WASHINGTON — The partial government shutdown is now in its ninth day. While some people aren’t feeling the impact yet, effects are hitting communities across the country.
Here’s what you need to know.
Up to speed
President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner continued to speak past each other in separate news conferences and a short telephone call Tuesday. Their public posturing has so far yielded few results as the two leaders can’t even agree on whether to negotiate.
The president again said he would not negotiate on the debt ceiling or government funding. Boehner’s retort: “The long and short of it is there’s going to be a negotiation here.”
But CNN’s Dana Bash reported that a slight — very slight — opening might have emerged after another full day of stalemate. Republicans may be open to a short-term extension of the debt ceiling if the president agrees to negotiate, a Republican source said.
Meanwhile, both the Senate and the House are moving forward without regard to the other. The House will vote to create a negotiating committee and on a bill to ensure “essential” federal workers don’t miss a paycheck. The Senate is expected to reject that and will instead debate a proposal to raise the debt ceiling, which is expected to go nowhere in the House.
Paul Ryan emerges
Remember Rep. Paul Ryan? The Republican budget guru who was on the losing ticket in the 2012 election? Right, him. Well, he’s still a member of Congress and still sits at the top of the Budget Committee. The budget wonk at the center of budget and spending battles in previous years broke his months-long silence Wednesday morning. In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, he took a measured tone, saying “both sides should agree to common-sense reforms of the country’s entitlement programs.”
Missing from his piece? The word “Obamacare.”
That’s a different tact than what many of his tea party-aligned colleagues want, which is the dismantling of the health care law. And Sen. Ted Cruz’s speechwriter noticed the omission. Amanda Carpenter tweeted: There is one big word missing from this op-ed. start(s) with an O and ends with BAMACARE
Remember Vice President Joe Biden? The 2012 Democratic vice presidential candidate who sat on the winning ticket? The guy who negotiated the last fiscal stalemates? Well, he’s still the vice president. But his silence is deafening.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is making sure Biden remains silent, CNN’s Gloria Borger reported. He’s made that point very clear, both inside and outside of the White House. As one administration official put it, “Reid is convinced he needs to stand his ground.”
159: The Dow’s dip on Tuesday
.355: The interest rate of Treasury bill sold at auction Tuesday
300: The percentage increase of the rate of Treasury bills a week prior
2,000: Number of workers stranded at the Grand Canyon without enough money to leave
27,000: Number of furloughed workers collecting unemployment insurance in the D.C. area
Time of Need
The families of five soldiers who recently lost their lives in Afghanistan are facing another tragedy. The $100,000 government benefit to assist each family with burial and reclaiming the body is going unpaid.
Recipients in North Carolina who have not yet picked up their food stamps for October are out of luck. The state announced that it doesn’t have the money for the 20% of benefactors of the Women, Infants and Children food program who have yet to collect this month’s supplement, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
Time of do-with-what-you-have
CIA agents responsible for undercover work, counterintelligence and intelligence gathering are being called back to work because of the “threat to the safety of human life.” Director John Brennan wrote in a memo to CIA employees: “This does not mean that we can recall all of our employees. We only have the ability to recall workers involved directly in our core missions.”
A small business that fights wildfires in the western United States has laid off a dozen workers since the shutdown. With 80% of its business coming from government contracts, Mark Masters, owner of Chloeta Fire, said he lost tens of thousands of dollars in the last week.