Government Shuts Down as GOP Refuses to Pass ‘Clean’ CR (Updated)

Posted September 30, 2013 at 10:06pm

Updated 12:17 a.m., Oct. 1 | The government has shut down for the first time in 17 years after House Republican leaders refused to pass a “clean” CR demanded by Democrats and moved to go to conference instead.

The Office of Management and Budget issued the order to shut down the government shortly before midnight.

The House Rules Committee met to discuss the plan to go to conference, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., immediately dismissed it.

“We will not go to conference with a gun to our heads,” Reid said on the Senate floor, even as Rules was meeting. He demanded that Republicans pass the Senate’s six-week “clean” CR and said Democrats would be prepared to meet to discuss the funding for the rest of the year.

At midnight, Reid came to the floor to lament the shutdown, and said that the Senate would come back Tuesday morning at 9:30 a.m. He said the Senate would move to table whatever the House sent over until the House passes a clean CR.

The House Rules Committee had convened at 10:30 p.m. and had emerged 10 minutes past 11 p.m. with a rule for floor consideration.

Under that rule, the House would send back to the Senate, in essence, the amendments to the stopgap spending measure that the House put forth earlier on Monday, and which the Senate swiftly dismissed — one that would delay the individual mandate in the president’s health care law for one year, and one that would end Obamacare subsidies for members, staff and political appointees.

The House would also request to go to conference with the Senate to resolve differences, but there would be no continuing resolution in effect to float the government during the resolution of those differences.

In advance of the announcement of the House’s next move Monday night, Republicans filed in and out of Speaker John A. Boehner’s office, from the rank-and-file variety to leadership allies to Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers of Kentucky. Few gave indications of what they had heard and how they felt about the new plan.

Democratic leadership aides quickly suggested that a conference committee wouldn’t fly short of passage of at least a clean six-week CR to keep the lights on in the interim.

“It kicks the can back to Speaker Cruz in the Senate,” quipped a Democratic leadership aide, referring to Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, a fast-growing tea party leader who stood on the Senate floor for 21 hours last week in protest of Obamacare.

Rules Committee Democrats were also defiant.

“I’m frustrated we’re here today with your requesting that we go to conference when for six months the Republican leadership has refused to appoint conferees on the budget and now with 60 minutes left we’re going to conference on the continuing resolution,” said Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass. “I know you’re fast talkers but I can’t imagine you working out any differences between now and the time the government is gonna shut down.”