POLITICS

Obama: Shutdown Forced By Republicans On 'Ideological Crusade' Against Obamacare

10/01/2013 05:13 pm ET

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama says House Republicans have shut down the federal government over an "ideological crusade" against his health care law.

"This Republican shutdown did not have to happen. But I want every American to understand why it did happen. Republicans in the House of Representatives refused to fund the government unless we defunded or dismantled the Affordable Care Act," Obama said. "They’ve shut down the government over an ideological crusade to deny affordable health insurance to millions of Americans. In other words, they demanded ransom just for doing their job."

Obama spoke in the Rose Garden on the first day of the government shutdown. He said the longer the shutdown continues, the worse the impact will be.

"We know that the last time Republicans shut down the government in 1996, it hurt our economy," Obama said. "And unlike 1996, our economy is still recovering from the worst recession in generations."

The president said Republicans should not be able to hold the entire economy "hostage." He urged them to reopen the government quickly and allow furloughed federal employees to go back to work.

"I urge House Republicans to reopen the government, restart the services Americans depend on, and allow the public servants who have been sent home to return to work," he said. "This is only going to happen when Republicans realize they don’t get to hold the entire economy hostage over ideological demands."

Obama insisted he wouldn't give in to Republicans.

"As long as I am president, I will not give in to reckless demands by some in the Republican Party to deny affordable health insurance to millions of hardworking Americans," he said.

The government shut down because Congress did not pass a funding bill ahead of Monday's midnight deadline for the end of the 2013 fiscal year.

Earlier Tuesday, Obama sent federal workers a letter lamenting that they had become "punching bags" in Washington's partisan fiscal fights. About 800,000 federal workers are being forced off the job.

Obama said that if the shutdown continues, it will make it more difficult to recruit talented people for government jobs.

"We’re better than this," he said.

17/10/2013 05:30 BST

Obama Signs Budget Bill

From the White House:

On Thursday, October 17, 2013, the President signed into law:

H.R. 2775, the "Continuing Appropriations Act, 2014," which provides fiscal year 2014 appropriations for projects and activities of the Federal Government through Wednesday, January 15, 2014. The effective time for the continuing resolution begins on October 1, 2013. H.R. 2775 also extends the Nation's debt limit through February 7, 2014.

Read more here.

17/10/2013 04:58 BST

White House Receives Budget Legislation

17/10/2013 04:13 BST

Frank Lautenberg's Widow Reaps $174,000 In Senate Budget Bill

Hours before Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) won a New Jersey special senatorial election to succeed the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D), U.S. senators paid tribute to Lautenberg in their own way.

Rushed to approve a 35-page deal to fund the government and avert a debt default, senators allowed a few unrelated provisions to slip through.

One was section 146, guaranteeing $174,000 -- the equivalent of one year's salary -- to Lautenberg's widow, Bonnie Englebart Lautenberg.

Read more here.

-- Ashley Alman

17/10/2013 03:59 BST

Federal Employees Back To Work Thursday

Director of the Office of Management and Budget Sylvia Mathews Burwell released the following statement Wednesday evening:

"Now that the bill has passed the United States Senate and the House of Representatives, the President plans to sign it tonight and employees should expect to return to work in the morning. Employees should be checking the news and OPM's website for further updates."

17/10/2013 03:36 BST

Stenographer Removed For Shouting On House Floor

A shouting stenographer was removed from the House floor as lawmakers voted on a deal to reopen the government and avoid a debt crisis.

The stenographer began shouting as the the House approved the number of votes needed to pass the bill. According to reporters, she was yelling about God and Freemasons:

-- Paige Lavender

17/10/2013 03:27 BST

House Vote: 285-144

The House voted 285-144 to reopen the federal government and raise the debt limit.

Read more here.

17/10/2013 03:18 BST

Republicans Score Amazing Own Goal

HuffPost's Arthur Delaney and Dave Jamieson report:

After voting this year to keep federal employees' pay frozen, Republicans in Congress have accidentally given many government workers their first raise in three years.


It's one of several unintended consequences of the Republican gambit to defund Obamacare by shutting down the government. It isn't a nominal raise, and it won't improve most workers' lives one bit. In fact, so far it's brought mostly misery and anxiety. But here's how it's a one-time raise.

Hundreds of thousands of federal workers have been off the job for two weeks due to the government shutdown. As part of the deal hatched Wednesday to reopen the government, Congress included a measure to pay those workers retroactively for the time they missed, as a matter of fairness, just as it has in the budget impasses of yesteryear. The rationale: federal workers shouldn't have to pay the price for Congress's failures.

But in a symbol of just how wasteful a government shutdown is, lawmakers -- many of whom complain that the federal workforce is bloated, and who haven't granted workers a single cost-of-living adjustment since 2010 -- have forced federal employees to perform two fewer weeks of work for the same salary, all due to congressional squabbling. That's a full pay period, amounting to 3.8 percent of annual wages.

Read more here.

17/10/2013 03:14 BST

House Passes Budget Deal

The House has voted to end the latest damaging battle of divided government in a polarized Congress.

Read more here.

17/10/2013 03:13 BST

House Has The Votes

17/10/2013 03:05 BST

Mitch McConnell Wins The Praises Of... Democratic Leaders

HuffPost's Jennifer Bendery reports:

There was a lot of back-patting among Democratic leaders Wednesday after the Senate passed its bill to end the government shutdown and avert a debt default. But some of their most effusive praise was for the leader of the other party, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who cut a deal with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) at the eleventh hour to avoid catastrophe.

"The Republican leader's cooperation was essential to reach an accord," Reid told reporters, noting his sometimes rocky relationship with the GOP leader. "I've worked with McConnell for many years. The last bit has not been ... [long pause] good."

McConnell "stepped up to be [Reid's] partner when it really counted," said Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.).

Read more here.

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