government shutdown

RNC offers to pay for security to keep World War II Memorial open


The Republican National Committee (RNC) has offered to put up enough money to hire five security guards to keep the World War II Memorial open to the public for the next 30 days or, presumably, whenever the government shutdown ends.

“The Obama administration has decided they want to make the government shutdown as painful as possible, even taking the unnecessary step of keeping the Greatest Generation away from a monument built in their honor,” said RNC Chairman Priebus at the memorial dedicated to the brave soldiers who fought in World War II.

“That’s not right, and it’s not fair. So the RNC has put aside enough money to hire five security personnel to keep this memorial open to veterans and visitors,” he said. Ideally, I’d hope to hire furloughed employees for this job.”

The World War II Memorial has become ground-zero of the government shutdown. The National Park Service closed popular attractions around the country, including monuments and memorials in Washington, DC.

On Tuesday, a group of World War II veterans from Mississippi, some of whom were in wheelchairs, visited the memorial, pushing aside the barricades blocking their entry with help from members of Congress. A group from Ohio was threatened with arrest if they crossed the barricades. Both groups were on trips sponsored by the Honor Flight Network.

WWII vets push aside barricade to visit memorial; police threaten arrest

Honor Flight

One of the causalities of this so-called government shutdown is the World War II Memorial. The memorial is, on paper at least, closed to the general public until congress passes the continuing resolution. The veterans, however; have other ideas, as The Blaze reported yesterday:

“Shockingly, an Honor Flight group from Toledo, Ohio, was allegedly threatened with arrest if they entered the closed memorial, setting up a possible showdown between vets and the government.

Honor Flight of Northwest Ohio was told by the Park Service that individuals in the group would face arrest if they entered the closed memorial, Lee Armstrong, the group’s president, claims.

Armstrong was stunned.

“I said, are you kidding me? You’re going to arrest a 90/91-year-old veteran from seeing his memorial? If it wasn’t for them it wouldn’t be there. She said, ‘That’s correct sir,’” Armstrong told WNWO-TV. “

As the article also pointed out, between 600-900 WWII veterans die every day. As Honor Flight volunteer Andrea Plunkett was quoted as saying, “these veterans can’t wait on the government” to visit the memorial. Clearly, many of these veterans won’t wait. They are willing to practice civil disobedience (a.k.a. nullification) against the law. They served their country risking life and limb…who are these “authorities” to stop them?

World War II veterans visit memorial despite government shutdown

They stormed the beaches of Normandy and raised the American flag on Iwo Jima, so it’s not surprising that a group of World War II veterans were undeterred by the government shutdown when they arrived on the National Mall yesterday to visit the memorial dedicated to them:

Wheelchair-bound elderly veterans pushed aside barricades to tour the World War II Memorial Tuesday morning, in defiance of the government shutdown which closed all of the memorials in the nation’s capital.

The four bus loads of veterans — visiting from Mississippi as part of a once-in-a-lifetime Honor Flight tour — ignored National Park Police instructions not to enter the site as lawmakers and tourists cheered them on.

“We didn’t come this far not to get in,” one veteran proclaimed.

The scene was both emotional and comical at once. After it was clear they had lost control of the situation, Park Police officials stood aside, telling press that they had “asked for guidance on how to respond” to the breach of security.

As 80-something veterans slowly walked around the massive war memorial, Park Police stood quietly to the side, advising other tourists that the site was technically still closed. But they made no moves to stop the wishes of the war heroes.

Leo Shane, III, who wrote the article excerpted above, took photos of the veterans visiting the memorial. You can view the photo gallery here. The Associated Press caught some video of veterans at the memorial:

House Democrats kill spending bills to keep open national parks, Veterans Affairs

Tuesday, the first day of the government shutdown, started out with Senate rejecting a proposal from the House of Representatives to enter into a conference committee to discuss differences between the two chambers on the Continuing Resolution (CR).

House-appointed conferees held a photo op in which they sat at the table across from empty chairs where their Senate counterparts would be sitting if they had agreed to negotiate. “We sit ready to negotiate with the Senate. #FairnessForAll,” tweeted House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), attaching the photo below.

 Majority Leader Eric Cantor -- (@GOPLeader)

House Republicans decided on another round of action to work through disagreements on ObamaCare by bringing up stop-gap spending measures that would end the disruption of certain parts of the federal government.

The House went into session early yesterday evening, planning to take up three separate spending measures to fund the National Park Service, Department of Veterans Affairs, and the District of Columbia, which is under the purview of Congress.

House Democrats chided Republicans for not passing a so-called “clean” CR before the government shutdown and overwhelmingly opposed the measures, leading to their defeat.

What happens when the government shuts down…

There’s a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth about the government shutdown that started today. Democrats in both chambers of Congress have been complaining about how it will slowdown basic services and hurt Americans. But there are a lot of misconceptions about what services and programs are affected.

Reason magazine put together the video below back in 2011 listing the departments, agencies and programs that will continue running during a government shutdown. Medicare will continue running and Social Security checks will still go out. The IRS will, unfortunately, continue to operate. The United States Postal Service and the TSA will also work through a shutdown.

Non-essential government workers will be furloughed, though it’s likely that they’ll get paid when an agreement is reached on spending. President Barack Obama and Congress will, unfortunately, continue to receive their paychecks during a shutdown.

