Bulletin Daily Paper 09-22-13

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at t e ovei.nment oo s i e w en it's ait cose By Lisa Rein The Washington Post

With no deal in sight between the House, Senate and White House to pay the nation's bills after midnight on Sept. 30, much of the federal government is set to run out of money 10 days from now, and large functions of the federal world could shut down Oct. 1. What might this mean for you, your family and for the

people who keep the gov-

ernment running day to day — even as Democrats and Republicans inCongress bicker over whether to stop funding President Barack O b ama's health care law and other fiscal issues they cannot seem to resolve? Here aresome basicsofw hat a government shutdown might looklike: . What got us to this point, . and who's at fault if the government closes'? . As w i t h m o s t t h i n gs . in W a shington, n a ming who's at fault would likely depend o n yo u r po l i t ical persuasion. Under a budget law passed 39 years ago, the House and Senate must approve 12 appropriations bills funding the federal government by Sept. 30, the last day of the fiscal year. It almost never happens. In the past 17 years — in 10 of which Congress was controlled by Republicans, four by Democrats and two with mixed leadership in the chambers — Congress did not meet its statutory deadline for approving the spending bills. This year's confrontation is over the conservative Republican effort to defund the Affordable Care Act. On Friday, the House approved a stopgap bill to fund the government that would strip all funding for the law, large parts of which are set to take effect Oct. 1. The bill is considered to have no chance of passage in the Democraticcontrolled Senate. • Is the government mak• ing preparations to close on Oct. 1?




If there is a shutdown

• Yes. The Obama admin• istration told a g encies The federal government could shut down if Congress is unable to this week to begin planning for reach a compromise to fund the government beyond Sept. 30. a partial shutdown. A memo isExamples of services affected in a government shutdown: sued to agencies said that "prudent management r equires Parks, museums that agenciesbe prepared for • Almost 400 National Park Service sites the possibility of a lapse." would close; Smithsonian, other museums, Federal managers must remonuments would close; Washington, view which of their employees D.C.'s, Cherry Blossom Paradecanceled wouldbe essential andrequired to come to work, and which Armed forces would be nonessential and sent • Military would continue to work but get IOUs home during a shutdown. for paychecks during shutdown Agencies are notifying their • Health care and other services for veterans employees to expect some chacould be curtailed os: On Thursday, for example, StateDepartment UndersecreFederal tax returns tary for Management Patrick • Processing of paper returns (more than 20 Kennedy issued a memo makpercent of all returns) and refunds would ing clear that a lapse in fundstop; audits delayed I ing to keep the government • E-filed returns, refunds not affected running could mean that "a number of employees may be Federal workers and services temporarily furloughed." About 800,000 would be furloughed • ~ < . Does the entire govern• Border Patrol hiring could be put oa hold . ment close? Will anyone • ~ Applicat ions for U.S. passports and U.S. patrol the borders? Will servicvisa applications could be delayed es disappearand benefits such as Social Security checks stop? Small business, housing What about services to vetersmall Business Administration would stop ans? Can I still see the panda approving loans cub at the National Zoo'? • • ~ • New l o an guarantees from the Federal • In a ny s h utdown, the Housing Authority not processed • g overnment d o es n o t stop functioning completely. 5 ~~ Healt h , environment By law, certain agencies must • No new patients accepted for clinical research be allowed to operate with unat National lnstitutes of Health salariedemployees. According • Environmental Protection Agency review of to the Office of Management environmental impact statements would stop and Budget, those are employ•I ees who: • Provide for national seSource: Congressional Research Service, Graphic: Judy Treible, Melina Yingling curity, including the conduct OfficeofManagement and Budget © 2013 MCT of foreign relations essential to the national security or the would still be patrolled. VeterThese entitlement prosafety of life and property. ans in hospitals would still re• grams a re c o nsidered • Provide for benefit pay- ceive care. mandatory spending, although ments and the performance Government operations not payments could slow down if of obligations under no-year directly paid for by the Trea- fewer federal employees must or multi-year contract or other sury, the largest of which is the handle the work. funds remaining available for U.S. Postal Service, also would In the shutdowns in 1995 those purposes. continue. and 1996, military veterans • Conduct essential activiIn a similar shutdown threat saw some health and financial ties to the extent that they pro- in 2011, the government said services delayed. H owever, tect life and property. that of the roughly 2.1 million some servicesfor veterans are Managers would still have to non-postal federal employees, funded by budgets that cover decide how the work is execut- all but about 800,000 would be multiple years, which means ed, such as who stays on the job kept on the job. the Treasury would have to pay and who doesn't. So while the What happens to Ameri- for them. panda cub and her zoo-mates • cans who are expecting • Would f e deral w o r k will get fed, the zoo may not be checksfor Social Security and • ers and contractors be open to visi tors. The borders other benefits? pald?



