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Thread: US Government shutdown looms

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    Default US Government shutdown looms

    Sounds to me like they have "reached an agreement".

    The "Numbers" as Harry Reid just put it, "Are there" but apparently he is blaming the Right for an "ideological gap".

    Personally, that sounds like the blame game to me, and honestly, I'm GLAD the Republicans are standing their ground.

    Shut it down.

    I want to see a lot of these people sitting at home for weeks on furlough.

    We might actually accomplish OUR jobs now.
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    Default Re: US Government shutdown looms

    I'm sorry all these morons out there crying about a government shut down are just Liberals.
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    Default Re: US Government shutdown looms

    Obama says shutdown would be ‘inexcusable’


    Gallery: Government shutdown: Democrats and Republicans have so far failed to reach an agreement on the 2011 federal budget, increasing the likelihood of the first government shutdown in more than 15 years..




    By Paul Kane, Perry Bacon Jr. and Philip Rucker, Wednesday, April 6, 11:34 PM


    Congressional negotiators raced against the clock Wednesday to reach a deal to fund the government for the rest of the year.
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    Video: President Obama says budget talks have helped to narrow the issues, but there is no deal yet to avert a shutdown. He spoke after a late-evening meeting with House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. (April 6)

    Federal Worker Reactions: Click individual words above to explore what federal workers have to say about a possible government shutdown. And tell us about what your agency is telling you.


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    As Democrats and Republicans continued to bicker publicly over who is responsible for the weeks-long stalemate over the 2011 budget, senior aides to House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) made progress in private talks, raising hopes for at least the broad outlines of a pact by week’s end.
    The two leaders then spent nearly 90 minutes Wednesday night in the White House with President Obama, who told reporters in a very rare late-night briefing that progress was made but no deal was yet at hand.
    “I remain confident that, if we are serious about getting something done, we should be able to complete a deal and get it passed and avert a shutdown,” Obama said. “But it’s going to require a sufficient sense of urgency from all parties involved.”
    He also sounded a stern note about the consequences. “It would be inexcusable, given the relatively narrow differences when it comes to numbers between the two parties, that we can’t get this done,” Obama said. “There’s no reason why we should have a government shutdown unless we’ve made a decision that politics is more important.”
    After trading public accusations earlier in the day, Boehner and Reid sounded a far more conciliatory tone Wednesday night. “I have confidence that we can get this done,” Reid said, adding that the group had “narrowed the issues significantly.”
    Boehner, who has not made a joint appearance with Reid on a legislative matter in recent memory, agreed that “some progress” had been made and “there’s an intent on both sides . . . to work together to try to resolve this.”
    But the speaker reiterated that there was “no agreement on a number, and there’s no agreement on the policy questions.” The leaders said their staffers would work through the night and they would resume negotiations Thursday.
    Even if they do reach an agreement, both sides acknowledged that it may be all but impossible for the bill to make its way through the House and the Senate before midnight Friday, when Washington will effectively run out of money and the government is set to shut down.
    To keep that from happening, House and Senate leaders would have to agree to yet another stopgap resolution to keep Washington open into next week.
    At a meeting with fellow Republicans, Boehner announced that he will bring a one-week spending resolution to the House floor for a vote on Thursday. It calls for $12 billion in cuts and would fund the Pentagon for the rest of the year. Republicans rallied around the idea. The teary-eyed speaker received a standing ovation from GOP members, lawmakers said.
    Even the most conservative lawmakers, led by Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), vowed to support what they called the “troop funding” measure, and Boehner’s closest allies grew confident that the good spirits would carry over to a compromise plan on a full-year measure, particularly after the release Tuesday of a 2012 budget proposal designed to save trillions, not billions, of dollars.

    “I think there’s a transformational moment here recognizing that big gains come with the budget which we’re marking up, and I think that’s shifted an attitude to say it’s time to move beyond $10 billion, $11 billion, $3 billion, $60 billion, whatever. We’ve got trillions we need to deal with to get this country on firm footing,” said Rep. Greg Walden (Ore.), a member of the vote-counting team of Republican whips.
    Senate Democrats dismissed Boehner’s one-week proposal — which also contains an unrelated provision to ban federal and local government funding for abortions in the District — as a political maneuver: Democrats will certainly vote against it, allowing the GOP to blame them if the government shuts down.
    “We’ve been more than reasonable, more than fair,” Reid said in a speech Wednesday evening on the Senate floor. He suggested that it was Boehner who was afraid to cut a deal.
    “All they would have to do is say yes,” Reid said.
    Before this week, Obama largely distanced himself from the spending talks. He routinely mocks Congress as a group of children — a line that works with crowds outside Washington but irritates Democrats and Republicans alike inside the Capitol.
    Obama’s remarks late Wednesday completed a highly unusual day in which he left town for campaign-style events, believing that the two sides were coming together, only to call Reid and Boehner to the White House for a meeting that would start minutes after he returned from New York.
    “You want everybody to act like adults, quit playing games, realize that it’s not just my way or the highway,” he said in a speech Wednesday afternoon in Fairless Hills, Pa., outside Philadelphia. “How many folks are married here? When was the last time you just got your way? I mean, that’s not how it works.”
    The president and Democrats argue that the two parties first need to agree on the details of a budget deal. If that happens, they say, both Democrats and Republicans will have an incentive to compromise on a short-term resolution to keep the government open.
    As the leaders traded insults, their aides focused on trying to extract as much as $40 billion from the 2011 budget, according to aides in both parties, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private talks.
    Congressional staffers involved in the negotiations have compiled an array of possible cuts. They are ready to assemble a final spending plan if Boehner and Reid instruct them to do so.
    Once such a bill is drafted, Boehner’s biggest task would be selling it to his fellow Republicans.
    Some members of the most critical bloc of conservative Republicans — the 87 freshmen — have signaled that they might be willing to compromise on a 2011 spending plan in order to move on to bigger issues, including the 2012 budget proposal that GOP House leaders announced Tuesday. A vote on that bill could come next week, but Boehner first wants to end the dispute over this year’s funding plan.
    “I think we need to get this behind us,” said freshman Rep. Robert T. Schilling (R-Ill.). “Right now we need to keep the government open, make sure the military are taken care of, and then move on to the debt ceiling and everything else.”
    While a potentially decisive group of Democrats appears willing to support the emerging 2011 spending plan, Boehner has sought to draw as much support as possible from within his own caucus. He spent the past week denying claims from Vice President Biden and Reid that he had agreed to $33 billion in cuts. Instead, he floated $40 billion as an acceptable number.
    Negotiators reported strong progress Wednesday but were still trying to work out what to cut and by how much.
    The two sides have already approved $10 billion in reductions, and Democrats have identified about $13 billion more, aides said. The biggest sticking point: Democrats have demanded that some of the cuts come from one-year reductions in such programs as Pell grants and farm subsidies. Republicans have resisted because such cuts would not permanently reduce the size of the government.
    To reach his new request for $40 billion in cuts, however, Boehner will eventually have to go along with at least some one-time reductions, aides from both parties said.

    kanep@washpost.com

    baconp@washpost.com

    ruckerp@washpost.com
    Bacon reported from New York and Washington.
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    Default Re: US Government shutdown looms

    April 7, 2011 Federal shutdown could close some US parks

    Federal shutdown could close some US parks





    (AP) FORT SUMTER, S.C. (AP) — The looming shutdown of the federal government includes the National Parks Service, which could mean festivities commemorating the start of the Civil War with the attack on Fort Sumter could happen without Fort Sumter.

