Author Topic: US on brink of government shutdown  (Read 2664 times)

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Offline thaiga

US on brink of government shutdown
« on: October 01, 2013, 11:48:21 AM »
The United States stumbled to within hours of a government shutdown, as a budget duel between President Barack Obama and Republicans threatened America with a self-inflicted economic wound.

As a mood of crisis enveloped Washington, three hours before a midnight deadline (0400 GMT), there were no signs of compromise to head off the first such disaster in 17 years.

Instead, the Democratic-led Senate and Republican House of Representatives played a futile game, sending funding bills between them that were doomed to fail.

The US Senate late Monday swiftly killed the latest House measure to delay Obama's health care law.

Obama accused Republicans of holding America to ransom with their "extreme" political demands, while his opponents struck back at his party's supposed arrogance.

Around 800,000 government workers faced being sent home, government services were to be slashed and monuments such as the Statue of Liberty and national parks were to be closed.

The crisis is rooted in an attempt by "Tea Party" Republicans in the House of Representative to make passage of a new government budget conditional on thwarting Obama's signature health reform law.

The Democratic-led Senate and the president have repeatedly rejected this strategy and are urging Republicans to pass an extension to government funding to temporarily stave off the shutdown.

In a deeper sense, the shutdown is the most serious crisis yet in a series of rolling ideological skirmishes between Democrat Obama and House Republicans over the size of the US government and its role in national life.

"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," Obama said, referring to his own re-election.

"Time is running out. My hope and expectation is that in the eleventh hour once again, that Congress will choose to do the right thing and that the House of Representatives in particular will choose the right thing.

"You don't get to extract a ransom for doing your job, for doing what you're supposed to be doing anyway," he said, in a stern televised statement at the White House.

But on a day of accelerating brinkmanship, Republicans doubled down on their bid to gut Obamacare, as the health care law, the most sweeping social legislation in decades, is known.

With just three hours to go, House lawmakers passed a bill that would delay the individual mandate, which forces all Americans to buy health insurance under the new law, for a year.

"It's a matter of fairness for all Americans," said Republican House speaker John Boehner, who has struggled to control the riotous anti-government Tea Party faction of his caucus.

But the Senate, which must also sign off on budget measures, immediately rejected the bill.

That left House leaders with perhaps a final decision on whether to pass the "clean" budget resolution stripped of all political riders that Democrats are demanding, before the government closes down.

Democratic congressman Alan Grayson accused Republicans of "playing charades" and trying to deprive 40 million uninsured Americans of health care.

But one Republican, congressman Lou Barletta believed that a last minute compromise could emerge.

"At the end of the day we'll vote for a clean (budget) ... to keep the government running."

Obama warned that a government shutdown could badly damage an economy which has endured a sluggish recovery from the worst recession in decades.

"A shutdown will have a very real economic impact on real people, right away. Past shutdowns have disrupted the economy significantly," Obama said.

Consultants Macroeconomic Advisors said the shutdown would slow growth, recorded at a 2.5 percent annual pace in the second quarter.

A two-week shutdown would cut 0.3 percentage point off of gross domestic production.

A shutdown would also have a painful personal impact on workers affected -- leaving them to dip into savings or delay mortgage payments, monthly car loan bills and other spending.

Stocks on Monday retreated as traders braced for the shutdown. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 128.57 points (0.84 percent) to 15,129.67.

Markets are likely to be even more traumatized if there is no quick solution to the next fast approaching crisis.

Republicans are also demanding Obama make concessions in the health care law to secure a lifting of the current $16.7 trillion debt ceiling, without which the United States would begin to default on its debts for the first time in history by the middle of October.

"Congress needs to keep our government open, needs to pay our bills on time, and never, ever threaten the full faith and credit of the United States of America," Obama said.

But Boehner hit back, saying the health law, large tranches of which come into force on Tuesday, was "not ready for prime time."

Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer meanwhile likened Boehner to a priest in a Mayan ceremony, making "a sacrificial offering to the right-wing gods."

The dispute is threatening Obama's plans to head to Asia for a week-long trip on Saturday to pursue his rebalancing of foreign policy towards the dynamic region.

Polls show more Americans would blame Republicans for the shutdown than Democrats, leaving Boehner torn between his party's wider political interests and a vocal section of his own party.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.

Offline thaiga

Re: US government shuts down ♦ video
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2013, 06:12:13 PM »

It is now past midnight in Washington DC and the new fiscal year has begun. And since the US Congress has failed to come up with last-minute agreement to fund the US government, many government services will soon start the process of shutting down.

