By MICHAEL FALCONE (@michaelpfalcone)
- OBAMA — ‘STOP THE EXCUSES’: With the deadline to raise the debt ceiling looming, President Obama yesterday dug in, reiterating that he will not negotiate until Republicans agree to reopen the government and raise the nation’s borrowing authority without strings attached, ABC’s MARY BRUCE notes. “Let’s stop the excuses. Let’s take a vote in the House. Let’s end this shutdown right now,” Obama told reporters. In a hastily announced White House press conference, the president attempted to ramp up pressure on Republicans, accusing them of threatening to cause a recession if the administration refuses to gut Obamacare. “You don’t get to say ‘Unless you give me what the voters rejected in the last election I will cause a recession,’” he said. http://abcn.ws/1hAqYnS
- BOEHNER — ‘THAT’S NOT THE WAY OUR GOVERNMENT WORKS’: Hours later, House Speaker John Boehner responded with his own news conference where he made clear Republicans are not prepared to cave to Democratic demands, according to ABC’s JOHN PARKINSON. “What the president said today was, if there is unconditional surrender by Republicans, he’ll sit down and talk to us,” Boehner said. “That’s not the way our government works.” The president called the speaker yesterday to discuss the impasse that led to the first government shutdown in 17 years. Boehner characterized the phone call as “a pleasant conversation,” but added he was “disappointed that the president refuses to negotiate.” “The long and short of it is, there is going to be a negotiation here,” Boehner insisted. “We can’t raise the debt ceiling without doing something about what’s driving us to borrow more money and to live beyond our means. The idea that we should continue to spend money that we don’t have and give the bill to our kids and our grandkids would be wrong.” http://abcn.ws/19xQRFJ
- THE SHUTDOWN’S FIERCEST FEUD: BOEHNER VS. REID. There was a time when the top Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress used to be at least frenemies, sparring over all sorts of policy issues, but keeping their salty language mostly behind closed doors, ABC’s ARLETTE SAENZ reports. But as House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have traded barbs during the first week of the government shutdown, it’s become clear that the two have come to detest each other. The loathing has spilled over into television interviews, on the pages of newspapers and in statements from each of their offices. ABC News has compiled some of the best clips of the two Congressional leaders going at it. VIDEO: http://abcn.ws/GGhxaM
ABC’s RICK KLEIN: Is it possible this standoff ends when one side or the other gets sick of saying the same thing every day? If that’s the case, some subtle shifts in language yesterday may actually outline a path forward. President Obama’s openness to short-term debt-ceiling and government-funding bills, long enough for a special commission to work on the big differences, could be the exit ramp many Republicans are looking for. His mention of health care and long-term fiscal challenges among the items he’d be willing to discuss likewise can be read as invitations, should those on the other side choose. Nothing in House Speaker John Boehner’s response suggested he saw new ground being broken. But remember throughout this process that Boehner’s public play is for unity, just to get to the negotiating table. While anger continued to flow, that table might be getting set up, if slowly.
ABC’s JEFF ZELENY: In the middle of the intense and seemingly endless budget fight, comes an equally important fiscal development: The nomination of Janet Yellen to lead the Federal Reserve. Don’t look for the resentment from the left that derailed Larry Summers. There will surely be stinging questions from the Senate about the current fed policies, which she embodies, but there seems to be broad agreement on her confirmation, unless something unforeseen arises. Sen. Chuck Schumer’s comments last night echoes others, when he says: “She’s an excellent choice and I believe she’ll be confirmed by a wide margin.”
ABC’s TOM SHINE: According to Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., House Republicans don’t care if voters are so mad over the shutdown and pending default that they vote them out of office in the next election. When Roll Call’s Matt Fuller asked Gingrey if Republicans were willing to risk losing control of the house over the CR and Debt Limit he said, “absolutely,” adding the White House is missing the determination of the Republican part. “I mean they seem to think that we will miss this opportunity for a ‘Braveheart’ moment to do the right thing for the American people and that we’ll back down for fear of losing the house and not gaining control of the Senate.” Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., told Roll Call he doesn’t think the president will win a game of chicken.
