13 Days: Default Deadline Looms

By MICHAEL FALCONE ( @michaelpfalcone )


  • THE WHITE HOUSE'S CRYSTAL BALL: It may be day four of the government shutdown, but here's an even more chilling number: Today marks 13 days until Oct. 17 - the cut-off for raising the nation's debt limit. With that deadline bearing down, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney acknowledged yesterday, "I don't have a way to predict for you how this will play out." He made clear, however, that President Obama cannot go it alone on this one. "This administration does not believe that the 14th Amendment gives the power to the president to ignore the debt ceiling," Carney said. "Moreover, even if the president could ignore the debt ceiling, the fact that there is significant controversy around the president's authority to act unilaterally means that it would not be a credible alternative to Congress raising the debt ceiling and would not be taken seriously by the global economy or the markets. … And that is essentially the point of faith and credit. The reason why our economy is the envy of the world, the reason why our currency is the reserve currency of the world is because of that faith that investors around the world have in our constancy."
  • BOEHNER SPEAKS (SOFTLY): House Speaker John Boehner is privately assuring colleagues that the worst case scenario will not happen, ABC's JONATHAN KARL reports. Boehner is saying that he will not allow this stalemate to trigger a government default. http://abcn.ws/175MZpI
  • 'UNPRECEDENTED' AND 'CATASTROPHIC': The Treasury Department released a new report yesterday outlining the devastating impacts of the debt ceiling brinksmanship. "A default would be unprecedented and has the potential to be catastrophic: credit markets could freeze, the value of the dollar could plummet, U.S. interest rates could skyrocket, the negative spillovers could reverberate around the world, and there might be a financial crisis and recession that could echo the events of 2008 or worse," the report stated. "Political brinksmanship that engenders even the prospect of a default can be disruptive to financial markets and American businesses and families."
  • LET'S CALL THE WHOLE THING OFF: President Obama has cancelled the rest of his trip to Asia next week, pulling out of summits in Indonesia and Brunei because of the ongoing government shutdown, the White House announced last night, ABC's MARY BRUCE reports. "The president made this decision based on the difficulty in moving forward with foreign travel in the face of a shutdown, and his determination to continue pressing his case that Republicans should immediately allow a vote to reopen the government," White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a written statement. The president had planned to travel to Asia this weekend to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Bali, Indonesia, and the East Asia Summit in Darussalam, Brunei. Secretary of State John Kerry will now lead delegations to both countries in place of the president. http://abcn.ws/1a4FmSq


ABC's JEFF ZELENY: The impasse over the government shutdown has revolved almost entirely around trying to whittle away at Obamacare, but that's changing. The budget debate is quickly becoming far broader, with reducing the nation's debt a key objective. So does that mean talk of entitlement reform - Social Security and Medicare - is just around the corner? Possibly. As a senior Republican lawmaker told me in the hallway yesterday, before the chaos of the Capitol Hill lockdown, "The sooner we stop talking about Obamacare, the better off we'll all be."

ABC's RICK KLEIN: "Everybody needs to get something." That's what a Republican House member said yesterday, in explaining the likely (only?) way out of a battle that took GOP leadership by surprise. And it's why, as naïve as the concept sounds, it may still be easier to get something big than something small, to get the nation past the twin crises of the shutdown and the debt limit. President Obama has walled off so many items - including virtually everything related to the new health care law - from the current (non-)talks that new things may have to come into play. It's extraordinarily rare that either side in politics caves entirely; nobody ever admits raising a white flag. So it may only be when other items - think a tax reform framework, or a long-term sequester fix - come into play that Republicans can find their off-ramp. There will be nothing grand about such a bargain, but it might be enough to extricate us from crisis mode.

ABC's SHUSHANNAH WALSHE: In the middle of the shutdown yesterday there was a lockdown resulting from what we know now: A woman led police on a chase down Pennsylvania Avenue after ramming a gate at the White House. She was killed by police in front of the Capitol. The chaos on Capitol Hill is over now replaced again by deadlocked lawmakers, but could yesterday's incident lead to the government reopening? Yes, it was an isolated incident, but the men and women of the Capitol Hill Police protecting those in the Capitol yesterday are not being paid. They are essential workers and on the job, but they won't see a dime until this fight is over. During those tense first moments, members of Congress were even told to take off their pins in case they would be a target, but no matter what the situation those officers on the job run toward the danger while everyone else is told to duck and hide. Congress gave the Capitol Hill Police yesterday a standing ovation yesterday to thank them for their bravery. Instead, isn't it time to make sure they are paid for that bravery?