    A shutdown would also affect trips to the nation's capital, where the Smithsonian and the National Zoo would be among the first to close, and could cause spring break campers out West to find Yosemite and other parks closed.

    If lawmakers can't reach agreement, the National Park Service ceases operations at midnight Friday, shuttering Fort Sumter in the middle of Charleston Harbor in South Carolina just days before events marking the 150th anniversary of the first shots of the war.

    "It's a very special event and it would be very sad if something like that happened," said Chris Kimmel of Harrisburg, Pa., who visited the fort Wednesday as a chaperone with a group of high school students from another town tied to the war, Gettysburg, Pa.

    Events for the anniversary have been planned for years. Hundreds of Union and Confederate re-enactors plan to stay in Forts Sumter and Moultrie, another Park Service site across the harbor, during a week of events.

    If there is a shutdown, plans will move forward to re-enact the bombardment Tuesday with about 30 cannons ringing the harbor from sites not on federal land.

    "I'm shocked. This is a pivotal event in the nation's history," said Jeff Antley, who is coordinating arrangements for an estimated 1,000 re-enactors coming to the city. "You can't say we're going to reschedule for May. The money has been spent. The uniforms have been bought. The travel arrangements have been made."

    Kate Gibbs, a spokeswoman for a group that promotes tourism in the nation's capital, said the National Mall will remain open, although the world-class Smithsonian museums would go dark.

    "What we might stand to lose is the National Park Service expert who can add that ounce of magic by saying, 'You're standing where Martin Luther King stood when he delivered the 'I have a dream' speech,'" said Gibbs, of Destination DC.

    It's a busy time for Washington. The National Cherry Blossom Festival, which draws about 1 million visitors each spring, is finishing up this weekend, though it wasn't clear how a government shutdown would affect events.

    At Yosemite National Park in California, students on spring break flock to the majestic mountains this time of year to see waterfalls swollen by winter rains, park spokesman Scott Gediman said.

    Any shutdown, he said, would be done in phases.

    "It's such a complicated place with campgrounds, trails, hotels, tour buses," Gediman said. "It's not as simple as we close the gate and everybody goes home."

    About 1,000 workers employed by a company that runs park services as well as about 800 park workers would be affected. Business outside the gates would also suffer.

    "We really don't have a whole lot of industry other than tourism," said Lester Bridges, president of the Mariposa County Chamber of Commerce.

    If there has to be a shutdown, April is the best time of year for Yellowstone National Park, where snow is forecast for the next several days.

    For much of the month, only buffalo and a few hardcore bicyclists visit Old Faithful. The few hardy visitors are usually weekend warriors looking to spy on wolves in the Lamar Valley or ski or snowshoe.

    The park had about 33,000 visitors last April. "That's about a day during our peak summer months," park spokesman Al Nash said.

    A closure could set preparations back for the busy summer season. About 300 miles of road are being plowed while hotels, stores and park facilities have to be opened, and water and sewer systems have to be readied.

    "If the park doesn't open on time, it's definitely going to be a financial hit for businesses that already struggle with a highly seasonal economy," said Bill Berg, president of the chamber of commerce in Gardiner, Mont., just outside the park's north entrance.

    Anna Holloway runs the Tumbleweed Cafý and Bookstore in Gardiner. Holloway has a hard time believing that a government shutdown will happen, but things would be grim if it does — and lasts into summer.

    "My business would go under and I would lose it all," she said.

    ___

    Associated Press writers Beth Harpaz in New York; Matt Volz in Helena, Mont.; Gosia Wozniacka in Fresno, Cal.; and Brett Zongker in Washington contributed to this report.
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    Default Re: US Government shutdown looms

    Congress sets new D-day for government shutdown: April 8

    The Senate votes to fund the federal government through April 8. But the stalemate over 2011 spending remains, and no one wants to pass another short-term stopgap. Is the stage now set for a government shutdown next month?








    Sen. Charles Schumer (D) of New York, seen here in a March 2 file photo, said Thursday that Republican leaders in the House must break with tea party freshmen or a government shutdown is assured.
    J. Scott Applewhite/AP/File

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    By Gail Russell Chaddock, Staff writer / March 17, 2011
    Washington With a robust, bipartisan vote, the Senate passed a stopgap measure to fund government through April 8, amid signals that neither side will be willing to do it again.
    Skip to next paragraph Related Stories






    But the path to coming up with a spending bill for the rest of fiscal year 2011 in the next three weeks is rocky, especially with President Obama not personally engaged in the negotiations, say lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Indeed, Congress now appears primed for the battle of wills presaged by the midterm elections, with Senate Democrats flatly refusing to consider massive cuts and tea-party freshmen refusing to accept token trims.
    Senate Democrats went so far as to say Thursday that a deal can’t be done unless House Speaker John Boehner (R) of Ohio is willing to break with the tea-party faction in his own caucus.
    RELATED: How Eric Cantor wants to change the House – and the Republican Party

    “The Speaker has a choice: He can cater to the tea party and inevitably face a shutdown on April 8, or he can work with Democrats,” said Sen. Charles Schumer (D) of New York in comments to reporters after Thursday’s Senate vote. “There is a path forward, and it’s not through the tea party.”
    Republicans and Democrats issue demands

    Thursday's stopgap continuing resolution (CR) cuts spending $6 billion below fiscal year 2010 levels and averts a government shutdown on March 18. It passed the Senate 87 to 13. Nine Republicans, three Democrats, and one Independent voted in opposition. A previous, two-week bill cut spending another $4 billion.
    “When signed into law, this measure will mean that we've cut $10 billion in just five weeks, which is a step in the right direction to begin to make Washington live within its means,” said House majority leader Eric Cantor (R) of Virginia in a statement. "Now that we've put more time on the clock, I again implore the president and Senate Democrats to give us an offer that can get majority support in the Senate to fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year that includes serious spending cuts."
    The House and Senate are far apart on the scope of proposed cuts. On Feb. 19, the House passed a bill that cut $62 billion in discretionary spending for FY 2011, pushing spending back to FY 2008 levels. Senate Democrats proposed $6 billion in cuts over the same period. Both measures failed in up-or-down Senate votes last week. To avoid a government shutdown on April 9, the House and Senate must bridge that gap.
    For their part, Democrats say House Republicans must drop the partisan policy riders on their budget – for example, to defund implementation of health-care reform, block EPA moves to regulate greenhouse gases, or end federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
    “Our position is that the riders have to be off the bill,” said Senator Schumer. “It’s hard enough to deal with the numbers without adding these controversial riders.”
    In response, Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said that policy provisions in funding bills are routine. “Senator Schumer has voted for hundreds, if not thousands of them,” he said in an e-mail.
    Prospects for a deal

    Meanwhile, bipartisan efforts are under way to find a compromise on spending for FY 2011 and beyond. In the Senate, a six-member, bipartisan team has been negotiating how to move forward on recommendations from President Obama’s fiscal commission. Sens. Bob Corker (R) of Tennessee and Claire McCaskill (D) of Missouri are building support for a measure to cap federal spending and “put Congress in a straitjacket.”
    “We’re building momentum,” said Senator Corker.
    In addition, Representative Cantor and Sen. Tom Coburn (R) of Oklahoma announced a new effort to implement a recent report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that identified $100 billion in duplicative and wasteful programs. House whip Steny Hoyer (D) of Maryland is participating in this effort, they said.
    “This report shows Congress could spend the rest of the year going program by program and produce massive savings while improving the quality of services across the government,” Senator Coburn said in a statement.
    Still, with discussions at the top leadership level stalled, a breakthrough on spending for the balance of the fiscal year will be needed to avoid a shutdown.
    “There will not be the votes for another short-term CR,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) of California after Thursday’s vote.
    Negotiations at a staff level between the White House and congressional leaders are expected to continue this week as the House and Senate head home for a recess next week.
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    Default Re: US Government shutdown looms

    Federal agencies guarded on possible shutdown plans

    By Gregory Korte, USA TODAY

    Updated 3/29/2011 11:35:24 AM |
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    WASHINGTON — President Obama says a shutdown of the government would have dire consequences for the American people — but his White House is telling agencies not to talk about what those consequences are.