Check out the video from Reason:

Legendary journalist knocks Obama for refusal to negotiate with Republicans

Bob Woodward spared no side from criticism over the fiscal debates raging in Washington, during an appearance yesterday on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.

Woodward, a Washington Post columnist renowned for his coverage of the Watergate scandal, criticized Republicans for their handling the budget situation and debt ceiling negotiations. But he reserved heavy criticism for President Barack Obama, noting that his failure to strike a deal is ultimately a failure of leadership on his part.

“[T]here is something [President Obama] could be doing. He said he will not negotiate on the debt ceiling — a reasonable position. But he should be talking,” Woodward explained to other panelists. “They should be meeting, discussing this, because…the American economy is at stake and the president, if there is a downturn or a collapse or whatever could happen here that’s bad, it’s going to be on his head.”

Drawing from history, Woodward notes that the onus is ultimately on President Obama to make sure that these debates are settled, regardless of House Speaker John Boehner’s role in the situation.

CNN poll: 57% oppose ObamaCare, GOP gets blame for government shutdown

Opposition to ObamaCare has hit its highest level since March 2011, according to the latest CNN poll, but Americans place the blame for the government shutdown largely on Republicans.

The poll of 803 American adults, conducted between September 27-29, found that 57% oppose ObamaCare, while only 38% support the law. Congressional Republicans have tried to delay the law through the Continuing Resolution (CR), but have been met with resistance from the White House and Senate Democrats.

These policy disagreements have prevented President Obama and House Republicans from coming to an agreement on the CR, resulting in a government shutdown.

But the poll, which was taken before the shutdown and released yesterday, found that 68% of Americans believe that a government shutdown will be a bad thing and 46% blame Republicans in Congress for the impasse. Just 36% blame President Barack Obama.

It’s important to note that the share of blame Republicans received has dropped from a CNN poll earlier this month, from 51% to the current 46%. The blame President Obama received rose by 3 points.

Sixty percent (60%) of Americans said that the most important job Congress has is to approve a budget agreement that would avoid a government shutdown. Just 34% believe that Congress should block funding for ObamaCare.

Take from the poll what you will, but it indicates that Republicans are still winning the messaging war on ObamaCare, despite President Obama and his allies efforts to sell the law to a skeptical American public. It’s too early to guess what the ramifications will be or if Republicans will be able to turn the narrative around. But entering into the shutdown, Republicans have their work cut out for them.

House, Senate unable to agree on stop-gap spending measure, government shutdown begins

government shutdown

The federal government has shutdown for the first time in almost two decades as the House of Representatives and the Senate were unable to reach an agreement on a stop-gap spending measure to fund the government until mid-December.

It wasn’t for lack of trying. The Senate came into session around 2pm on Monday and rejected the Continuing Resolution (CR) passed by the House on Saturday night/Sunday morning. Senate Democrats opposed the measure because it would have delayed ObamaCare for a year.

Various Democratic senators explained from the floor that they had no intention of making changes to ObamaCare, insisting that their compromise was the spending levels by which the government would run. House Democrats said the same in their speeches in from the floor of the lower chamber.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) floated a one-week spending measure to give the chambers more time to workout their differences. But that idea was rejected by his counterpart, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).

Barring a last minute deal, the government shuts down tonight

Barack Obama

The stage has been set for a showdown on ObamaCare, as the House of Representatives passed amendments to the Senate’s version of the Continuing Resolution (CR) to delay ObamaCare for one year and repeal the law’s medical device tax.

In a rare weekend session, the House debated and passed a CR that would fund the government until mid-December. House Democrats decried the amendments for the measure, accusing their Republican counterparts of wanting to shutdown the federal government. House Republicans, however, insisted that this is was a compromise CR, citing the Obama Administration’s delays of various provisions of the law and bipartisan support for repealing the medical device tax.

Throughout the course of the debate, House Republicans noted that the White House has been eager to talk to Iran, but refused to negotiate a compromise on government funding with them.

Here’s a look at the changes made to the CR by the House.

Senate Democrat backs delay of ObamaCare’s individual mandate

Breaking with President Barack Obama and Democratic leadership, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said on Thursday that he would vote for a stop-gap spending measure that delayed ObamaCare’s individual mandate for one-year, citing the administration’s delay of the employer mandate:

“There’s no way I could not vote for it,” Manchin said at a Bloomberg Government breakfast today. “It’s very reasonable and sensible.”
Manchin, 66, said he’d be willing to delay the individual mandate as part of the budget negotiations because the Obama administration in July gave businesses an extra year to provide their workers with health insurance.

“Don’t put the mandate on the American public right now,” Manchin said. “Give them at least a year. If you know you couldn’t bring the corporate sector, you gave them a year, don’t you think it’d be fair?”

Chris Moody of Yahoo! News reports that Manchin will vote for the CR, including funding for ObamaCare, that Senate Democrats are expected to push through the chamber either today or tomorrow.

House Republicans are reportedly considering tacking on a one-year delay of the individual mandate to Continuing Resolution (CR) after the Senate returns the measure to the chamber. Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) confirmed on Thursday that it’s “unlikely” that he will accept a “clean” CR.

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