SENATOR: CAPITOL POLICE WORKING WITHOUT PAY IS 'A NATIONAL DISGRACE'. Capitol Police officers who sprang into action on Thursday during a shooting near the U.S. Capitol are among the hundreds of thousands of government employees being forced to work without pay during the shutdown. They are deemed essential personnel, but will not be paid until after the budget impasse is resolved. "That this government is shut down today and they're not getting paid is a national disgrace," Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., told ABC's JEFF ZELENY. Sanders was among the senators who witnessed the chase and heard gunshots. He said he hid behind a black SUV for about five minutes before police escorted him back into the Capitol building. He said he was troubled by Republican leaders rushing to the House floor to praise the police, but making no mention of their financial sacrifice. "I suspect at the end of the day they will get paid, but they have mortgages to meet, they have college loans to meet," Sanders said. "These are not millionaires. They are struggling people who have families and kids." http://abcn.ws/1bBiBaF

WHAT WOULD YOU #TELLWASHINGTON? Congress and the president are no closer to ending the budget standoff that has furloughed roughly 800,000 federal employees across the country since Tuesday. While we wait, ABC News asked you to join the escalating debate by uploading Instagram videos of your reaction using the hashtag #TellWashington. We received a wide range of responses - anger, confusion, humor - and powerful messages to government on how the shutdown has affected ordinary Americans. http://abcn.ws/1cbQr9d

SHUTDOWN PUTS NATIONAL PARK SERVICE IN CROSSFIRE. Visitors to the nation's capital this week may have been disappointed to learn many of the city's most famous monuments are temporarily closed to the public - a consequence of the federal government shutdown, ABC's MATTHEW LAROTONDA reports. But, spurred by a high-profile visit to the World War II memorial by veterans, some conservative members of Congress are questioning the National Park Service's decision to close the sites to the general public, as officials associated with the park service defend it. Yesterday, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee announced that he has requested additional information from the park service outlining its position. "The committee is concerned with NPS's allocation of resources during this time of lapsed funding," Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., wrote in a letter to National Park Service director Jonathan Jarvis. "Numerous media outlets have reported that NPS has erected barricades to keep people from entering the National World War II Memorial and other monuments." On Tuesday and Wednesday, busloads of elderly veterans with the "Honor Flights" non-profit group arrived at the World War II memorial to find it closed with bike-rack style barricades. However, a handful of park police at the site did not interfere when the vets and volunteers entered anyway, as a circus of media and lawmakers watched. Later, the Park Service declared that the Honor Flights, or any veteran, could enter the memorial freely under First Amendment protection. http://abcn.ws/1ca02NB

-PARK SERVICE WEIGHS IN: The head of the US Park Police officers' union told ABC News that safety and health concerns seemed to outweigh the inconvenience to tourism. "My understanding is that one of the reasons these areas are closed is because maintenance people aren't going to be there, [park rangers] aren't going to be there to give information about these areas," union chair Ian Glick said. "Maintenance also deals with trash pickup. The memorials will become very messy. We've had people slip and fall because they don't know where the wheelchair ramps are. Park rangers generally direct them." Glick pointed out that, in addition to dealing with tourists, park rangers also act as extra eyes and ears for law enforcement. To compare police presence to overall staffing, he said, was "talking about apples and bananas. They aren't even the same shape." http://abcn.ws/1ca02NB

FEMA RECALLING FURLOUGHED WORKERS AHEAD OF TROPICAL STORM KAREN. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has begun to recall workers currently furloughed because of the government shutdown to help prepare for Tropical Storm Karen, the White House announced yesterday, according to ABC's MARY BRUCE. "Based on applicable legal requirements and consistent with its contingency plan, FEMA has begun to recall currently furloughed employees necessary to serve functions of the agency to protect life and property as they prepare for potential landfall for Tropical Storm Karen," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney announced at his daily briefing. It's unclear how many FEMA employees are being called into work. Most FEMA employees - 11,468 of the 14,729 at the agency - were declared "excepted" and were supposed to stay at work during the government shutdown, according to the DHS contingency plan. http://abcn.ws/175Ge6j

SHUTDOWN STALLS EMBASSY SECURITY INCREASE, STATE DEPT. SAYS. Everyone hates the government shutdown - congressional Republicans and the Obama administration alike - and yesterday the U.S. State Department joined in, ABC's CHRIS GOOD reports. Thanks to the budget standoff, some embassy security guards might not be able to assume their posts as recommended in the wake of the Benghazi, Libya, attack, the State Department said. "I think for a Congress that's never missed an opportunity to talk about embassy security, this is a result of its inability to do its job," State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said at a daily press briefing. It's unclear how many guards will actually be prevented from staffing embassies, but the number is no more than the 151 guards the State Department has planned to hire and train. The State Department's comments, of course, come as congressional Republicans and the Obama administration have sought to highlight the shutdown's worst effects. After the Benghazi attack last year, the State Department convened an Accountability Review Board to examine what went wrong and issue recommendations to prevent future attacks. Among its 24 recommendations were added Diplomatic Security agents and an increase in spending on security. http://abcn.ws/18yzjqb