ABC’s SHUSHANNAH WALSHE: The liberal advocacy group, Americans United for Change, will begin airing ten television ads today in Republican-held congressional districts, hitting them over the government shutdown now in its second week. Their goal is to make enough Republicans in swing districts scared about their jobs in order for Speaker John Boehner to bring a “clean” continuing resolution to the floor to fund and re-open the government. The ads will run through next week and is being called a “significant” buy by spokesman Jeremy Funk although no other details about the buy were given. Those that will be hit will be Reps. Tom Latham of Iowa, Richard Hanna of New York, Dan Benishek of Michigan, Lou Barletta of Pennsylvania, Jeff Denham of California, Sean Duffy of Wisconsin, Bill Johnson of Ohio, Andy Barr of Kentucky, Rodney Davis of Illinois, and Tim Walberg of Michigan. “Make no mistake: refusing to support clean legislation to keep the government open at the 11th hour was the act of extortionist tea party Republicans plain and simple,” Brad Woodhouse, president of Americans United for Change said in a statement. The ad that targets Walberg goes after the Michigan lawmaker for “join(ing) with tea party Republicans in Congress” to “shut down our government, putting hundreds of thousands of Americans out of work, slashing Head Start for thousands of kids, putting benefits for seniors at risk, denying cancer treatment for kids, and halting food inspections.” The ABC News count of Republicans currently willing to support government funding legislation with no policy strings attached is at 18. Notably one of the Republicans that is being targeted with these ads: Rep. Lou Barletta, R-PA., just changed yesterday from being willing to support a “clean” CR to no longer being supportive of the possible legislation.
WHAT WE’RE WATCHING
TOM HANKS: ‘SHOULD THE GOVERNMENT BE SHUT DOWN? NO!’ Tom Hanks has learned a thing or two about being held hostage. In the new movie, “Captain Phillips,” based on the real-life events of a U.S.-flagged cargo ship that was hijacked by Somali pirates in 2009, Hanks plays the leading role of Capt. Richard Phillips. And at the movie’s Washington premiere, Hanks was asked about a different sort of showdown: the ongoing government shutdown. “Should the government be shut down? No,” Hanks told “Top Line’s” RICK KLEIN on the red carpet. “There’s a lot of people who are locked out of national parks and plenty of other places, too.” “We seem to be in some brand of a terrible state of chassis, as Sean O’Casey once wrote,” Hanks added, referencing the Irish play “Juno and the Paycock.” On the subject of “Captain Phillips,” Hanks said the movie brings attention to the challenge posed by modern-day piracy. “It’s a pretty classic story,” Hanks said. “It’s very simple in some ways, but has bigger repercussions, not just because of the specifics of hijacking and the situation in Somalia, but it goes on to this day and even though here in the United States we don’t hear about it much, piracy goes unabated.” http://yhoo.it/17mE8yW
WHY SOME REPUBLICANS NO LONGER SUPPORT A ‘CLEAN’ FUNDING BILL. The list of members of Congress who would vote on a bill to fund the government without conditions attached, also known a “clean” continuing resolution, is constantly changing. Five GOP members — Reps. Devin Nunes, R-Calif.; Lou Barletta, R-Pa.; Mike Simpson, R-Idaho; Leonard Lance, R-N.J.; and Randy Forbes, R-Va. — who had previously been on record in support of a clean funding measure, each said Monday and Tuesday they had changed their minds or that their previous positions were misconstrued, ABC’s SHUSHANNAH WALSHE and ALEX LAZAR note. On Sunday, Speaker John Boehner told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on “This Week” that “there are not the votes in the House to pass a clean CR.” Since then, several Republicans who were on record favoring such a bill now say they are against it — though a bare majority of the full House remains in support, according to ABC News reporting. http://abcn.ws/19y0sfH ABC’s CLEAN C.R. WHIP COUNT: http://abcn.ws/1e6HqfK
HAPPENING TODAY: President Obama takes his message about the shutdown and the debt ceiling to the local airwaves today, ABC’s MARY BRUCE notes. In interviews with four local stations — including ABC’s Philadelphia affiliate WPVI — the president will highlight “how the government shutdown has affected their communities and how an economic shutdown would be even worse,” according to the White House. Later, in a White House, Obama will nominate Janet Yellen as chair of the Federal Reserve, following a lengthy, public search for Ben Bernanke’s successor. Yellen, who has been the Fed’s vice chairwoman since 2010, would be the first woman to run the central bank.