    • By Brendan Smialowski, Getty Images
      Members of Congress returned to Washington on Monday after a week-long break as the clock ticks toward a government shutdown,

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    By Brendan Smialowski, Getty Images
    Members of Congress returned to Washington on Monday after a week-long break as the clock ticks toward a government shutdown,






    In e-mails from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) last month, agencies were told their statements to Congress "should not state or imply what functions would or would not be continued in the event of a funding gap."
    It continued: "Agencies should not be previewing shutdown plans — that is, policy and operational decisions — in any way." Agencies were instructed to clear any responses to questions about their shutdown plans with OMB.
    One such e-mail, sent to the Selective Service System on Feb. 24, is one of the few documents released in response to Freedom of Information Act requests that USA TODAY sent to 92 federal agencies last month.


    As members of Congress returned to Washington on Monday after a week-long break, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said a division between Tea Party and mainstream Republicans "prevented negotiations from taking place over the weekend even as the clock ticks toward a government shutdown."
    Negotiations "are ongoing and will continue," said Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. He said the Senate should adopt the budget the House passed Feb. 19, which cut $61 billion from 2010 spending, but would have kept the government operating through September.
    Congress has averted a shutdown by passing two short-term, compromise spending bills extending the budget two or three weeks at a time.
    The current spending authority expires April 8.
    Dozens of agencies have refused to release their plans to USA TODAY, saying no final plans are in place — even though the government has twice come within 48 hours of a shutdown. However, Selective Service released OMB-provided talking points to agencies about how to discuss their shutdown plans if asked by members of Congress.
    Asked why the administration is keeping its shutdown plans secret, OMB provided a statement that echoed those talking points.
    "Given that agencies are continually reviewing plans to ensure they are up-to-date, it would not be prudent and it would be premature to discuss plans that have not been finalized," OMB spokeswoman Moira Mack said in an e-mail.
    The Peace Corps, for example, said it was withholding 126 pages related to its plan. "The document consists of opinions, recommendations and other reflections of staff thinking integral to the pre-decisional, deliberative process." Other agencies, including the Justice Department, cited attorney-client privilege.
    The White House clampdown on contingency plans comes as no surprise to Bill Dougan, president of the National Federation of Federal Employees, which represents 110,000 federal workers at 37 agencies. He pressed OMB Deputy Director Jeffrey Zients about the plans at a meeting this month, only to be told they weren't finished yet.
    "This needs to be transparent. I don't see that there should be anything to hide here," Dougan said. "Give us the straight scoop. It may be a bitter pill to swallow, but we're better off knowing."
    On March 1, three days before the first shutdown deadline this year, OMB distributed talking points to dozens of agencies. Officials were to downplay the possibility of a shutdown, and — if pressed — give only historical details from the last shutdowns in 1995 and '96.
    Only the Department of Agriculture released those historical details.
    In her statement, Mack said the lack of details does not mean federal agencies are ill-prepared. "Since 1980, all agencies have had to maintain a plan in case of a government shutdown and we are prepared for any contingency as a matter of course," she said. "Most importantly, discussions are ongoing and the congressional leadership and the President have said they want to avoid a government shutdown."
    Agencies releasing all or parts of their shutdown plans include:
    •The Securities and Exchange Commission would continue to watch the stock markets "to keep them operating and avoid disruptions and losses in the private economy," said a memo by Executive Director Diego Ruiz. Staffers were instructed not to schedule important meetings for the week after a shutdown deadline.
    •All cemeteries and memorials run by the American Battle Monuments Commission would be closed to the public, under a plan submitted to OMB by commission Secretary Max Cleland.
    •Employees at the Commission on Civil Rights — like those at many agencies — are instructed to report to work, but "will limit all work activity to actions necessary for such a shutdown," according to an update to the staff manual distributed this month.
    Documents
    USA TODAY obtained Obama Administration memos regarding a possible government shutdown under the Freedom of Information Act. Below is one email from Office of Management and Budget to the Selective Service System, Feb. 24. (Similar e-mails were sent to other agencies, which released only heavily redacted versions.)
    Just received this further guidance:
    Having received questions from (Resource Management Offices) regarding the nature of agencies' responses to the Hill, we wanted to provide the following direction: Responses should not state or imply what functions would or would not be continued in the event of a funding gap. That is, agencies should not be previewing shut-down plans — policy and operational decisions, in effect — in any way. It is fine to answer practical, factual questions about hypothetical scenarios in which function X is no longer operating. For instance: "If [national parks were closed, etc.], it would likely affect [who, what, when, how]."
    Please be sure all agency responses are cleared through OMB.
    A March 1 email from OMB to federal agencies distributed "talking points" about the shutdown. The memo was specifically for agency officials scheduled to testify before congressional committees, but have also been used in response to press inquiries.
    Q. Are you planning for a shutdown?
    The Administration and many in the congressional leadership have expressed their confidence that a shutdown can be avoided, so that we can provide the critical services that Americans count on without delay or interruption and focus on the important work of continuing to grow our economy, spur private sector job creation, and prepare the United States to win the future. As a matter of course, our agency plans for contingencies. In fact, since 1980, all agencies have had to have a plan in case of a government shutdown, and these plans are updated routinely. We are currently in the process of reviewing our contingency plan to ensure it is up to date. However, the President has been clear that he does not believe that there will be a government shutdown, a sentiment also shared by many in the congressional leadership.
    Q. When was your agency's contingency plan last updated?
    Since 1980, all agencies have had to have a plan in case of a government shutdown, and these plans are updated routinely. Our agency routinely reviews our plan to ensure it is up to date. However, as the bipartisan congressional leadership has said on a number of occasions and as the President has made clear, no one anticipates or wants a government shutdown.
    If pressed:
    We routinely review the plan, which [was last formally submitted in 2004 (or last updated x)]. As I said, while we do not anticipate a funding gap, we have been closely reviewing it to ensure it is up to date.
    Q. What types of services would cease at your agency as a result of a shutdown? We've seen independent analyses that suggest a shutdown would be detrimental to our economic recovery — can you give us some examples of how your agency's ability to serve our nation would be impeded by a shutdown?
    The Administration and many in the congressional leadership have expressed their confidence that a shutdown can be avoided, so that we can provide the critical services that Americans count on without delay or interruption and focus on the important work of continuing to grow our economy, spur private sector job creation, and prepare the United States to win the future. The activities that will or will not cease in the case of a funding gap are driven by the law, not politics. The Antideficiency Act prohibits continued funding of activities for which Congress has not enacted an annual, multi-year, or permanent appropriation. Our agency therefore is carefully reviewing current programs and funding sources. As I said, we are continuing to review our contingency plan to ensure it is up to date and complies with the law, and while that review is not yet final, I can give you a couple of examples of the impact that a funding gap had in 1995: [Insert agency example x&y]
    Q. From what I've read it sounds like many agency activities continue in the event of a shutdown — does that include BLANK at your agency? What types of services would continue at your agency as a result of a shutdown?
    A. First, I'll reiterate that the President has been clear that he does not believe that there will be a government shutdown, a sentiment also shared by many in the congressional leadership. However, in the interest of good housekeeping and preparedness, we are continuing to review our contingency plans to ensure it is up to date and complies with the law, and while that review is not yet final, I can give you a couple of examples of the impact that a funding gap had in 1995.
    The activities that will or will not be shut down are driven by the law.
    In general, the law establishes that in the absence of enacted annual appropriations, all Federal agency operations cease unless they have another or continued funding source or meet certain exceptions, such as maintaining personnel for emergencies involving the safety of human life and the protection of property. In 1995, [Insert agency example x&y] continued, while other services ceased.
    Talking Points on 1995 shutdown
    •Not only would a shutdown be damaging to our economy, it would be harmful to our citizens.
    •Look at what happened during the last shutdown: the government stopped enrolling people in Social Security, stopped answering questions about veterans benefits, and sent home most of the staff at the key agency responsible for worker health and safety (OSHA). The CDC ceased disease surveillance, and national parks and the Smithsonian museums were all closed. Those are the kinds of things we could see again, and hope to avoid.
    •In addition, shutdown could affect licensing and lending and other basic ways the government keeps the wheels of commerce turning. And just as tax season is starting, people's refund checks may not be sent — and for those who rely on unemployment benefits, there could be delays in benefits or it could result in benefits not being sent at all.
    If pressed on an example where we cannot yet comment:
    The activities that will or will not be shut down are driven by the law. As I said, we are continuing to review our contingency plan to ensure it is up to date and complies with the law, and while that review is ongoing it is premature for me to speculate. [Offer 1995 examples instead]
    If pressed on what the Administration is doing to avoid a shutdown/help resolve funding:
    The President is serious about getting the nation on a sustainable fiscal path which is why he put forth a tough budget that cuts spending and reduces our deficit while investing in long-term economic growth. Senior members of the President's staff and economic team are communicating with the Hill on this and continue to urge both sides to come together and reach a solution.
    SOURCE: E-mails from the Office of Management and Budget to the Selective Service System, obtained by USA TODAY under the Freedom of Information Act.
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    Default Re: US Government shutdown looms

