. space program.

The White House has drawn up a list of essential staff who are legally allowed to carry on working, but President Barack Obama warned that a shutdown would have an immediate affect on the fragile U.S. economy.

“We do not have a clear indication that Congress will act in time for the president to sign a Continuing Resolution before the end of the day tomorrow, October 1,” said a White House statement issued shortly before midnight.

“Therefore, agencies should now execute plans for an orderly shutdown due to the absence of appropriations. We urge Congress to act quickly to pass a Continuing Resolution to provide a short-term bridge that ensures sufficient time to pass a budget for the remainder of the fiscal year, and to restore the operation of critical public services and programs that will be impacted by a lapse in appropriations.”

Obama also issued a statement to military employees after signing a Republican-proposed law that exempts active-duty servicemen from the effects of the shutdown, but will not protect civilian workers.

“I know the days ahead could mean more uncertainty, including possible furloughs,” Obama said. “You and your families deserve better than the dysfunction we’re seeing in Congress.”

House speaker John Boehner denied that Republican tactics were responsible for the shutdown, insisting Democrats were to blame for refusing to negotiate over Obamacare.

“I didn't come here to shut down the government,” Boehner said during one of several heated House debates.

“I came here to fight for a smaller, less costly and more accountable federal government. But here we find ourselves in this moment dealing with a law that’s causing unknown consequences and unknown damage to the American people and to our economy. And that issue is Obamacare.”

But Democrats are confident that U.S. public opinion will continue to hold Republicans to blame for what could be days of disruption until a deal can be struck.

They argue that Republicans are using underhand methods to overturn a law that was passed four years ago, ratified by the supreme court and endorsed by voters at the last presidential election.

Senator Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, said: “If we surrender to hostage-taking tonight, these guys would be back within a couple of weeks without a shadow of a doubt. What we are dealing with tonight is an extraordinary anti-democratic act.”

Originally published by The Guardian

Article Tabs

The coalition was set to deliver more than 200,000 signatures to the White House, Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice, calling for transparency and justice in police killings.

Divestment is less about denying fossil fuel companies the financial resources to operate – it's more about denying them reputation, legitimacy and “social license.”

Americans greatly underestimate the degree of inequality in our country – and if we were given proper media coverage of the endless takeaway of wealth by the super rich, we'd be taking it personally.

Wealthy people are often so isolated from the rest of us, many of them have forgotten how rich they really are.

Two political philosophers, Sheldon Wolin and John Ralson Saul, call for mass movements willing to carry out repeated acts of civil disobedience to disrupt and delegitimize corporate power.

Florida has the highest foreclosure rate in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2014, and also has a "foreclosure king" who is now disbarred for his failure to oversee employees accused of carrying out wrongful foreclosures.

Posted 4 days 9 hours ago

"Peoples' movements will either succeed in transforming our economic and political systems to build a new world, or we will burn with the old one."

Posted 4 days 9 hours ago

This isn't just a right to revolt, it's a call to revolt, an outright slam against apathy and nonresistance.

Posted 3 days 8 hours ago

On Sunday, hundreds of people milled around a protest site in the gentrifying, densely-populated district Mong Kok, manning aid stations and sitting in small circles on the pavement.

Posted 4 days 9 hours ago

The city's social justice roots are centuries old – and today Seattle is also home to more than 70 social justice organizations and more than a dozen progressive film festivals.

Posted 2 days 10 hours ago

The new 40-page report published by Oxfam International also said the global fossil fuel sector now receives $1.9 trillion in subsidies each year.

Divestment is less about denying fossil fuel companies the financial resources to operate – it's more about denying them reputation, legitimacy and “social license.”

Inequality is all anybody can talk about, except Democrats on the campaign trail who desperately need to turn out the very people so disproportionately affected by it: young and minority voters.

The nation's richest family is funding nearly two dozen organizations working to roll back renewable energy policies, while pushing for regulations aimed at hindering the growth of rooftop solar power.

More than 110 students were reportedly arrested by the military-backed authorities during the first days of the new academic year.

Sign Up