Monday evening, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell negotiated a deal to end the economic standoff. Their plan would temporarily fund the government and lift the debt ceiling, and leave the next round of sequester cuts in place. In addition, their deal would require income verification for Obamacare recipients, and establish a committee to work out a broader budget plan by December 13th.
Over the weekend, House Republicans and President Obama hit a stalemate in fiscal negotiations, and the Senate moved on to work out their own plan. On Saturday, after meeting with the President, House Speaker John Boehner told his party that talks with the White House had broken down. So, Senate leaders immediately started their own negotiations to deal with the government shutdown, and the debt ceiling.
If you were standing outdoors looking at the distant and reddening sky 250 million years ago as the Permian Mass Extinction was beginni
House Republicans continue to point the finger at President Obama for the government shutdown. However, Senate Democrats are moving forward with a plan to prevent economic disaster. According to the New York Times, rather than waiting for the Tea Party to come to their senses, Democratic leaders in the upper chamber will present a debt ceiling increase proposal this week.
Our government is still shut down, but that won't stop the kings and queens of America from holding court. This week, the Supreme Court begins their new session, and the docket looks like a Republican wish list of laws they'd love to see overturned. On Tuesday, the justices will hear oral arguments in McCutcheon v. FEC, which is another challenge to campaign contribution limits.
The real dangers of this government shutdown are becoming clear, but Republicans just want to keep up their political game. On Thursday, we found out that the Capital Police, who stopped a potentially-dangerous situation at the White House, will soon see their pay disappear. In Gulf Coast states, thousands of FEMA workers are furloughed, even as Tropical Storm Karen is expected to become a hurricane.
It's the third day of the government shutdown, and Congress appears no closer to a resolution. President Obama and Senate Democrats continue to call for a clean government funding bill, and Tea Party Republicans are still holding our nation hostage with a long list of demands. All the while, Republican leaders claim that the shutdown is the democrats' fault for being unwilling to negotiate.
You wouldn't know it by listening to right-wing media, but Obamacare is off to a great start. On the first day of open enrollment, millions of Americans around our nation visited online marketplaces, and tens of thousands of people created accounts. The overwhelming demand for information did leave several sites running slowly, but overall, the first day of the Affordable Care Act was a huge success.
For the first time in 17 years, our government is officially shut down. Just hours before the midnight deadline, the House Republicans passed a third government funding proposal, which included another absurd attempt to undermine Obamacare. As expected, the Senate rejected that version, and called on the House to pass a clean continuing resolution.
Over the weekend, House Republicans approved a so-called compromise to avoid a government shutdown. However, their idea of negotiation was nothing more than ridiculous, right-wing demands they included in the continuing resolution. Rather than voting on the complete defunding of Obamacare, republicans voted to delay the healthcare law for an entire year.
On Thursday, Secretary of State John Kerry met with Iran's Foreign Minister, for the first substantive talks in a generation. Tensions between the U.S. and Iran have been strong since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and no secretary of state has met with an Iranian counterpart since 2007. And, for almost three decades, relations have been strained further by economic sanctions imposed on Iran over their nuclear program.
Congress hasn't yet prevented one potential government shutdown, and the next one is right around the corner. On Wednesday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew warned that our nation will hit the debt ceiling on October 17th. At that point, the Treasury Department will have only $30 billion dollars in cash on hand.
On Tuesday, Senator Ted Cruz took the floor of the Senate to launch an all-night fake filibuster. His 21-hour marathon speech was arranged in advance, and there was no way it would stop the Senate from voting on a continuing resolution to fund the government. Senator Cruz stayed on the floor all night, without so much as a bathroom break, just to keep himself in the public eye, and to fund-raise for the Republican Party.
On Tuesday, President Obama addressed the United Nations about Syria and ongoing conflicts in the Middle East. The President challenged the UN and member nations to stand together against the chemical weapon use in Syria, and approve the controversial agreement under which President Assad would hand control of the deadly weapons to the international community.
Pope Francis did it again. On Sunday, during a meeting with a group of unemployed workers, the Pope abandoned his prepared comments and railed against economic inequality. Pope Francis has previously spoken out against harsh austerity policies that are harming millions around the world, but at this speech on the island of Sardinia, the Pope condemned the “god of money” and today's “economic culture.”