    Why didn't they fix it before?

    Senate Libs Complain About Government Shutdown Then Go On Vacation



    Posted by Brian Darling (Profile)
    Monday, February 21st at 3:00PM EST


    Only in Washington can politicians get away with complaining about a government shutdown, while going on vacation for a whole week.
    Senate Democrats took to the air on Sunday to warn the American people about a government shutdown on March 4th. They argued that the Senate may not agree to the House passed Continuing Resolution (CR), because the bill’s $61 billion in cuts to spending for the remainder of the year are too much. Yet the problem is not serious enough for these same Senators to come back to the Capitol to debate and negotiate the House passed spending measure this week to avoid a shutdown.
    You see — the Senate has a vacation scheduled for this week — can’t miss that.
    The House passed measure to fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year is reasonable. The Pledge to America promised $100 billion in cuts this year, yet the House could only pass $61 billion in cuts. The American people want politicians in Washington to cut, not freeze, spending this year. The federal government is carrying $14.1 trillion in debt and a record $1.6 trillion deficit for this year alone. Those numbers are evidence of a big spending problem in Washington.
    If the federal government shuts down, it is the fault of Senate liberals in leadership who refuse to call the Senate back into session this week. It is also the fault of the President who has failed to bring the two parties together to negotiate an agreement on the CR.
    The cuts were not as deep as some wanted in the House. Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH), the Chairman of the House Republican Study Committee, lost an amendment to the Continuing Resolution (CR) in the House to cut $100 billion. The Jordan Amendment was rejected and the House settled on $61 billion in cuts. Over 400 amendments to the measure were filed in the House and the House spent many a late night last week working on this bill. The final vote was at 4am on Saturday, yet the Senate can’t be bothered to cancel the scheduled vacation for the week.
    Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said on Meet the Press on Sunday “if we end up shutting down the government and calling into question whether we are going to meet our obligations for Social Security checks and paying our troops then that is an absolute utter failure.” Not to be outdone, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said on CNN “Speaker Boehner has said, even before negotiations, that he wants it a certain way. That is reckless and what Newt Gingrich did in 1995.” The left is fear mongering by trying to blame cost cutting conservatives for a potential government shutdown, when they have yet to cast one vote on the Senate version of a CR.
    Conservatives are leading the nation in cutting spending. We are seeing great examples of leadership on the state level with Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana, Chris Christie of New Jersey and Scott Walker of Wisconsin taking actions to balance state budgets. In Washington, we are seeing Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI), Chairman of the House Budget Committee and Senator Jeff Session (R-AL), ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, address the tough fiscal issues facing the federal government. On the other hand, President Obama presented a budget to the American people for next year that adds trillions in new spending, taxes and debt over the next 10 years. A missing line item in the President’s budget is entitlement reform and cuts to programs. Liberals have taken a long vacation on spending restraint and entitlement reform.
    The bottom line is that many will message all week about a “government shutdown,” yet the Senate is not concerned enough to cancel the scheduled vacation this week to start work on a funding measure for the remainder of the year.
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    Default Re: US Government shutdown looms

    Some blogger's opinion:

    http://www.gracecentered.com/christi...062/?topicseen
    Government Shutdown? It's About Time!
    « on: Yesterday at 09:37:01 PM »


    That would be one way to shrink it back to size!

    I was reading about the likely government shutdown and all the Democrats complaining and whining because they want us all to think that without the government our lives would just end.

    And some lines from Republicans were really good. I liked this one:

    Republicans castigated Democrats for trying to curb the blueprint's tax cuts, saying today's level of taxes and regulation make it harder for businesses to create jobs.

    "Why don't you guys like small-business people?" asked Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Calif.


    So true. I spoke with a wife last week who wanted to start a side business to help with the bills. But the excise taxes and money she'd have to put up to meet and confirm she was in regulation she just couldn't afford. So she had to conclude that she couldn't start the business. And that's sad because in "the land of the free" government should be off our backs so that anyone can start a business if they want to.

    That's how Democrats are in the bag for large corporations. It's much easier for large corporations who can afford compliance lawyers, excise taxes, income taxes, payroll taxes and to meet (and even keep up with) all the expensive regulations. They have a big advantage over mere individuals who are trying to start small businesses. The small business can barely survive now days let alone compete! Democrats want to run small business people out of business because it's much easier for the Government to keep an eye on corporations, take them over and get taxes from them. And because if more people start small businesses they'll see just how overtaxed businesses are in this country. There's a reason the vast majority of small business owners are Republicans.
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    Default Re: US Government shutdown looms

    As Government Shutdown Looms… Obama Attends Gala in New York City

    Posted by Jim Hoft on Wednesday, April 6, 2011, 6:06 PM




    Party Time!
    As a historic shutdown looms, Obama skipped town today to attend a gala in New York City.

