Welcome to Day 8 of the now one-week-old federal shutdown. Week 2 begins much how Week 1 ended, with little to no sign of progress on Capitol Hill. John Dickerson, Dave Weigel, Matt Yglesias, and the rest of Slate will continue to bring you in-depth analysis from Washington. But below you’ll find a running list of today’s smaller developments, rumors, links, and theories floating around inside the Beltway and out of it.
—A small sampling of Slate’s most recent shutdown coverage—
- Moneybox: The Shutdown Means We Don’t Know the Price of Hogs—and That’s a Really Big Problem
- Politics: How the House GOP Is Convincing Itself That a Default Wouldn’t Be the Disaster Everybody Claims It’d Be
- Business Insider: The Most Irresponsible Officials in Washington Are Moderate Republicans
- Politics: How Republicans and Democrats Should Make a Deal
5:30 p.m.: Boehner’s (Short) Late-Afternoon Presser, via Business Insider:
A defiant House Speaker John Boehner said that “there’s going to be a negotiation” on the debt ceiling, dismissing President Barack Obama’s press conference earlier Tuesday as a request for “unconditional surrender” from Republicans.
Obama signaled Tuesday that he would be open to a deal that would reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling while allowing for negotiations between the two parties. “The president said today if there’s unconditional surrender by Republicans, he’ll sit down and talk to us,” Boehner said. “That’s not the way our government works.”
3:25 p.m.: Obama’s (Loooong) Afternoon Presser, via TPM:
President Barack Obama on Monday signaled he would accept a short-term measure to fund the government and extend the debt ceiling while both parties negotiate some sort of structural framework that would address broader, long-term issues related to debt and federal spending.
Obama was asked by a reporter if he would be willing to sign off on a short-term measure to allow lawmakers enough time to “negotiate what the talks are going to look like so everybody is comfortable” before the country defaults on its debt, estimated by the Treasury Department on Oct. 17 unless the debt ceiling is raised.
“If they want to do that, reopen the government, extend the debt ceiling,” Obama said at a White House press conference. “If they can’t do it for a long time, do it for the period of time in which these negotiations are taking place. Why is it that we’ve got hundreds and thousands of people who aren’t working right now in order for what you just described to occur? It doesn’t make any sense.”
12:40 p.m.: I Just Called to Say…, via USA Today:
President Obama called House Speaker John Boehner on Tuesday, again telling the Ohio Republican he will not negotiate on budget items until the GOP-run House ends the shutdown and raises the debt ceiling.
“The president is willing to negotiate with Republicans – after the threat of government shutdown and default have been removed – over policies that Republicans think would strengthen the country,” said a White House readout of the 10:45 a.m. phone call to the House speaker. The readout noted that Obama “repeated what he told (Boehner) when they met at the White House last week.”
11:45 a.m.: The House GOP’s New “Super” Plan, via the Washington Post:
House Republicans are planning to introduce two measures that would pay federal employees currently on the job on time and launch a new bipartisan House-Senate group to negotiate a broader set of fiscal issues.
House Majority Leader Eric I. Cantor (R-Va.) presented the plan during a Tuesday morning meeting with the House GOP conference. There appeared to be no opposition, allowing leaders to begin preparing to bring the bill up for a vote in the coming days, according to a senior aide in the room.
The new House-Senate panel would have a similar make-up to the joint congressional committee established in 2011, which was commonly known as the “supercommittee.” But the mandate for the new group would include addressing the debt limit and other fiscal concerns. Proposing a new panel is just the latest effort by Republicans to establish a framework for negotiations with the Senate and President Obama.
11:39 a.m.: A Halloween Deadline, via The Hill:
Washington and Wall Street increasingly see Oct. 31 as the drop-dead date for raising the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling. … Experts say the government could easily run out of funds before the end of the month, and that it’s basically impossible to nail down a specific drop-dead date, since Treasury is accepting and sending out millions of payments on any given day. …
What is clear is that the Treasury has $67 billion in payments to Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries, as well as pay for active-duty members of the military and benefits for civil service and military retirees due Nov. 1, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
One day before that, the government is supposed to make a $6 billion interest payment on its bonds. The Treasury clearly wouldn’t be able to make all of those payments on Nov. 1 unless Congress raises the debt ceiling.
11:03 a.m.: Boehner’s Table Holds Everything and Nothing, via NBC News:
There had been some speculation Tuesday that Republicans might consider a short-term extension of both spending and the debt limit in order to enter into serious fiscal talks with Obama. It would hand Democrats a minor victory immediately, but offer up a chance for the GOP to lock in reduced spending levels under the automatic “sequester” spending cuts. Republicans could also look to win entitlement or tax reforms as a result of such negotiations.
Boehner dismissed talk of such a temporary resolution as “a lot of speculation,” refusing to engage with a reporter’s question. And the Republican speaker said that he didn’t have any particular standard by which he’s measuring the GOP’s willingness to enter into an eventual deal.
“I’m not drawing any lines in the sand,” he said, later adding: “There’s no reason to make it more difficult to bring people to the table. There’s no boundaries here. There’s nothing on the table, there’s nothing off the table. I’m trying to do everything I can to bring people together and have a conversation.”