2-1-1 CALL CENTERS FLOODED BY DEEPLY ANXIOUS AMERICANS. United Way CEO Stacey Stewart tells ABC’s DEVIN DWYER that the nation’s network of 2-1-1 call centers, spearheaded in part by United Way Worldwide, has been inundated in the past 24 hours by growing numbers of Americans concerned mostly about their Social Security checks and critical food assistance. The call centers, which cover 90% of the U.S., take 16 million calls a year; the agency is tabulating numerical and anecdotal data on the uptick for ABC News, soon to come. “The anxiety is ballooning,” said Stewart. “The call centers give us a real-time read on what’s going on in individual communities and we can see where and when the needs are greatest.” Top callers right now are elderly Americans concerned about their benefit checks, she said. Analysts are also answering a high number from single parents seeking food, with the slowdowns in Meals on Wheels services and curtailed WIC payments. ”What was already a challenge for 30-40 million food-insecure Americans, this shutdown is creating a whole lot of added anxiety,” Stewart said. ”Washington does not appear to be informed, aware of or motivated by the facts on the ground, and that’s generating real fear.”
–AMID OUTRAGE, PRIVATE FOUNDATION OFFERS TO RESTORE MILITARY DEATH BENEFIT DURING SHUTDOWN. Though the government shutdown has not halted U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan, it has put a stop to the $100,000 check military families receive when a loved one dies there, sparking outrage among some lawmakers, ABC’s LUIS MARTINEZ reports. Known as the “death gratuity,” the money is normally paid to the families of America’s fallen soldiers within three days of their death in a combat zone. Lawmakers’ frustration over the delayed payments boiled over on Capitol Hill. “I say to those families, ‘Your government’s let you down at a time when you’re in need,’” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told reporters. “There is no excuse for this.” On the Senate floor, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said he was “embarrassed” and “ashamed.” “All of us should be,” he said, calling on members of both parties to “sit down and talk like grownups” about ending the government shutdown. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said the situation was “shameful and embarrassing.” http://abcn.ws/1e6WnOK
–SEN. JOE MANCHIN, D-W.VA., ANNOUNCED THAT A PRIVATE FOUNDATION HAS STEPPED FORWARD TO HELP. “The Fisher House generously agreed to offer the families an advance grant until the government can make reimbursements at an appropriate time,” Manchin said in a statement. “The Fisher House will also cover flights, hotels and other incidentals for family members.” Ken Fisher, chairman and CEO of Fisher House Foundation, said, “After losing a loved one in service to our nation, these families should not have to endure more pain as the result of political squabbling.” http://abcn.ws/1e6WnOK
–NOTED: The death gratuity isn’t paid just for those troops who die in combat zones, but for all U.S. military service members who die in uniform anywhere anyhow including here in the United States. The number of families not receiving the death gratuity and funeral cost benefits is 17, not just the 6 who’ve died in Afghanistan during the shutdown.