    President Barack Obama, right, shakes hands with filmmaker Spike Lee, left, at the National Action Network’s Keepers of Dream Awards Gala in New York, Wednesday, April 6, 2011. (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
    Obama told the audience at the gala tonight,
    “I’m not out of touch… I remember what it was like to pump gas.”
    To be fair… He did take three minutes to call Speaker Boehner today about a deal.
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    Default Re: US Government shutdown looms

    Harry Reid, John Boehner square off over government shutdown

    As budget deadline nears, Reid and Boehner strain to frame battle on their terms


    By Karoun Demirjian (contact)
    Friday, Feb. 25, 2011 | 2 a.m.
    Chris Morris

    Harry Reid

    AP Photo/Charles Dharapak
    House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, accompanied by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Va., speaks to reporters after their closed GOP caucus meeting ahead of President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech, Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011, on Capitol Hill in Washington.


    Sun coverage





    Sun archives





    Washington — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker John Boehner have locked themselves into a trillion-dollar game of chicken as lawmakers gear up for the final days of a budget showdown. The stakes aren’t as much whether the government will shut down — as who is going to take the blame if it happens.
    At issue is $61 billion: the amount the Republican-led House approved stripping out of the federal budget for the rest of fiscal 2011.
    That proposal, which pulls funding from Pell Grants and renewable energy, but preserves it for oil, natural gas and Yucca Mountain, has been a nonstarter with Reid. But he doesn’t have much wiggle room.
    Boehner, who is under intense pressure from the Tea Party wing of his party, is telling Reid to toe the line or take the blame for letting the lights go out à la 1995, when Speaker Newt Gingrich and President Bill Clinton both dug in so fiercely on budget cuts that the federal government went offline for about three weeks.
    It’s a specter party leaders on both sides warn against.
    “We need to cut government spending, that’s no longer debatable. The debate isn’t about whether we cut, it’s about how we cut,” said Reid, who has proposed a 30-day measure to buy time to negotiate — a suggestion Republicans rejected. “But they’re refusing to come to the table at all ... they’re saying ‘it’s our way or the highway.’ We cannot afford a government shutdown.”
    “Read my lips,” Boehner said. “We are going to cut spending,” adding that Democrats were at fault for “threatening to shut down the government rather than to cut spending and to follow the will of the American people.”
    But fear of a shutdown might not be what it was 15 years ago.
    “The nation has finally come to grips with the fact that government spending is out of control,” Republican activist Chuck Muth of Nevada said. “If Republicans get their messaging right, I’m not sure a government shutdown will be a negative.”
    Conservative figures such as former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin have gone so far as to say they would welcome a government shutdown as the first step in contending with the country’s debt. The country is expected to crash into the debt ceiling sometime in April, which would have the same effect of shutting down nonessential services, furloughing federal employees and cutting off government checks for any program that isn’t in surplus.
    Tea Party figures in Congress say they won’t vote for anything that doesn’t reflect their cuts.
    Boehner appears to be taking their threat seriously: On Wednesday, he proposed a two-week budget extension to allow time for compromise — provided lawmakers cut $4 billion off the budget for those two weeks.
    Reid spokesman Jon Summers blasted it as a “prorated version of the same reckless proposal.”
    As lawmakers shoot down each other’s proposals, the moment of reckoning is fast approaching: After March 4 federal funding will run out, leaving lawmakers five working days to come to some sort of agreement that can eke out a majority in both houses of Congress.
    Even on a rushed schedule, it will take at least a few days for the Senate to make changes to what the House passed, not to mention the negotiations that have to happen to resolve the two versions.
    The situation is colored by the need for both party leaders to hold onto hard-won political ground — not just for this Congress, but also their political fates in 2012.
    Boehner wants to hold onto the fealty of the Tea Party without losing the rest of his party.
    In the past few weeks the more conservative GOP House members have shown they are willing to hang Boehner and his leadership team out to dry if they don’t like the party’s line. It won’t be so easy for Boehner to cater to them when not all House GOP members want to risk a shutdown to hold their political ground.
    “Actually, I don’t think it’s that bad an idea,” Rep. Dean Heller told a Las Vegas television station regarding Reid’s proposal for a 30-day extension to buy time to negotiate. Heller has broken rank with Boehner over votes on the Patriot Act and Yucca Mountain funding.
    “If both sides can’t come to an agreement, I think we ought to extend this thing for a couple of weeks so we can continue negotiations,” he said. “I just don’t want to see this government shut down.”
    For Reid, winning the budget battle means regaining the policy driver’s seat, which he seemed to have all but lost in December, when Obama was making tax deals directly with the Republicans in the name of urgency.
    Despite the clock ticking on a government shutdown — agencies have begun to prepare for it — Obama seems to be sitting this battle out. He’s focusing instead on the fiscal 2012 budget he released two weeks ago.
    “Democrats definitely have the upper hand. Republicans are doing a lousy job because their message is divided,” Muth said. Boehner is “on probation. He’s not known as a movement conservative, so he’s not going to get the benefit of the doubt ... Reid’s got a lot less to lose.”
    But Reid’s running a tough message, even for a seasoned statesman. Democrats haven’t actually offered any cuts below current government funding levels. His caucus isn’t speaking with one voice either. Some in his party say they would vote for some of the Republicans’ cuts.
    While he wrangles his caucus Reid also needs to keep control of the messaging war on the competing dollar figures involved.
    “The country’s been looking at 12-figure price tags on a lot of these pieces of legislation,” Nevada Republican strategist Robert Uithoven said. “Sixty-one billion to a lot of people isn’t that much money, especially in the context of what was passed in the previous Congress. I’d rather be in Speaker Boehner’s shoes at this time, than Sen. Reid’s.”
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    Default Re: US Government shutdown looms

    BTW you will get your bloody welfare checks if the government shuts down... /sigh

    Rep. Anthony Weiner: ‘Tea Party Nihilists’ Want A Government Shutdown And I Think They’ll Get It

    » 83 commentsby Matt Schneider | 1:27 pm, April 5th, 2011
    Video
    Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner appeared on Lawrence O’Donnell’s show last night alongside Republican Congressman Phil Roe. O’Donnell and Weiner lamented the fact that the Tea Party had basically took control of the budget negotiations, while Roe calmly responded that finally serious efforts were being taken to get the federal fiscal house in order.
    O’Donnell introduced the segment warning that “Congress has never failed to raise the debt ceiling whenever necessary because the economic consequences . . . would be devastating. We now have six weeks to discover if this is the first Congress in history that doesn’t understand that.” From there, Weiner argued that Speaker John Boehner was having conversations with himself, but not negotiating with Democrats on the budget. Weiner concluded:
    “The straw that’s stirring this drink are the Tea Party nihilists who just want the government to shutdown. And one of the things about being Speaker is you’ve got to lead. I don’t see Speaker Boehner doing that, so I think we’re going to have a government shutdown and my Republican friends are going to get what they want.”
    Roe responded by telling Weiner that everyone knows he wants to be the next Mayor of New York and that Weiner will have to one day balance a budgt too. Except for Weiner’s description of the “Tea Party nuts,” a respectful tone was maintained throughout the lengthy conversation. Yet if a government shutdown does take place, it will be interesting to see if the rhetoric against the Tea Party is ratcheted up even further.
    Watch the clip from MSNBC below:

    (h/t Real Clear Politics)
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    Default Re: US Government shutdown looms

    Thursday, April 7, 2011

    Past Government Shutdown Experience and Impacts


    During one past Government shutdown the National Park Service followed the instructions of their politically appointed leaders and closed all facilities to the public. One such location closed to public access was the Washington Monument. Tax payers who had traveled to Washington, D.C. and local business owners immediately started complaining to their Congressional Representatives and the Park Service was ordered to immediately open the gates of the internationally recognized Monument. It was public inconvenience and outrage that got this one specific location exempt from the closure order.