If you one the 800,000 US federal government employees, you are supposed to go to work tomorrow morning where you will find out if you are considered "essential" nor "not essential" . If you are not considered essential you are to clear up any work, cancel any appointments and then leave by noon. You will return to work when the federal government has money to pay you.

There will soon be a lot of pressure on members of Congress to put aside their differences and get the government back up and running. Republican members, who have tried to use the funding issue to stop President Obama's healthcare plan, will feel the most heat from angry US citizens Already, there are signs of uneasiness among moderate Republicans. Most experts are saying the shutdown is unlikely to last long and the healthcare demand will be dropped – at least temporarily

Tueday morning update

Last minute-efforts to avoid a government shutdown are being likened to a game of ping-pong. The Republican-dominated House of Representatives passes a bill to fund the government if funding for the president's health care plan is delayed a year. The Democrat-dominated Senate reject that condition and demand a "clean" funding bill President Obama is complaining the Republican's  are using the funding crisis to "extract ransom" .

Meanwhile, the clock is ticking. 9:00am Thai time is 10pm Washington. The shutdown process begins at midnight or 11am our time.

read more bangkokpost

Government shutdown 2013 - First Government shutdown in 17 years! 10/1/2013

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.

Offline thaiga

Re: US Embassy in Bangkok still open despite US's shutdown
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2013, 06:23:24 PM »
The US Embassy in Bangkok on Tuesday announced that the embassy and the Consulate General in Chiang Mai remain open to the public as the US government began its first partial shutdown in 17 years after Congress failed to break a partisan deadlock by a midnight deadline.

The embassy issued a statement in its facebook; U.S. Embassy Bangkok, saying that all consular services, including visa processing, are also open for public.

"The U.S. Embassy in Bangkok and Consulate General Chiang Mai remain open to the public. As always, our priorities remain providing safety, security, and service to U.S. citizens. We are open for all consular services, including visa processing,"

The shutdown idled as many as 800,000 federal employees, closed national parks and halted some services.


More from reuters
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


  • Guest
Re: US on brink of government shutdown
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2013, 10:14:38 PM »
It's quite remarkable that politicians can send home civil servants without pay while still being paid themselves. It's even more remarkable that it's possible to do it over what is no more than a political power play.

What strange things are going on over there these days.

'Curiouser and curiouser!' cried Alice.

Online Taman Tun

Re: US on brink of government shutdown
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2013, 09:50:25 AM »
If the shutdown goes on for long enough then maybe the American people will realise that they do not need these expensive Government departments.
The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.
Winston Churchill


  • Guest
Re: US on brink of government shutdown
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2013, 10:19:41 AM »
Slimmer perhaps, TT, but surely not disbanded.

The Speaker seems to have got himself into a cleft stick.

Offline thaiga

Re: US government shutdown ♦ thousands of workers sent home
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2013, 03:48:11 PM »
Obama urges Republicans to back down with shutdown set to enter second day

President says House Republicans 'holding the entire economy hostage' after a day that saw thousands of workers sent home

The political deadlock that forced the closure of large portions of the US government on Tuesday, bringing financial uncertainty to hundreds of thousands of federal workers, appeared likely to enter a second day without a resolution.

As national landmarks were barricaded, museums closed, and an estimated 800,000 federal employees were placed on indefinite leave, Barack Obama called on Republicans to back down over their opposition to his healthcare reforms rather than "hold the entire economy hostage".

Striking a defiant tone in the Rose Garden of the White House – one of the many government offices operating on a slimmed-down staff – Obama declared that the Affordable Care Act was "here to stay". Flanked by citizens who will benefit from the reforms, whose central provisions came into force on Tuesday, Obama said: "They've shut down the government over an ideological crusade to deny affordable health insurance to millions of Americans."

The Republican leader of the House, John Boehner, focused on the refusal by Obama and senior Democrats to negotiate.

"The president isn't telling the whole story when it comes to the government shutdown. The fact is that Washington Democrats have slammed the door on reopening the government by refusing to engage in bipartisan talks," he said.

Federal agencies affected by the shutdown began the process of closing their doors on Tuesday, hours after Congress failed to pass a budget resolution that would have ensured their continued funding.