10:45 a.m.: Wall Street’s Catch-22, via NYT’s DealBook:
Warren Buffett put it this way: “We’ll go right up to the point of extreme idiocy, but we won’t cross it.”
Nobody believes the country will actually exceed the debt limit — which is exactly why it might. Oddly enough, despite all the predictions of panic, the stock market was down only marginally over the last couple of sessions.
Here’s the perversity of Wall Street’s psychology: The more Wall Street is convinced that Washington will act rationally and raise the debt ceiling, most likely at the 11th hour, the less pressure there will be on lawmakers to reach an agreement. That will make it more likely a deal isn’t reached.
9:55 a.m.: House GOP Could De-Couple Debt Ceiling From Shutdown, via the National Journal:
With the government shutdown entering its second week and the Oct. 17 debt-limit deadline looming, House Republicans are poised to pursue a strategy that deals with each crisis separately, with an emphasis on agreeing to a short-term debt-ceiling deal as quickly as possible.
According to several high-ranking Republican aides, the House GOP leadership on Tuesday morning will inform lawmakers of its plan to continue passing individual funding bills to reopen specific areas of the federal government. On a separate track, the House majority will pursue a short-term extension of the debt limit in hopes of reaching an agreement with the Senate before next Thursday’s deadline.
The proposal being floated right now, according to aides, would extend the debt limit for roughly one month and include dollar-for-dollar spending cuts. To win over skeptical conservatives, the House proposal is also likely to include language that would instruct the Treasury Department to prioritize its payments in the event a debt-ceiling agreement is not reached.
9:32 a.m.: Will We See Another Senate Filibuster? via the Associated Press:
Democrats controlling the Senate plan to move quickly toward a vote to allow the government to borrow more money, challenging Republicans to a filibuster showdown as the time remaining to stop a first-ever default on U.S. obligations ticks by.
A spokesman said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid could unveil the measure as early as Tuesday, setting the table for a test vote later in the week. The measure is expected to provide enough borrowing room to last beyond next year’s election, which means it likely will permit $1 trillion or more in new borrowing above the current $16.7 trillion debt ceiling that the administration says will be hit on Oct. 17. It’s not expected to include new spending cuts sought by Republicans.
9:27 a.m.: Where’s Joe?, via Politico:
When President Barack Obama laid out his strategy for the current debt-limit fight in a private meeting with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid this past summer, Reid stipulated one condition: No Joe Biden. And while Biden attended the White House dog-and-pony show meeting last week with congressional leaders, Reid has effectively barred him from the backrooms, according to sources familiar with the situation. …Biden was once Democrats’ deal-maker-in-chief, designing budget pacts with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in the summer of 2011 and New Year’s Eve 2013. But Biden’s deals rubbed Democrats raw. He gave up too much, they said. And for that, they have frozen him out - at least for now.
9:20 a.m.: The Muted Effects of the Shutdown, via the Washington Post:
The economic damage from the government shutdown will probably be muted as thousands of Defense Department employees returned to their jobs Monday and lawmakers worked on a deal to provide back pay to furloughed civil servants. Economists warned that some effects will linger, with consumers feeling spooked and pockets of the economy afflicted by closed national parks or a slowdown in government-related business. But the collective impact of a scaled-back shutdown is expected to be small, and many economists have already shifted to sounding the alarm over a significantly scarier scenario: the likelihood that a paralyzed Congress will allow the nation to default on its debts. …
Fuller had estimated that the Washington region would lose more than $200 million a day during the shutdown, largely in lost income for federal workers. But over the weekend, the House passed a bill that would pay employees for their time at home. The Senate is planning to move forward on the measure this week. Fuller said the bill would turn the furloughs into paid vacations, diminishing the economic impact of the shutdown. Meanwhile, the Pentagon called back almost all of its employees, saying they provided direct support for the active-duty military. That helped defuse a potential cascade of furloughs in the Washington region’s $70 billion government contracting industry.
9:05 a.m.: The Chick-fil-A Caucus, via the Los Angeles Times:
They are not just tea party members but a combination of newcomers and veterans who, by sheer force of their personalities, and emboldened by safe conservative districts, have chosen to defy Washington’s traditional norms of conversation and compromise. They could be called the Chick-fil-A Caucus, after the monthly hearings convened by some conservative leaders, shadow government-style, in ornate committee chambers where they proudly serve sandwiches from the company made politically famous by the owner’s opposition to same-sex marriage.
Their fierce commitment and the intense support of their outspoken constituents to slash spending and halt President Obama’s healthcare law almost guarantee there will be no speedy resolution to the standoff that has forced parts of the federal government to close. … About half of the 232 House Republicans were elected in the last two elections, many with little or no legislative experience. Before winning seats, these Republicans who became congressmen included farmers, a car dealer, a funeral home director and a champion lumberjack. New district boundaries and the increased tendency of Americans to cluster in like-minded communities have created what some political scientists say is the most polarized Congress since the late 19th century. Republicans are far more Republican; Democrats are more Democratic.