    A Park Superintendent who I later worked for was reluctant to ever close any area or facility due to what he referred to as the "Washington Monument Syndrome."

    What many people do not realize is the dependence of communities across the country on the dollars pumped into their economies by tourism to National Parks. As an example academic studies have shown that approximately $2.3 billion are pumped annually into the communities on or near the Blue Ridge Parkway through Virginia and North Carolina. A cancellation of travel plans by visitors for any period of time will have a direct impact on hotels, stores, restaurants, private campgrounds, and their employees.

    Should the Government Shutdown occur it may be interesting to see how long it takes for the "Washington Monument Syndrome" to take affect in individual Congressional Districts.

    Here is a related article that outlines the possible impacts of a closure on businesses in the area of Yellowstone National Park:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/0..._n_845807.html
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    Default Re: US Government shutdown looms

    Yeah, it's almost 100% Liberals bitching about a shut down and making it look worse than it is, complaining that people won't get food, or their welfare or Social Security Checks and so forth.

    I could use about three weeks of vacation. However, I won't get it. I'm a contractor now. So they can't make me stay home - not like that. However, the government people here can't come to work so therefore, we can actually get a lot of crap done without someone standing there saying "Stop, we need to rethink this" again and again.

    There's too much paperwork, too many "men in the middle" and too many tin hat hard heads around here anyway.

    Shut it down, and close all the offices, all the parks, shut down the Federal buildings. Shut down everything.

    They of course won't shut down Homeland Security, the ATF, the FBI, the military and so forth. They all have to go to work.

    And Congress gets paid. And welfare and SS checks still go out. The treasury dept. will still be there. And on and on and on.
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    Default Re: US Government shutdown looms

    Here's what Nancy was saying....

    Factchecking Nancy Pelosi’s government shutdown claims

    February 25th, 2011 | 2011 Budget | Posted by Stephen Losey






    Nancy Pelosi/File photo, Gannett

    There’s a lot of talk out there about the possible effects of a government shutdown. Some of it’s not true. Several dubious claims about a government shutdown were encapsulated in this comment from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi last week:
    Closing our government would mean our men and women in uniform wouldn’t receive their paychecks, and veterans would lose critical benefits. Seniors wouldn’t receive their Social Security checks, and essential functions from food-safety inspection to airport security could come to a halt.
    Where to begin?
    Let’s start with her first claim: The military won’t get their paychecks. That wasn’t the case last time the government shut down. A union leader at the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, which handles the military’s payroll, yesterday told me DFAS stayed open last time and kept sending paychecks to service members, even when other large portions of the government weren’t operating. DFAS also told the union that the agency would stay open again this time, thanks to its unique funding structure.


    Claim 2: Veterans would lose critical benefits. There’s some truth to this, but not as much as some might fear. Employees who provide medical care are supposed to stay on the job during a shutdown, since positions needed to protect the safety of human life are exempted from furloughs. And since disability checks and other payments go out at the beginning of the month, those payments wouldn’t be affected by a shutdown immediately after March 4. But processing new claims could be delayed, and new applicants’ initial benefit payments could be reduced if the shutdown continues for more than a few weeks and new claims aren’t turned in by the end of each month.


    Claim 3: Seniors wouldn’t receive their Social Security checks. President Obama has also made this claim, but it’s not true. Social Security is paid out from a trust fund, not the regular appropriations process, so money will remain in the till to pay for seniors’ benefits. And last time, the Social Security Administration kept on a skeleton crew of 4,780 employees to keep the checks coming, and later brought back another 50,000 employees to help people get new Social Security cards they needed to work and answer phone calls from people who needed to change their addresses.


    Claim 4: Food safety inspections, airport security and other essential functions would come to a halt.
    This one is a little trickier to answer. There wasn’t a Transportation Security Administration last time around, so we can’t look to the previous shutdown for an answer and we don’t know for sure if they will be furloughed.


    But the government has a list of criteria spelling out which jobs can be exempted from a shutdown, including law enforcement and national security positions and positions required to protect life and property. One could argue that since airport screeners are needed to make sure terrorists aren’t bringing bombs on board, we can’t do without them. And last time, the government opted to keep air traffic controllers on the job rather than let air traffic grind to a halt and cause serious damage to the economy. So there’s a very good chance TSA screeners will join Border Patrol agents, FBI agents and prison guards in the ranks of exempted employees.


    Pelosi’s food inspection assertion is also questionable. Alice Rivlin, President Clinton’s Office of Management and Budget Director, said in an August 1995 memo that meat inspectors fall under the same emergency economic exemption as air traffic controllers. This means if nobody was there to inspect meat, it couldn’t get sold, and the economic effects would ripple out widely. People wouldn’t be able to buy steaks, chicken and hamburgers; grocery stores and truckers who ship food would take a hit; and farms and slaughterhouses across the nation would be seriously affected. (If you go back further, a 1981 OMB memo also includes all food and drug inspections in the list of exempted positions.)


    I’m not trying to minimize the effects of a possible shutdown. If it comes to that, it could mean hundreds of thousands of government employees will lose days or weeks of pay. But there’s an awful lot of politics going on in this budget battle, and all sides are going to twist the facts to buttress their case and make the other side seem unreasonable. Be careful before swallowing anybody’s line about what a shutdown would do.
    Tags: factchecking, government shutdown, Nancy Pelosi
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    Default Re: US Government shutdown looms

    Does Shutdown Mean No Pay for Military?

    March 16, 2011Terry Howell
    Fueled by recent reports that the DoD would not be send­ing mil­i­tary pay­checks if the gov­ern­ment shuts down, many ser­vice­mem­bers are grow­ing fear­ful about their finan­cial future.
    Sev­eral news out­lets have picked up on a report that troops may miss pay­checks in a gov­ern­ment shut­down. The reports are based on a 13-page DoD doc­u­ment which is being cir­cu­lated around the Pen­ta­gon. The doc­u­ment lays out a plan for deal­ing with the shut­down and includes details on how mil­i­tary pay may be dealt with.
    But there are still con­flict­ing reports. For exam­ple a recent Boston Globe arti­cle lists all the areas of gov­ern­ment which have been exempt in the past. The list includes mil­i­tary pay.
    Here are the facts as we know them:

    • Mil­i­tary pay was exempt from the ten shut­downs that occurred between 1980 and 1996, and only the 21-day shut­down in 1996 lasted more than three days.
    • Con­gress passed another extension, which if agreed to by the Pres­i­dent will buy another three weeks (April 8) – the fifth con­tin­u­ing res­o­lu­tion for the FY2011 bud­get.
    • Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz), recently called on Con­gress to pass a bill that would fund the mil­i­tary regard­less of whether an agree­ment can be reached on the full fed­eral bud­get.

