Tuesday, September 16, 2014

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Washington Beat: Government Shutdown Enters Second Week

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On day seven of the partial federal government shutdown, President Barack Obama said that the only way to reopen the government is to pass a clean funding bill, and he dared House Speaker John Boehner to do it. Washington bureau reporter Michael Scotto filed the following report for NY1.

On Sunday, House Speaker John Boehner said a no-strings-attached funding bill had no shot in the House.

"There are not the votes in the House to pass a clean CR," Boehner said.

On Monday, President Barack Obama issued a challenge to the GOP.

"If Republicans and Speaker Boehner are saying there are not enough votes, then they should prove it," Obama said.

The president and his fellow Democrats are increasingly convinced that a clean funding bill that doesn't touch the Affordable Care Act would get the 217 votes needed to pass the House, albeit without much support from the Republican majority.

In New York, every Democrat supports the move, along with Republicans Michael Grimm and Peter King.

Republicans, by and large, want the president to come to the table first and negotiate a plan to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling. It's an action that must be taken by mid-October. Otherwise, the country could default, sending the economy into a tailspin.

On the House floor, Boehner said that the president, not the Republican Party, was to blame for the gridlock.

"The president's refusal to negotiate is hurting our economy and putting our country at risk," Boehner said.

The president has said that he is willing to negotiate a long-term budget deal, but only after House Republicans fund the government and raise the debt limit.

Democrats say the dynamic of the fight makes it likely that Republicans will blink first.

"I think at the end of the day, the pressure on Speaker Boehner is going to be so great to not go into default that that will exceed the pressure that the Tea Party is putting on him to go into default," said Sen. Chuck Schumer.

For now, that doesn't appear likely, as Boehner is holding firm that any deal will have to include concessions from the president.

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