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.”
Less than 24 hours after voting to slash food stamp funding, House Republicans moved on to a full government shut down. On Friday, the US House of Representatives passed their version of a short-term spending resolution, which includes a measure to defund Obamacare. Before the vote, Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell called on Republicans to “wake up from their radical, ideological dream” and oppose the legislation.
The United States House of Representatives is in the midst of a food stamp showdown. House Republicans want to slash the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by nearly $40 billion dollars, and House Democrats are fighting it with all their might. The drastic cuts are almost ten times the amount approved by the U.S. Senate in June as part of the farm bill.
On Wednesday, President Obama raised the pressure on Congressional Republicans, and asked business groups to help avoid another economic crisis. In a speech before the Business Roundtable, the president urged business leaders to demand that Republicans end their continued “brinksmanship” over two upcoming budget deadlines. President Obama said, “I'm tired of it, and I suspect you are too.”
On Monday, 12 people were killed in a mass shooting in our nation's capital, and at least 8 others were injured. Within minutes of the first shots, hundreds of police and naval officers surrounded the Naval Sea Systems Command headquarters, and police shot and killed the lone gunman.
More than 1,200 people are unaccounted for in the wake of historic flooding in Colorado, and authorities say that more rain is on the way. Currently, flood waters cover more than 2,000 square miles in Colorado, and spread across 15 counties. The unprecedented flooding is being called a “1,000 year event,” as half a year's worth of rain hit that region in a 24-hour period, and more continues to fall.
As of Thursday, Syrian officials said their country had become a full member of the Chemical Weapons Convention, however U.N. officials reacted with caution.
It's no longer just an expression – the rich are getting richer, and the rest of us are being shut out of the game. According to a new report from economists Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty, the top ten percent of income earners in our nation took home more than half of all of the income in 2012. That is the highest percentage ever recorded in the 96-year history of data collection.
On the eve of the 9-11 anniversary, President Obama laid out an emotional case for a new military action. During the majority of his 17-minute speech from the East Room of the White House, the President tried to address the concerns of opponents to a Syria strike.
On Monday, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said, “We are calling on Syrian leadership to not only agree on placing chemical weapons storage sites under international control, but also it's subsequent destruction and fully joining the treaty on prohibition of chemical weapons.” Shortly afterward, a Syrian official told reporters that his nation welcomed the proposal.
On Monday night, President Obama will make his case to the media for military action in Syria. The President will sit down for interviews with six major news networks, and call on Congress to approve the military strike. His task is complicated by strong opposition from members of Congress, and a vast majority of the American public.
According to top administration official, President Obama will not strike Syria without Congressional approval. During an interview on NPR, Deputy National Security Adviser Blinken said, “the president has the authority to act,” even without congressional approval, but added, “it's neither his desire nor intention to use that authority absent [of] Congress backing him.” And, that approval is looking less and less likely.
The G20 summit in Russia is officially underway, and it's being dubbed an international showdown. Although G20 summit typically focuses on the global economy, this year's event is being dominated by the potential U.S. strike in Syria. Tensions between President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin have mounted over possible military action, and tensions don't appear to be easing any time soon.
When it comes to food stamps, the debt ceiling, or any other legislation, Congress isn't great at meeting deadlines. But apparently, they have no problem putting a rush on going to war. On Tuesday, members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee agreed on the wording of a resolution to authorize a military strike in Syria.