    To be clear, nobody can be cer­tain about what will hap­pen next, but if the past is any indi­ca­tion, active duty ser­vice­mem­bers are not likely to miss any pay­checks.
    As blog­ger Kate Hor­rell explains in her lat­est install­ment in the Pay­check Chron­i­cles — ‘Pre­pare for the Worst, & Hope for the Best’ — this is a good oppor­tu­nity to “think long and hard about how large an emer­gency fund is nec­es­sary to fund [your] family’s day-to-day life.”
    Update 3/17/2011 - I con­tacted the Defense Account­ing and Finance Ser­vice (DFAS) to see if they could offer any details on how a shut­down would affect mil­i­tary retire­ment pen­sions and annu­i­tants. My point of con­tact (also a mil­i­tary retiree) told me that at this time DFAS has been given no guid­ance and my POC is unwill­ing to spec­u­late one way or the other.
    Read the lat­est news and what to do if the gov­ern­ment shut­down hap­pens.
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    Default Re: US Government shutdown looms

    Michele Bachmann Predicts No Government Shutdown










    Submitted by Norman Byrd on 2011-04-06
    Tax News Coverage

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    3. IRS launches Free File tax preparation
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    5. Energy Efficiency Tax Credit: HVAC
    6. AARP begins Free Tax Assistance


    0Share

    Minnesota Congresswoman and possible Tea Party Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann told MSNBC Wednesday that she believed that a deal would be struck to avoid a government shutdown, which is set to occur on April 8. However, she said that she would not support the budget without defunding Health Care.


    Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Tea Party Caucus leader and prospective candidate for president, appeared on MSNBC Wednesday morning and predicted that, despite all the finger-pointing, complaining, and jockeying for political positioning going on in Washington, there would ultimately be no federal shutdown.
    "I firmly believe that by Friday, a deal will be made," Bachmann said. "I doubt that we'll see a government shutdown in the final analysis."
    She did not say whether the shutdown would be averted due to passage of the federal budget or through the passage of another Continuing Resolution (which is what is funding the government at present). At the same time, Bachmann did not say there would be no support from the Tea Party, who are generally opposed to any compromise that might arise between the Republican-led House of Representatives and the Democratic-led Senate. Many within the Tea Party faction of the Republican Party were not satisfied with the $61 billion in spending cuts the House approved and sent on to the Senate, the same bill that Democrats have been working on since the House passed the measure nearly a month ago. The legislators of the Caucus were inclined to cut more from the 2011 fiscal budget. In some cases, those cuts equalled or exceeded the promised $100 billion in spending cuts that Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) and many House Republicans pledged in December.
    Bachmann also said she believed that the upcoming 2012 fiscal budget would be the battleground for more "dramatic cuts in government spending."
    "I cannot vote for the current compromise that we're looking at," Bachmann told MSNBC, refusing to speak for other members of the Tea Party Caucus. "I don't think it is sufficient because, primarily, it doesn't include the defunding of Obamacare. So for me and for me only, I can't go down that road."
    The three-term Congresswoman also said that the "Democrats had revealed their hand." In explanation, she added, "Their goal is to see government shut down."
    Some may find it ironic that Bachmann claims that Democratic goals are a government shutdown, when Tea Party websites and spokespersons have openly advocated for the actual shutting down of the federal government, with some maintaining that closing the government was the only true way to cut government spending. And as the Democrats have been openly stating that they were willing to work toward the halfway mark in the amount of spending cuts that finally make it into the 2011 fiscal budget bill, it has been Republicans in the House who seem to be intent on playing political games, such as proposing an exorbitant one-week Continuing Resolution with $12 billion in spending cuts with riders concerning Health Care, EPA regulations, Planned Parenthood, and other programs. The measure has been termed "symbolic," but its passage by the House would mean a refusal to let it play in the Senate -- and, even if it were allowed into the Senate for a vote and would somehow pass the Democrat-controlled chamber, a veto by the President.
    However, Bachmann's prediction echoed the words of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who told CBS' "Face The Nation" Sunday that he believed there would be a compromise worked out before the week's end in order to avoid a shutdown.
    "I think we'll find consensus," he said.
    His words were echoed by his senatorial colleague Jeff Sessions (R-AL) on ABC's "This Week."
    It is uncertain why Bachmann, Graham and Sessions believe that there will be an ultimate deal that avoids a shutdown when much of the talk has been full of blame-casting and demonizing of the opposing parties. If the 2011 fiscal budget bill or a Continuing Resolution is not passed by midnight on April 8, the federal government will effectively be without funds with which to operate. Although a complete shutdown would never occur, all non-essential government workers would be furloughed and non-essential programs would be closed.
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    Default Re: US Government shutdown looms

    Oh! A REAL REASON TO SHUT IT DOWN!!!!!!!!!



    Shutdown would be tricky for IRS, commissioner says


    By Bernie Becker - 03/31/11 12:28 PM ET
    The head of the IRS said Thursday that a government shutdown during tax season would be a challenge the agency has never confronted before — and one that would become more complicated as the April filing deadline draws closer.
    Doug Shulman, the IRS commissioner, also signaled at a House Ways and Means subcommittee hearing that his agency was discussing how to address a potential shutdown with the Obama administration, though he did not spell out any details of those talks.
    “We run a $13 billion financial services operation, so the idea of stopping it for a few days or a few weeks is strange,” Shulman said, adding that he was hopeful, based on ongoing negotiations, that a shutdown could be averted.
    “Our old plan was: We deposited checks, we didn’t process returns. That was a plan that was built in ’95 when there wasn’t so much electronic filing, and now we’re closely looking at it,” he added.
    The deadline to file taxes this year is April 18, and the federal government is currently funded through April 8. The government shutdowns during the Clinton administration occurred in fall and winter months.
    During his time before the Ways and Means oversight subpanel, Shulman waded even deeper into the discussion of the federal budget, declaring that cuts the House passed for this fiscal year would have “potentially devastating effects” on the agency and defending the increased funding for the agency requested in President Obama’s fiscal 2012 budget.
    Shulman indicated the budget increase for 2012 would more than pay for itself, in part because of a modernizations that would lead to faster processing of tax forms.
    As for this year’s funding levels, the House cuts, approved in February, would reduce the IRS budget by roughly $600 million from fiscal 2010 enacted levels — which Shulman said would result in the loss of $4 billion worth of tax revenue, due to decreased collection. The IRS budget for fiscal 2010 was more than $12 billion.
    Under questioning from Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), Shulman added that enforcement would probably take the biggest hit under the cuts, but that services throughout the agency would take a hit.
    “Those are just big, big cuts that would have to be jammed into a six-month window. So we'd have to have across-the-board cuts," the commissioner said, raising the specter of having to furlough employees for long stretches.
    Shulman also indicated that he wanted Congress to hammer out funding levels for the rest of the fiscal year, signaling that dealing with a series of short-term spending measures for this fiscal year had placed added stress on the agency.
    He also called the current tax code too complex, reiterating that he traditionally uses a paid preparer to file his taxes. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have called for tax reform. Top tax writers in both the House and the Senate have signaled their interest in the issue, as has the Obama administration.
    “The vast majority of my employees’ time and resources is spent trying to serve the American people and help them wade through tax complexity,” Shulman said, adding: “Anything you can do to simplify the code certainly helps our agency.
    Libertatem Prius!


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    Default Re: US Government shutdown looms

    Reid: Looks Like We're Headed For A Government Shutdown

    Brian Beutler | April 7, 2011, 10:13AM

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    Abortion, Barack Obama, Environment, Government Shutdown, Harry Reid, Joe Biden, John Boehner, Spending



    Just 12 hours ago, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) told news cameras outside the White House he was hopeful he could reach a spending deal with House Republicans to avoid a government shutdown. "I have confidence that we can get this done," he said. "We're not there yet. But hope lies eternal."


