“Today, in communities across our country, vital federal services are being interrupted and hundreds of thousands of federal employees have been told to stay home without pay because Congress has failed to carry out the most basic of its constitutionally mandated duties,” he said.
After the government reopens, lawmakers must decide whether employees – both those who worked and those who didn’t – should get paid.
Some critical services would remain, but others would not.
Mail delivery would continue but loan programs to small businesses, farmers and homeowners would cease. Inspectors still would regulate food and drugs but research programs would be halted. Taxes would be collected but judges would have to go home when the courts run out of funds. Prisoners still would be held in federal custody but money for recovery efforts following Superstorm Sandy would be reduced.
The health care law that is the focus of the dispute between Republicans and Democrats would continue to be implemented, because much of its funding comes from other sources, including new taxes and fees and cuts to other programs.
“Let me be clear about this. . . . The Affordable Care Act is moving forward,” Obama said. “That funding is already in place. You can’t shut it down.”
Earlier Monday, Obama placed separate calls to all of the Congressional leaders. He told them anew that he would not negotiate on health care as part of the budget bill.
Boehner told the president in a 10-minute call that the health care law is “costing jobs and that American families are being denied basic fairness when big businesses are getting exemptions that they are not,” said Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck.
But Reid criticized House members for their fixation on the health care law.
“Albert Einstein defined insanity as, ‘doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results,’” Reid said on the Senate floor. “Tonight, we have more proof that House Republicans have lost their minds. Instead of allowing all 435 members of the House of Representatives to vote on the Senate’s bill to keep the government open for business, Speaker Boehner is once again pushing a government shutdown.”
As the day wore on, there were some signs that Republicans in both chambers were starting to differ over how to proceed. Some House members initially thought of killing the latest proposal because it didn’t go far enough, while some senators floated a proposal that would extend for one week the government’s current spending levels, which would prevent workers from being furloughed and keep government agencies and services open as lawmakers continued to haggle over larger issues.
“Despite the Democrats’ refusal to work with the House to solve the problem, Republicans are working to protect the troops, prevent a shutdown and find solutions to the difficulties caused by Senate Democrats’ delay,” said Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
But Senate Democrats were cool to the idea, and it remained unclear whether the House and White House would accept the plan.
“You cannot negotiate when you take hostages and extort,” Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. said. “We’re happy to negotiate. There’s a budget. They can talk about spending for (Obamacare) in the budget. You don’t do it this way.”