Updated at 7:47 am through 3:34 pm EDT
With Michael C. Bender reporting on Newt Gingrich on Bloomberg Radio, Margaret Talev from the White House, and Kathleen Hunter from Congress
Could the president be winning the short-term blame game?
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1) Three days into the partial government shutdown, President Barack Obama’s job approval rating slid to 41 percent in the Gallup Poll’s daily tracking.
It’s hardly an affirmation of his position in the ongoing dispute with Congress — his disapproval rating still stands at 49 percent.
And the three-day averages of polling surveying 1,500 adults carry a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent.
Yet neither did the slide recorded last week turn into a dive over the weekend, the latest surveys taken Oct. 4-6.
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2) Republicans have “lost ground” against Obama in blame over the government shutdown, ABC News reports of its latest poll, “with Americans expressing increasing criticism of both parties in Washington, while the president’s avoided that rise in public ire.”
“Seventy percent in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll disapprove of how Republicans are handling the budget negotiations, up 7 percentage points from a week ago. Far fewer, 51 percent, disapprove of Obama’s approach, essentially unchanged in the past week.”
The survey of 1,005 adults was conducted Oct. 2-6. The results of the poll produced Langer Research Associates of New York have a 3.5 percent possible margin of error.
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3) Add the latest findings of the Pew Research Center, which initially found Republicans and Democrats pretty much sharing the blame for shutdown:
“Republicans are taking more blame for the shutdown than the Obama administration, but only by a slim margin,” Pew reports today. “By 38-30 percent, more say that Republicans are to blame for the government shutdown than the Obama administration; 19 percent volunteer that both sides are equally to blame. Two weeks ago, about as many said they would blame Republicans (39 percent) as the Obama administration (36 percent) if the federal government shut down.”
“ With the nation rapidly approaching its borrowing limit, 47 percent say it is “absolutely essential that the federal debt limit be raised to avoid an economic crisis,” Pew also reports. “Yet 39 percent are skeptical, saying `the country can go past the deadline for raising the debt limit without major economic problems.”’
The survey of 1,000, taken Oct. 3-6, has a 3.7 percent margin of error.
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It is a shame and a disgrace that the government of the most powerful and wealthy nation on the planet is shutdown. It is so sad.
— John Lewis (@repjohnlewis) October 7, 2013
* * * Senate Democrats could introduce legislation as soon as today that gives president Barack Obama the authority to raise the debt ceiling unless two-thirds of Congress disapproves, according to a Senate Democratic aide.
An initial test vote on the proposal, described by the aide on condition of anonymity, could occur as soon as Oct. 11, just six days before federal borrowing authority is set to expire. Democrats have been pressing for a one-year increase in the nation’s $16.7 trillion debt ceiling without any of the spending cuts of policy changes Republicans are demanding.
` `The method of giving Obama the authority to raise the debt ceiling barring a congressional disapproval was first proposed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, in 2011 and became part of the Budget Control Act passed in August of that year,” Hunter reports.
“The Senate Democratic aide said that strategy could make it easier to get Republican votes because no Republican would have to vote directly for a debt-ceiling increase. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said last week in an interview with Bloomberg News that he would move a “clean” debt ceiling increase bill before Oct. 17, when the Treasury expects borrowing authority to lapse.”
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They name tropical storms and hurricanes alphabetically, and on a first-name basis.
This is Shutdown John, the way the White House portrays the partial closure of the federal government for lack of a budget agreement with House Speaker John Boehner’s Republicans.
It’s Shutdown Barack, the way Boehner characterizes the president’s refusal to negotiate.
The president headed out for storm central at lunchtime today: the offices of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. He would address workers in the wake of the downgraded Tropical Storm Karen which thankfully dispersed as it came ashore in the Gulf of Mexico. FEMA is one of the many agencies affected by the lapse in appropriations, including having staff furloughed, excepted employees working without pay, and other operations impacted by the current government shutdown, according to a White House officials.
The president was thanking federal employees for their hard work, particularly over the last few days as FEMA supported its state, local and tribal partners in preparing for Tropical Storm Karen and violent weather in the Midwest. The shutdown, however, is a man-made crisis.
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“The people here at FEMA have been doing everything they can” to respond to diassters in face of a shutdown, the president said there. “But their job has been made more difficult.”