    That's all out the window now. On the Senate floor Thursday morning, Reid declared "I am not nearly as optimistic as I was 11 hours ago." Of a government shutdown, he said "It looks like it's heading in that direction."


    "The only thing holding up the agreement is ideology," he said. "[Republicans] have drawn a line in the sand...[over] ideology."


    It's all coming down to the environment and abortion rights -- policy issues that Republicans have tacked on to this spending fight, and over which they're now drawing a line in the sand.


    "The two main issues holding this up are the choice of women -- reproductive rights -- and clean air," Reid said.


    Aides to Reid tell TPM that they think the negotiations over a deal are going to come down to abortion.



    Reid and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) are headed back to the White House for a meeting with President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden at 1 pm this afternoon. House Republicans will pass an emergency bill with severe spending cuts and press Senate Democrats to fast track them to avoid a government shutdown. Obama has told Boehner that the stopgap plan is a non-starter.


    Setting Dems up to take the fall, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) took the floor moments after Reid finished his speech and said accepting the GOP's final stopgap is the only way for them prevent a government shutdown.
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    Default Re: US Government shutdown looms

    All MDA Employees:

    Please read the message below regarding the potential government shutdown. The leadership at MDA will send more specific guidance as it is released.

    Thanks and remain positive!

    Chief of Staff
    ________________________________
    IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 282-11
    April 07, 2011
    Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn III Message to DOD Workforce on Potential Government Shutdown

    "The department remains hopeful that a government shutdown will be averted. The President has made it clear that he does not want a government shutdown, and the administration is working to find a solution with which all sides can agree. However, prudent management requires that we plan for an orderly shutdown should Congress be unable to pass a funding bill before our current funding expires on April 8.

    "The President and the secretary know that the uncertainty of the current situation puts federal employees in a difficult position, and are very much aware that a shutdown would impose hardships on our military and civilian personnel as well as our military families. As we approach the expiration of the current continuing resolution, we will provide you with updated information as soon as it becomes available. For now, I want to provide you with information on how the potential shutdown - should it occur - will impact our military and civilian personnel.

    Department of Defense (DoD) Operations During a Shutdown

    "Operations and activities that are essential to safety, protection of human life, and protection of our national security, are 'excepted' from shutting down. The DoD will continue to conduct activities in support of our national security, including operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Japan; Libya-related support operations; and other operations and activities essential to the security of our nation. The department must also continue to provide for the safety of human life and protection of property.

    "Other excepted activities will include inpatient and essential outpatient care in DoD medical treatment facilities; emergency dental care; non-appropriated funds activities such as mess halls and child care activities; certain legal activities to support ongoing litigation and legal assistance for deployed DoD personnel; contracting and logistics operations that are in support of excepted activities; certain education and training activities to include the DoD education activity schools; and financial management activities necessary to ensure the control and accountability of funds.

    "In the absence of appropriations, non-excepted activities that have not already been fully funded will need to be shut down in an orderly fashion. In accordance with existing laws and regulations, I will issue more detailed guidance to the department regarding specific activities that are considered excepted or non-excepted. However, the secretary and I understand that the military departments and defense agencies and individual commanders must tailor this guidance to many different situations around the world. Therefore, should there be a government shutdown, DoD personnel will be informed through their chain of command about how a shutdown may affect them personally.

    Duty Status

    "Military personnel are not subject to furlough and will report for duty as normal during the shutdown. Reserve component personnel should refer to the DoD Contingency Guidance document and to their chain of command for more specific information.

    "Civilian personnel deemed to be performing excepted activities will continue to work during the period of a shutdown.

    "If there is a government shutdown beginning on Saturday, April 9, all DoD personnel should still report to work on their next scheduled duty day, beginning at their normal duty hours to receive additional instructions.

    "Civilians will be briefed by their supervisors by Friday, April 8, as to whether their work and responsibilities fall into excepted or non-excepted status, as defined by applicable laws and regulations. Excepted status categories are outlined in the DoD Contingency Guidance document, which is being distributed through the chain of command. If their work and responsibilities are non-excepted, or if they are not needed to carry out excepted work and responsibilities, employees will be furloughed in a non-pay status. Furloughed employees may not telework or volunteer to work.

    "Generally, contractors performing work on contracts funded prior to a shutdown, whether supporting excepted activities or not, may continue working and will be paid out of the obligated funds, subject to further direction from the contracting officer. New contracts, or increases in funding of existing contracts, needed to support excepted activities may be entered into during the period of a shutdown, but payments under such contracts cannot be made until Congress provides additional funding. Contract personnel should also report to work on Monday, April 11, to be briefed on their status.

    Military, Civilian, and Retiree Pay

    "If the government shuts down due to the absence of funding, the DoD will have no funds to pay military members or civilian employees for the days during which the government is shut down. However, both military and civilian personnel will receive pay for the period worked prior to the shutdown. Military personnel, and civilians occupying excepted status positions and required to work, are entitled to be paid for work performed during the shutdown, and will be paid retroactively once the department receives additional funding. Congress would have to provide authority in order for the department to retroactively pay non-excepted employees for the furloughed period.

    "Military retirees and annuitants are not paid from annually appropriated funds, and therefore their benefits should continue without interruption.

    Additional Resources

    "The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has created a document to address some of the questions that I know must be on your mind. The document can be accessed at http://www.opm.gov/furlough2011. OPM will provide additional pertinent information for federal employees as the week progresses.

    "The department's leadership will do our very best to provide clear information about the status of events as the week progresses. Additional information regarding military and DoD civilian pay, leave, and other DoD policies applicable to a potential shutdown will be posted on the department's main website as soon as it becomes available.

    "Thanks to the hard work and dedication of all of you, the Department of Defense provides critical services to the American public. Your contributions touch people's lives in so many significant ways, and I want you to know how deeply I appreciate your dedication and your expertise. Our decisions concerning which functions are excepted or not excepted are based on government-wide legal, regulatory, and policy guidance as well as our best judgment on how to reconcile our national security requirements with the limitations imposed by a government shutdown. The fact that certain functions are not excepted or that certain personnel may be subject to furlough should not be taken as a statement that the secretary or I or the department do not value those functions or employees. Thank you for your continued service to the department and the nation."

    U.S. Department of Defense
    Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
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    Default Re: US Government shutdown looms

    Failure To Reach Budget Resolution Sends Dollar Plunging, Silver At New Post Hunt High

    Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/07/2011 22:44 -0400

    Following news that an 11th hour attempt to resolve the budget impasse between Obama, Reid and Boehner has failed, the dollar, and all related carry pairs, are getting obliterated. At last check the EURUSD was north of 1.4350, while all Yen funding pairs rose back to intraday highs. Which in this bizarro world also means that futures are now at highs: yes - a government shut down is bullish for stocks. The good news for those who continue to believe, what is only being realized by others, namely that the dollar's days are numbered is that silver has just touched $39.85: a fresh post Hunt Brother high. Gold is following suit.



    And the carry basket:


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    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
    "Your grandchildren will live under communism."
    “You Americans are so gullible.
    No, you won’t accept
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    outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of
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    until you’ll finally wake up and find you already have communism.

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    ."
    We’ll so weaken your
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    until you’ll
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    like overripe fruit into our hands."



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