HOUSE, SENATE GYMS REMAIN OPEN DURING SHUTDOWN. An exclusive gym for members of the U.S. House of Representatives was supposed to be a casualty of the government shutdown, shuttered like much of the rest of “non-essential” Washington until Congress passed a measure to pay its bills, ABC’s JOHN PARKINSON and ARLETTE SAENZ note. But the gym, known as the Members’ Wellness Center, remains open with its flat-screen TVs, workout machines and heated swimming pool available for lawmakers’ use and enjoyment, ABC News has learned. A congressional source said the facilities are not staffed but were kept operational to accommodate lawmakers who live in their offices while Congress is in session. “It would stink to high-heaven around here if Members couldn’t use those showers,” the source said. “Can you imagine that?” Other athletic amenities were also kept accessible. “How do you close a basketball court?” the source said. Meanwhile, a gym for congressional staffers is closed. http://abcn.ws/1e6scY8
CHRIS CHRISTIE DOES NOT RULE OUT WHITE HOUSE BID IN DEBATE WITH DEMOCRAT. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and his Democratic challenger state Sen. Barbara Buono faced off this evening in their first debate, and even though they were battling over whether there would be a new resident in the statehouse the topic of a much higher office kept coming up, ABC’s SHUSHANNAH WALSHE reports. When the Republican governor was asked directly whether he was going to run for president, Christie did not rule it out, at first joking that he “didn’t anticipate” the question at all. “Listen my mother told me a long time ago … do the job you have at the moment the best you possibly can and the future will take care of itself,” Christie said at the debate this evening at William Paterson University in Wayne, N.J. “The fact is there have been people talking about me running for president since 2010 and they all said I would do it in 2012 and I said I wouldn’t and I didn’t. And the fact is after 2017 I’m going to be looking for another job anyway.” Christie was then pressed by the moderator for WCBS-TV in New York City as to why people should vote for him if he can’t make a commitment for four years. Christie responded that he will continue to “work as hard” for New Jersey residents. “I don’t think anybody in America or in the state of New Jersey expects anybody three years away to tell them what they are going to do. Life’s too long,” Christie said. “I won’t make those decisions until I have to.” http://abcn.ws/1e7pJMV
EIGHT MEMBERS OF CONGRESS ARRESTED IN PUSH FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM. Like nearly everything else on Capitol Hill during the government shutdown, comprehensive immigration reform is stalled, leaving angered supporters to hope that another round of mug shots will get the attention of Congress, ABC’s JIM AVILA, SERENA MARSHALL AND GITIKA KAUL note. Among those protesting and blocking streets in the capital yesterday to draw attention to the issue of immigration reform were eight lawmakers, all of whom were arrested. Civil rights veteran John Lewis, D-Ga.; Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill.; Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz.; Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y.; Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn.; Rep. Al Green, D-Texas; Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill.; and Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y.; joined 200 others who were arrested as part of a “civil disobedience” event in front of the U.S. capitol. The “civil disobedience” was part of the “Camino Americano Rally and March for Immigrant Dignity and Respect” and it was also designed to send a message to House Speaker John Boehner and Republican leaders to bring immigration up for a vote. http://abcn.ws/GLLqar
U.S. CONSIDERS CUTTING MORE MILITARY AID TO EGYPT. A U.S. official says the Obama administration is leaning towards withholding the delivery of additional F-16s as well as Apache helicopters to Egypt, ABC’s MARTHA RADDATZ, DANA HUGHES and LUIS MARTINEZ reports. Withholding some parts of the $1.3 billion in annual U.S. military assistance to Egypt is seen as a form of leverage to pressure that country’s military leaders to respect the human rights of its citizens following the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi in July. Morsi’s overthrow led to a violent crackdown by the Egyptian military against pro-Morsi protestors that may have led to as many as 1,000 deaths. The violence led to a review of U.S. assistance to Egypt. But Caitlin Hayden, a spokesperson for the White House National Security Council, denied a press report Tuesday that the U.S. had decided on a full cutoff of military aid to Egypt. The reports that we are halting all military assistance to Egypt are false,” Hayden said. “We will announce the future of our assistance relationship with Egypt in the coming days, but as the president made clear at UNGA (U.N. General Assembly) that assistance relationship will continue.” http://abcn.ws/GMOYIA
@JHoganGidley: Someone once told me, “Governors can run against the legislature & win…But they won’t be able to govern.” That applies to Presidents too.
@daveweigel: “The markets” should actually talk to some Republican members of Congress instead of assuming how they’ll behave.
@RealClearScott: @KellyAyotte tells @CHueyBurnsRCP she “felt a duty to speak up” on opposing Cruz: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2013/10/09/ayotte_finds_her_voice_despite_backlash_on_the_right_120263.html …