“”The government is still shut down” Congress, he said, must “move beyond this manufactured crisis.”
“Not only is this shutdown hurting FEMA workers,” Obama said. “It may end up actually costing taxpayers more.” And he reiterated his stance about not dealing with lawmakers demanding conditions for reopening the government and raising the debt ceiling. “We’re not going to negotiate under the threat of economic catastrophe.”
At FEMA, Pres Obama says 200 staffers called back from furlough for Trop Storm Karen, but at lest 100 of them will now be re-furloughed. — Mark Knoller (@markknoller) October 7, 2013
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Negotiations depend on relationships. They appear to be missing here.
Re Boehner: Why would a reasonable person need the threat of blowing up the economy to sit down and talk? That’s the def of unreasonable — Dan Pfeiffer (@pfeiffer44) October 6, 2013
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This just in from a shutdown expert today: Using the federal budget and debt ceiling as leverage in a policy debate is “how the founding fathers designed the system,” former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told Bloomberg Radio today
. “If you had better leadership you could probably avoid it, but the absence of leadership is pretty pathetic,” said Gingrich, who was in charge of the House during a 21-day shutdown, the longest in U.S. history, that ended in 1976.
Stock market changes might not help unlock the stalemate in Congress, because “the Republican Party is liberated from big business,” Gingrich said
.”It’s a wonderful thing to watch,” Gingrich said. “You now have a House Republican Party that doesn’t pay a lot of attention to K Street and it doesn’t pay a lot of attention to big business and Wall Street.”
Obama and Boehner have a duty to negotiate, because neither side can push get what they want in a politically divided Congress, Gingrich said.
Gingrich and then-President Bill Clinton “talked all through the shutdown” 17 years ago, the former speaker said today.”I don’t care how much you dislike each other you have a collective obligation to sit somewhere until you’re so totally exhausted you can finally get to an agreement,” Gingrich said.
Every veteran and their family who can should visit Washington memorials and shame Capitol police into standing down. This is petty tyranny. — Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) October 7, 2013
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On the seventh day of the partial government shutdown, there’s no clear path forward.
“The way out of the political morass in Congress remains elusive as the U.S. enters the second week of a partial government shutdown and with a potential lapse in U.S. borrowing authority just 10 days away,” Bloomberg’s Richard Rubin, Roxana Tiron and Kathleen Hunter report.
Though Republican lawmakers and President Barack Obama say they want to end the government shutdown quickly and avoid a historic default, there’s no sign they’re talking to each other and their demands are mutually exclusive. The standoff, heightened by Obama’s refusal to negotiate on measures needed to keep the government solvent and running and House Republicans’ demand for a delay in the president’s signature health-care plan, means at least one side must make a concession or find a way to describe a concession as a victory.
“I don’t know what the path out this time is,” said Martin Frost, a former Democratic congressman from Texas, a veteran of the last partial government shutdown in 1996. At least three possible routes include a resolution, based on previous deadlocks: the Senate jam, in which that chamber forces the House to accept a bipartisan compromise; the complete cave, where one party buckles under public pressure; and the fig leaf, where one side accepts a partial defeat while claiming a symbolic victory.
“There is a path out of everything,” said Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, a Georgia Republican. “You just got to find it.”
Many parts of the government were shuttered Oct. 1 after Republicans insisted on linking continuing spending authority to changes in the Affordable Care Act that Obama has said he won’t accept.
And now the shutdown has become intertwined with the need to raise the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling. The U.S. will run out of borrowing authority Oct. 17, according to the Treasury Department, and cash reserves will run dry between Oct. 22 and Oct. 31, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
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House Speaker John Boehner said on ABC News’ “This Week” that the House lacks the votes to pass a “clean” budget, one without a brake on “Obama-care.”
Rep. Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat and his party’s House whip, disputes that. Hoyver, noting on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” today that 186 House Democrats have signed a letter supporting a clean budget resolution — like the one the Senate has passed — suggested that there should be no trouble corralling the 30 or so Republican votes needed for passage. The problem with that scenario could be a Republican revolution.
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The finger-pointing continues: Boehner blames the president for refusing to negotiate, as the White House insists that “Obama-care” is non-negotiable.