Hardline Republicans in the House of Representatives repeatedly refused to back down from their insistence that a deal over the federal budget should be linked to various measures that would unpick the Affordable Care Act, a law that has passed both houses of Congress, survived a presidential election and that has been upheld as constitutional by a conservative supreme court.

Outside the halls of power, the impact of the shutdown was visible across Washington. Shortly after 11am, thousands of federal employees poured out of government buildings after working the maximum-permitted four hours. Many had spent the morning turning on out-of-office alerts on their emails and closing down their offices.

Meanwhile, bemused-looking tourists were unable to access any of Washington's major museum and turned back from the monuments that stretch across the National Mall, large parts of which were barricaded. The lights were off at the Lincoln memorial, where the huge edifice of the beloved 16th president sat in the shadows.

It was a similar story around the US: in New York, the Statue of Liberty was closed to visitors, as were the Grand Canyon, Yosemite and Yellowstone national parks. Campers and hikers were given two days to pack up and leave.

The tax-collection agency, the Internal Revenue Service, suspended audits. Most of the staff at Nasa were furloughed, save for essential staff at Mission Control in Houston. The National Institutes of Health said that it would have to turn down an estimated 200 patients a week, 30 of them children, who applied to enrol in its clinical trials.

The most politically embarrassing moment for Congress came when a group of veterans in effect forced their way into a Washington war memorial closed by the shutdown.

But on Capitol Hill, there were few signs of a resolution, with the Republican-dominated House insisting on using the budget to impede the healthcare law, and Democrats in the Senate refusing to be strong-armed into negotiations.

Both sides blamed each other for the shutdown, although some fissures were appearing on the Republican side, particularly in the Senate. Polls suggested that the public held Republicans most responsible for a shutdown that could drag on for days or weeks.

Ominously, one senior House Republican hinted at a battle that could last weeks and incorporate a looming crisis over the debt ceiling, which could trigger a US default if it is not raised with congressional approval before 17 October.

"We think the debt limit is the forcing mechanism," Paul Ryan told reporters. "That's what we think will bring the two parties together."

In the latest salvo, House Republicans proposed measures that would involve piecemeal funding bills designed to mitigate a few of the more high-profile aspects of the shutdown that are proving most damaging in terms of public relations.

The bills, which would release national parks and veterans services from the shutdown, and could help fund basic services Washington, DC, was scheduled for a vote on Wednesday night. Serving military personnel have already been exempted from the shutdown after a rare agreement between the House and Senate over the weekend.

The White House press secretary Jay Carney dismissed a piecemeal approach on government funding as "not serious." He said: "If we want to open the government, they should open the government."

However, even if the House and Senate agree to find short-term solutions to diminish the more prominent impacts of the shutdown, the consequences for the vast apparatus of the federal government would remain.

Although it had been brewing for some weeks, the first US government shutdown since 1996 appeared to take many in Washington by surprise, with several furloughed federal workers saying they never thought Republicans would actually see through their threat.

The impact of the shutdown on Tuesday were as varied as they were surreal. Children's playgrounds around Capitol Hill were closed, restaurants that serve government workers shuttered, and some government websites and Twitter feeds suddenly became inactive. There were crowds of furloughed federal workers outside nearly every government building; some emerged clutching pot plants, unaware how long they would be locked out.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.

Offline Baby Farts

Re: US on brink of government shutdown
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2013, 09:22:21 AM »
Quote about Obama going viral.

This is a comment from a reader of Prager Zeitung, a German language newspaper published in Prague:

“The danger to America is not Barack Obama but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America. Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. The Republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him their president."

And here's the quote of the day.  Not sure of the source.

"Negotiating with Obama is like playing chess with a pigeon.  The pigeon knocks over all the pieces, shits on the board and then struts around like it won the game."


  • Guest
Re: US on brink of government shutdown
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2013, 10:03:15 AM »
That's a bit harsh to say the least. My impression is that it's the fools who voted for Tea Party members who should be blamed. On the other hand, many other Republican lawmakers are extremist hot heads.


  • Guest
Re: US on brink of government shutdown
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2013, 10:17:57 AM »
I suspect that Obama's sin in the eyes of rednecks and other extreme Republicans is that he has a black skin. However, he has a bloodline back to English Royalty. So do most past Presidents and he has distant blood connections with some of those people too.

Offline Baby Farts

Re: US on brink of government shutdown
« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2013, 09:15:50 AM »
I am a descendant of all of those presidents too. Some are my cousins too, ten times removed.  In sense we are all related.  ;D