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• A ccording t o OM B ' s on Sept. 30. • missive this week, em. Weren't a lot of federal ployees who stay on the job . employees furloughed would not get a paycheck at this year? first. But they would be en. Yes, almost half of them. titled to retroactive pay once . The standoff on Capitol the government is r u nning Hill is over funding for fiscal again. 2014, which begins Oct. 1, beIt gets murkier for nones- cause Congress has not passed sential employees. They would any regular appropriations. have to come to the office on The recent furloughs were the first day of a shutdown for the result of a nother fiscal up to half a day to secure files, showdown that set into motion fill out time and attendance automatic cuts known as seforms and "otherwise make questration. The largest agenpreparations to preserve their cy, the Defense Department, work." furloughed about 650,000 ciWhether they would recover vilian employees for six days. lost pay is up to Congress and Government workers are the White House. In past shut- also in the third year of a pay downs, those employees were freeze. paid retroactively, but there is • Do the p resident and no guarantee. They could not . Congress cont i n u e substitute paid leave such as working? vacation time, or even work • The president and povoluntarily. That's against the • litical a p p ointees a re law. exempt from f u rloughs, al• Has t h e g o v e rnment though that's not true for all • shut down before? White House staff. Lawmak• Not in recent years. But ers would continue working • the government closed and would be responsible for six times between 1977 and deciding who on their staffs is 1980, and nine times between essential. 1981 and 1996. Shutdowns in In past shutdown threats, the 1970s and 1980s ranged the judiciary has said it could from three to 17 days. A shut- continue operating for posdown in November 1995 last- sibly two weeks with some ed five days. The most recent fees and funds from previshutdown was from mid-De- ous years. Afterward, judges cember 1995 to early January would have to go home. 1996. That one lasted 21 days. . How does a shutdown . end'? The threat has come up re• It's up to Congress and peatedly in recent years as lawmakers and the adminis• the White H ouse. No tration have battled over fiscal doubt there would be plenty of policy. pressure from the public and Some say a shutdown now workforce. There is no law setwould have a bigger fallout ting a time limit. than in 1995. Back then, several appropriations bills had been signed into law, including the two that funded the military, so most of the government stayed open. Many affected agencies operated at a reduced level during the three weeks by spending down savings from previous budgets. But this time, no appropriations bills have been signed into law. That means the entire government would have no money to operate at midnight







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Key groundwork is being laid now for control of Congress next year By David Lightman