The White House says the House could pass a “clean” budget without the Affordable Care Act leveraged in the deal, if Boehner would take it to a vote of the House.
Speaker Boehner says he doesn’t have the votes for a clean funding bill. I think he does. Let the House vote and we’ll find out. #JustVote
— Senator Harry Reid (@SenatorReid) October 6, 2013
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The political impact of the stalemate is not limited to Washington.
“The partial federal government shutdown is throwing a fresh risk factor into the Virginia governor’s race, putting Republican candidate Ken Cuccinelli on the defensive as the contest enters its final month,” Bloomberg’s Julie Hirschfeld Davis reports.
Cuccinelli, the state’s attorney general, and his Democratic opponent, former Democratic National CommitteeChairman Terry McAuliffe, are trading blame for congressional deadlock, cognizant that the more than 172,000 federal civilian workers in Virginia are among the hardest hit, Davis reports.
Yet strategists in both parties and analysts watching the race said it’s Cuccinelli, who must appeal both to his party’s base as well as to independent voters, who stands to lose the most before the Nov. 5 election.
He won the Republican nomination with the backing of small-government Tea Party activists, who are championing the shutdown as a way to undermine President Barack Obama’s health-care law, and appeared at a fundraiser over the weekend with Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, the highest profile advocate for the strategy that led to the current impasse.
“All of the risks here are on Cuccinelli,” said Quentin Kidd, a political scientist and polling expert at Christopher Newport University in Newport News.
“Cuccinelli is already associated in the minds of voters with the Tea Party side of the Republican Party, and the broader narrative is that the Republicans in the House and the Tea-Party faction are responsible for this shutdown,” Kidd said. “By being willing to be on stage with Ted Cruz, the Cuccinelli campaign is taking a gamble.”
Terry McAuliffe accounts for almost 45% of ALL ad spending in Virginia governors race. Ken Cuccinelli? 21%. http://t.co/4LpNoxBKY3
— The Fix (@TheFix) October 7, 2013
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Boehner insists he will not let the U.S. default on its debt. Obama says it can’t.
The markets, so far, are behaving as though they don’t see it coming — basically impossible.
But what if it happened?
“Anyone who remembers the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. little more than five years ago knows what a global financial disaster is,” Bloomberg’s Yalman Onaran reports. “A U.S. government default, just weeks away if Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling as it now threatens to do, will be an economic calamity like none the world has ever seen.”
“Failure by the world’s largest borrower to pay its debt – unprecedented in modern history — will devastate stock markets from Brazil to Zurich, halt a $5 trillion lending mechanism for investors who rely on Treasuries, blow up borrowing costs for billions of people and companies, ravage the dollar and throw the U.S. and world economies into a recession that probably would become a depression. Among the dozens of money managers, economists, bankers, traders and former government officials interviewed for this story, few view a U.S. default as anything but a financial apocalypse.”
“The $12 trillion of outstanding government debt is 23 times the $517 billion Lehman owed when it filed for bankruptcy on Sept. 15, 2008. As politicians butt heads over raising the debt ceiling, executives from Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s Warren Buffett to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s Lloyd C. Blankfein have warned that going over the edge would be catastrophic.”
“If it were to occur — and it’s a big if — one would expect a series of legal triggers, potentially transmitting the default to many other markets,” said Mohamed El-Erian, chief executive officer of Pacific Investment Management Co., the world’s largest fixed-income manager. “All this would add to the headwinds facing economic growth. It would also undermine the role of the U.S. in the world economy.”
“If we miss an interest payment, that would blow Lehman out of the water,” said Tim Bitsberger, a former Treasury official under President George W. Bush and now a New York-based managing director at BNP Paribas SA. “Lehman was an isolated company, and now we are talking about the U.S. government.”
Defaults, debt ceilings, shutdowns, sequestration… Wall Street is getting crisis fatigue | http://t.co/gGgYiq88mB
— Businessweek (@BW) October 6, 2013
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It seems lawmakers are just waiting for a financial panic before acting http://t.co/clI85HdNx0
— Taegan Goddard (@politicalwire) October 7, 2013
going to go out on a limb and say shutdown and debt ceiling won’t be solved by both sides playing media critic. yup, I said “both sides.”
— Rick Klein (@rickklein) October 7, 2013