government shutdown

Politics
2:59 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer Blames 'Extreme' GOP Wing for Government Shutdown

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer

Calling it Washington, D.C., "silliness," Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer is blaming the government shutdown on a faction in the Republican Party, which he argues is holding the country hostage.

The mayor's comments come as federal lawmakers appear to be further entrenched in their positions.

Congress failed to reach a budget deal on Monday to finance the government and certain services.

Earlier Tuesday, the Senate rejected the latest House effort to hold a conference ,and no meetings between President Obama and congressional leaders have been set.

Fischer, a Democrat, joined a chorus of elected officials outside of Washington who are scolding lawmakers over the shutdown and its possible effects on state and local governments.

"If there’s a prolonged shutdown that’s going to affect the confidence of people and that’s not going to be good for business. We do not need to go back into another recession because of this silliness that’s going on in Washington, D.C. right now where people can’t come together on agreement," he says.

This shutdown is the first in nearly two decades, and its biggest impact thus far is the furloughing of around 800,000 federal employees across the country. As of 2011, approximately 9,000 federal employees were working in Louisville, but not all of them will be furloughed if they’re considered essential personnel.

A number of monuments and agencies have already announced their closures, such as the Library of Congress and National Zoo with more expected this week.

In the first day of the shutdown, many lawmakers spent the day trying to avoid taking the political blame.

Speaking on the Senate Tuesday, Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky once again criticized Democrats for killing the fourth measure out of the GOP-controlled House.

"They’ve now said they won’t even agree to sit down and work out our differences. They won’t even talk about it. They literally just voted against working out a compromise," he says.

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Politics
9:59 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

Mitch McConnell: 'Americans Don't Want a Government Shutdown and They Don't Want Obamacare'

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.,
Credit U.S. Senate

Hours away from a government shutdown, the Democratic-controlled Senate once again rejected a House Republican spending plan that seeks to delay the president's health care law.

The party line 54-46 vote continues the back-and-forth between the two chambers with less than three hours before the midnight deadline.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky also repeated his statement blaming Senate Democrats as a partial shutdown appeared inevitable.

From McConnell's office:

"Americans don’t want a government shutdown and they don’t want Obamacare. But Senate Democrats have once again blocked a House-passed bill to keep the government open while protecting Americans from the consequences of Obamacare.

The fact that the President is unilaterally granting waivers to some Americans but not others shows that even he doesn’t think Obamacare is ready for primetime. There is bipartisan support for providing the same treatment to individuals and families that the White House has already given employers.

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Politics
7:10 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

Acknowledging GOP Will Be Blamed, Congressman Thomas Massie Describes Shutdown as 'Not a Big Deal'

Congressman Thomas Massie, R-Ky.,
Credit U.S. Congress

Rep.Thomas Massie acknowledges Republicans will face the brunt of the blame if the government shuts down at midnight.

But the freshman lawmaker from Kentucky's Fourth District says constituents have told him it is "not a big deal" if certain federal agencies and functions close.

"I’m certain we'll get blamed for it," Massie told WFPL this afternoon. "But that’s also (Senate Democratic Leader) Harry Reid’s motive for running out the clock today. And they’re hoping there is a shutdown for their own political gain."

On Monday afternoon, the Senate once again rejected a House spending bill backed by Republicans, which sought to delay Obamacare by one year and repeal the medical device tax.

This was slightly different measure than an earlier GOP pitch to take out funding for the Affordable Care Act altogether.

Democrats have made it clear any efforts to undermine the health care law are a non-starter, however.

Polling figures show 46 percent of Americans would blame congressional Republicans if a shutdown takes place. The same survey finds 36 percent believe the Democrats and president would be responsible.

The political backlash isn't lost on a group of moderate House Republicans who are reportedly planning a revolt against GOP leadership and more conservative members.

Massie is part of a group in the House members who spoke with Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas who strategized to oppose House Speaker John Boehner's plan. Asked about the impact on Kentucky, he told WFPL a partial shutdown will have limited real world effects.

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Politics
12:36 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

Alison Lundergan Grimes Says Mitch McConnell is 'Missing in Action' on Shutdown Negotiations

Alison Lundergan Grimes

Calling the looming government shutdown a "reckless Republican" strategy, Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes is accusing incumbent U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., of watching from the sidelines.

The budget impasse in Washington is expected to continue when the Democratic-controlled Senate rejects a House measure this afternoon.

If a deal isn't reached the federal government will close on Tuesday at 12:01 a.m.

At issue is implementation of President Obama's health care law, which Republican want to delay for one year. But that is considered a non-starter in the Senate and for the Obama administration.

In the meantime, the Grimes campaign is going on the offensive against McConnell by highlighting how a shutdown would impact Kentucky.

The news release points out a shutdown would close centers for 16,000 children who attend Head Start, delay payments for U.S. military service members and furlough 25,000 federal employees in the state.

Grimes says McConnell needs to be more involved in the negotiations while reminding supporters about the GOP leadership's split with Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

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Politics
2:40 pm
Sun September 29, 2013

Senator Mitch McConnell Praises House 'Compromise' Bill as Shutdown Appears Imminent

Senator Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
Credit File photo

With less than 36-hours until a shutdown, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell says a late night vote by the House has presented Democrats with a way to keep the federal government running.

The new proposal is being pitched by Republican leaders as a compromise, but it still links financing the government to the president's health care law.

Shortly after midnight, the GOP-controlled House passed a bill to keep funding the government through December 15.

The measure also delays the Affordable Care Act by one year and repeals a tax on medical devices in the law, which is considered a non-starter in the Democratic-controlled Senate and in the face of President Obama's veto pen.

McConnell says the House has put the ball in the Senate's court and the American people do not want a shutdown, but don't want Obamacare either.

From McConnell's office:

"While some in the Senate Democrat leadership may think employers should get preferential treatment over individuals and families, and that repealing Obamacare's medical device tax is 'stupid,' many other Democrats have made it clear they disagree. They should be allowed to vote to protect the thousands of good American jobs the medical device tax threatens to destroy and to give the same treatment to individuals and families that the White House has already given employers. The choice for Democrat leaders is clear: either shut down the government, or listen to the American people and act."

Democrats have poked holes in this latest move, however, calling it "smoke in mirrors" given that it once again puts funding for the president's health care law.

As observers have noted, with Obamacare's implementation set to roll out on Oct. 1 it is unlikely the president will gut his signature achievement.

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