us and we'll protect your interMcClatchy Washington Bureau ests.There are also candidates WASHINGTON — V oters who may yet decide to run, as a may not see the yard signs, but protest of how incumbents are the 2014 election campaign is voting. "The message to House Rewell underway. Congress is t a k ing " t est publicans is simple: Keep your votes"that are more props for promises ...or get ready for future TV ads than serious challenges fro m p r i n cipled governing.Interest groups are conservatives back home," said raising millions to buy the TV Brent Bozell, the president of ads that will flood the airwaves ForAmerica, a c o nservative next fall. And potential candi- group. dates are deciding whether to One vote filled with political run. implications didn't happen, at "There's already a narrative least not yet. being written," said Janine ParCongress was expected to ry, the director of the Arkansas vote on Obama's request to Poll, a state with one of the key authorize a m i l i tary s t r ike battlegrounds next year that against Syria, with such an acwill determine which party tion highly unpopular among controls the Senate. nearly every political and deAct I i s being written on mographic group. Such votes the floors of the Senate and would have been alluring fodthe House ofRepresentatives, der for challengers. Conservawhere Congress is voting on tives could blast Republicans if partisan political manifestos they backed Obama. Liberals that have little chance ofbecom- who also were eagerly railing ing law but very great chances against the plan could criticize of being used for or against the Democrats. people who cast the votes. War votes have a history of Last week, fo r e x ample, haunting political ambition. In the House took another vote, 2002, then-Sen. John Kerry, Dbringing the total to more than Mass., voted to authorize Presi40, aimed at diluting the 2010 dent George W. Bush to wage health-care law, knowing that war in Iraq, a vote that at the such measures will go nowhere time looked politically popular. in the Democratic-run Senate. Just a few days ago, though, The House also voted Aug. 2, he told a television interviewer largely alongparty lines, to keep he'd been opposed to Bush's the Internal Revenue Service decision. from enforcing or implementing Votes clearly can have politithe law. That, too, has no chance cal consequences. They guide of getting past the Senate or ratings by interest groups that President Barack Obama. inform voters and help candiAlready, the Republicans' dates raise money. c ampaign c o m mittee h a s They also pose risks. Taking launched a seriesof ads tar- too strident a position might geting Democrats who vote ward offa primary challenge against the defunding or repeal now, then backfire if conditions efforts. One ad against Rep. change. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla., claims Take Arkansas, where Sen. that he "voted to keep the scan- Mark Pryor, a Democrat, faces dal-ridden IRS in charge of en- a tough challenge from Reforcing Obamacare." publican Rep. Tom Cotton, a Other votes in the weeks to conservative favorite. Cotton is come on such hot-button issues proud of his staunch opposition as health care, taxes and spend- to the health care law, boasting ing will be used for and against that "it's clear that Obamacare candidates in ads. They're a is every bit the disaster Arkanuseful fundraising tool: Elect sans feared it would be."

But what if the law requiring nearly everyone to obtain coverage next year proves to be popular? "The risk is that Re publicans overplay their hand," Parry said. Behind the scenes, potential candidates are making decisions about their futures that could make or break races. When Sen. Max Baucus, DMont., decided to retire after six terms, Democrats hoped that popular former Gov. Brian Schweitzer would run, win and holdtheseat. He declinedto run, Republican Rep. Steve Daines is expected to enter the race and Montana is now viewed as a

likely Republican pickup. Democrats also lost a strong candidate in South Dakota, where former Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin said she wouldn't seek to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson. As someone who'd run and won statewide, she would have been a formidable candidate to hold the seat in an otherwise Republican-leaning state. Republicans have had their own setbacks. In M i chigan, Republican Reps. Mike Rogers and Dave Camp said they wouldn't seek the seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Carl Levin, costing the GOP potentially strong challengers to take a seat the Democrats have held since 1979. More heartening to Republicans arethe decisions made by hopefuls that they'll run. Rep. Bill C assidy, R-La., said he'd challenge Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La. In West Virginia, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-WVa., decided to give up the House seat she's held for seven terms in a bid to take the Senate seat of Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who's retiring. Capito's House district covers a third of the state, and she won it with 70 percent of the vote in the last election. Democrats have their own boasts. Two potentially strong Sen-

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ate candidates, Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky and Michelle Nunn i n G e orgia, decided to engage in long-shot, but winnable, battles. Unusually big money is fueling these early battles. Outside interest groups have poured more than $1.1 million into Kentucky and $1 million into Arkansas. The big money not only helps establish challengers as serious candidates, it also allows them to begin planting doubts about the incumbents in the public mind. The public may not be zeroing in on the races just yet, but the seed money is being firmly planted. As i n dependent p olitical analyst Stuart Rothenberg put it, "This early stuff can matter alot."

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