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September 30, 2013

Obama nominates former Romney advisor to post

President Barack Obama today nominated Lanhee Chen, policy director for the Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign, as a member of the Social Security Advisory Board.

The White House notes that Chen, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, lecturer in public policy at Stanford University and lecturer in law at Stanford Law School, was policy director for the Romney-Ryan campaign, as well as Romney's chief policy adviser and a senior strategist on the campaign. Chen also served as domestic policy director of Romney's campaign in 2008.

President Obama accuses GOP of looking to refight election

With a government shutdown looking more likely by the hour, President Barack Obama on Monday warned that it would "throw a wrench into the gears" of a fragile economy.

"A shutdown will have a very real economic impact on real people, right away," Obama said, noting the federal government is the largest employer in the nation and that while paychecks may be stopped for some workers, bills won't. "Past shutdowns have disrupted the economy significantly. This one will too."

"The idea of putting the American people's hard-earned progress at risk is the height of irresponsibility, and it doesn't have to happen," he said, calling on the House to pass a clean bill.

"One faction, of one party, in one House of Congress, in one branch of government doesn't get to shut down the entire government just to re-fight the results of an election," he said. "Keeping the people's government open is not a concession to me."

Continue reading "President Obama accuses GOP of looking to refight election" »

Senate tables House budget plan

The Senate voted 54-to-46 along party lines Monday to table – or basically kill – the House of Representatives’ measure that ties funding to keep the federal government open to delaying implementation of the Affordable Care Act for one year.

The action was the first volley Monday in what could be a high-stakes political ping pong match between the two chambers as the federal government faces a shutdown at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday if Congress fails to act.

The next move belongs to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. House Republicans were meeting behind closed-doors following the Senate Vote about what they intend to do in the coming hours.

Prior to the Senate voted, Senate Republicans floated the idea of a passing one-week continuing resolution to prevent government-salaried workers from being furloughed and to keep government
agencies and services open.

 “Despite the Democrats’ refusal to work with the House to solve the problem, Republicans are working to protect the troops, prevent a shutdown and find solutions to the difficulties caused by Senate Democrats’ delay,” said Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

Democrats appeared cool to the one-week idea Monday afternoon.

“You negotiate on this, they will up the ante on the debt-ceiling on the full-time CR,” said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. “You cannot negotiate when you take hostages and extort. We’re happy to negotiate. There’s a budget. They can talk about spending for (Obamacare) in the budget.
You don’t do it this way.”

 Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., offered McConnell faint praise over the one-week funding idea.

 “I’m absolutely willing to give Sen. McConnell some credit for at least not being (Texas Republican Sen.) Ted Cruz,” she said.

Hagan lauds Justice Dept. for N.C. voter lawsuit

Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democratic lawmaker in red state North Carolina, praised the Justice Department's decision Monday to sue over her state's new voter laws.

The federal lawsuit seeks to prevent North Carolina from implementing four provisions of the new voter law, particularly a stringent photo identication measure. 

“Now is not the time to be putting up barriers to the right to vote, and I applaud the Justice Department’s decision to challenge the new voter access restrictions in North Carolina that would, among other things, cut off a week of early voting and end same day registration,” said Hagan. “Restricting access to this basic right is simply not in sync with our North Carolina values, and it goes against our state’s proud tradition of eliminating barriers to participation in the democratic process.”

 

 

 

In case of a shutdown, Obama would retain a quarter of his staff

Just like everyone else in federal govenment, the White House is preparing for a shutdown.

In a letter to the Office of Management and Budget, the White House indicates 436 employees at the executive office of the president will remain on the job while 1,265 employees will be furoughed.

Those that remain include 15 at the executive residence, 12 at the vice president's office, 42 at national security and 118 at the Office of Management and Budget.

See the full list by agency here.

Boehner: "The House has done its work"

A defiant House Speaker John Boehner insisted Monday morning the House "has done its work" on the budget, and urged the Senate to go along.

That's unlikely to happen. The House voted Sunday to delay Obamacare for a year and repeal the 2.3 percent medical device tax. The Democratic-led Senate is expected to reject those provisions later Monday.

"The House has done its work," Boehner said Monday in a House floor speech. "We passed a bill on Saturday night (actually early Sunday), sent it to the United States Senate - that would delay ObamaCare for one year, and would eliminate permanently the medical device tax that is costing us tens of thousands of jobs that are being shipped overseas.

“Senate decided not to work yesterday.  Well my goodness, if there’s such an emergency, where are they?  It's time for the Senate to listen to the American people just like the House has listened to the American people and to pass a one-year delay of ObamaCare and a permanent repeal of the medical device tax.”

Republicans would get most blame for shutdown--but Obama would get plenty

Republicans would get more of the blame for a government shutdown, according to a new CNN/ORC poll released Monday.

The survey, conducted Friday through Sunday, found 46 percent would blame Republicans while 36 percent would blame President Barack Obama. Thirteen percent blame both sides. Unless Congress and Obama agree on a spending plan by midnight, parts of the government will begn shutting down.

The House of Representatives, run by Republicans, passed Sunday a plan to keep the government open, but the Democratic-led Senate is expected to reject it later Monday.

Obama gets some of the blame--people were split on whether he's acted like a responsible leader or a "spoiled child" during the budget debate. But 69 percent thought Republicans have acted like spoiled children.

The House budget bill delays implementation of the 2010 health care law--but 60 percent said it was more important to avoid a shutdown than change the health care law at the moment.

September 29, 2013

Next move in budget battle is up to the Senate, and Democrats are pessmistic

     The next move in the budget shutdown crisis is up to the Senate.  It is expected to reject the House’s Sunday action, which will then send the budget—with no delay in health care or any of the other add-ons—back to the House.

        It’s going to be rejected again and we’re going to face the prospect of shutting down, again," Senate Assistant Majority Leader Richard Durbin, D-Ill., told CBS' "Face the Nation."

    Asked if he thought a shutdown was likely, Durbin said,  “I’m afraid I do,” after watching the House debate and vote early Sunday. The House voted to fund the government through November 15, delay implementing Obamacare for a year and repealing the 2.3 percent medical device tax.

    Here's where things stand at the moment:

Continue reading "Next move in budget battle is up to the Senate, and Democrats are pessmistic" »

House, in post-midnight Sunday votes, agrees to delay Obamacare

The House of Representatives set up a showdown with the Senate over funding the government, as Republicans pushed through their iniatives in a series of post-midnight votes Sunday.

First, the House passed a repeal of a 2.3 percent tax on medical devices, 248 to 174.

Then, it approved a one-year delay in the Affordable Care Act, 231 to 192.

Finally, the House okayed a plan to continue military pay in the event of a shutdown.

The Senate, though, is expected to reject the health care plans. Senators are due to return at 2 p.m. Monday. If Congress does not agree by midnight Monday on a spending plan to keep the government running when fiscal 2014 begins Tuesday, parts of the government will begin shutting down.

September 28, 2013

House votes on Obamacare delay expected around 11 Saturday night

The House Rules Committee formalized the rules for debating the Republican plan on the budget and health care, and final votes are now expected between 11 p.m. and midnight Saturday.

The Republican-dominated panel approved an hour of debate on plans to delay Obamacare for a year and repeal the medical device tax, which helps fund the health care law.

There will be another 40 minutes of debate on allowing military personnel to be paid in the event of a shutdown, and an hour debate on the rules themselves.

Republicans have a 233 to 200 seat House majority, and passage of all the measures is expected.

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"Planet Washington" covers politics and government. It is written by journalists in McClatchy's Washington Bureau.

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