JINDAL WON'T 'SECOND GUESS' GOP'S OBAMACARE STRATEGY. Now that a government shutdown has become a reality, Republican Governors Association Chairman Bobby Jindal, who once wholeheartedly endorsed the Republican tactic to tie government funding to a proposal to defund President Obama's health care law, is now striking a different tone, ABC's ABBY PHILLIP reports. Jindal won't "second guess" congressional Republican strategies in Washington, the Louisiana governor told ABC News yesterday. Instead, he stressed that the states, not Washington, are the "one place in America where you can actually see conservative principles being applied and you can actually see them working." Before the shutdown went into effect, when Jindal was asked whether defunding Obamacare justified shutting down the government, he replied that it was a fight worth having. "I do think our party needs to be more than repeal and defund-I think its needs to be replace," Jindal said at a National Press Club event in September. "But I think repeal and defund is certainly a fight worth having." "I don't know why as a party we would ever try to negotiate with ourselves for taking the option off the table," he added. "It's certainly presumptuous for us to think that the president will choose to shut down the government over this." http://abcn.ws/19Xj2sB

SHUTDOWN SQUEEZE: BORDER AGENT LOSES FINANCIAL SECURITY. Like so many of his comrades, one Border Patrol agent woke up for work Thursday at 4 a.m. with desperate hope that the lawmakers in Washington who forced a government shutdown finally got their own wake-up call. But, alas, not yet, ABC's MIKE LEVINE reports. "You get your uniform on, and you sit there … and you look at your kid, and you look at your wife, and you're like, 'They're depending on you. You're the sole breadwinner of the house,'" said the 39-year-old Border Patrol agent who's been working the Arizona border with Mexico for 10 years. "It's in the back of your mind. You don't know if you're going to get paid." Still, the agent, speaking to ABC News on the condition of anonymity, knew he had to get ready for work. So he packed himself a lunch, including an apple, a can of deviled ham, some almonds, a microwavable soup and a PowerBar. He wouldn't be home for another 12 hours. "Twelve free hours," he said with an unhappy laugh, referring to his compensation for today. At home, his wife and 6-month-old son were sleeping in their three-bedroom, two-bathroom house. He's lived there for eight years, still struggling to pay a $1,200-per-month mortgage and help fund his older son's college education. http://abcn.ws/GCr6Y5


SENATE CHAPLAIN: 'SAVE US FROM THE MADNESS.' Each morning, Senate Chaplain Barry Black opens the session with a prayer to guide senators throughout their day. But from the onset of the government shutdown, Black has turned his prayers into punditry, urging Congress to find a way to reopen the government, ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ reports. "Have mercy upon us, oh God, and save us from the madness," Black prayed Thursday morning. "We acknowledge our transgressions, our shortcomings, our smugness, our selfishness, and our pride. Create in us clean hearts, oh God, and renew a right spirit within us." "Deliver us from the hypocrisy of attempting to sound reasonable while being unreasonable," he continued. "Remove the burdens of those who are the collateral damage of this government shutdown, transforming negatives into positives as you work for the good of those who love you." Black has tailored his daily prayer to the government shutdown each day this week. http://abcn.ws/1bAkHHS


COULD OSWALD HAVE BEEN STOPPED? UNTOLD STORIES AROUND JFK ASSASSINATION 50 YEARS LATER. Half a century after President John F. Kennedy was shot, the new movie "Parkland" relives history from the perspective of those who were most intimately connected to the president's assassination in the chaotic hours and days that followed that fateful motorcade ride through downtown Dallas. "Parkland" writer and director Peter Landesman tells "Top Line's" RICK KLEIN and OLIVIER KNOX that the film puts the story's most prominent characters - the president and the first lady - in the periphery of the storyline to focus instead on the less-known and real-life "Shakespearean dramas" that were unfolding all around. "For 50 years we've seen this story through the narrative of the murder mystery," Landesman said. "And we never really thought about those to whom it really happened, who survived the weekend." Though the film avoids dealing with the many conspiracy theories that surround the Kennedy assassination, it does raise the question of whether Lee Harvey Oswald could have been stopped. FBI agent Jim Hosty, who had been tracking Lee Harvey Oswald prior to the assassination, is one of the film's main characters. http://yhoo.it/1aRxHYL


@McCormickJohn: Hard to image the shutdown reaching a place on Earth more distant than Wake Island, 6,700 miles from D.C. My story: http://mobile.bloomberg.com/news/2013-10-04/shutdown-upends-ham-radio-buffs-trip-marking-massacre.html …

@shearm: The WH normally has chefs, butlers, maids, gardeners, elevator operators, carpenters. Not so much right now http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/04/us/politics/furloughs-alter-routines-for-presidents-staff.html?ref=politics …

@MaeveReston: The Bottom Line for Obamacare in Red States like Oklahoma: Just cause you qualify, doesn't mean you want it: http://bit.ly/18zALIR

@WendyDavisTexas: With the right leadership, Texas will keep its sacred promise that where you start has nothing to do with how far you can go. #TeamWendy

@GregAbbott_TX: Senator Wendy Davis wants to bring Obama's agenda to Texas. Say NO! Join me today. #tcot #txgop https://cards.twitter.com/cards/1hyywu/1s1 …