Blog Posts by Chris Moody

  • Quietly working with Dems for major budget deal, Republican Paul Ryan urges compromise

    There's been one major name offstage during the national soap opera (some say tragedy) that the pitched partisan budget battle has become—Republican House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan.

    In the weeks leading up to the government shutdown deadline on Oct. 1, Republican and Democratic leaders spent their public time volleying demands across the capitol, negotiating through the media and organizing noisy political stunts that were more focused on ensuring the other guys took blame than reaching a solution.

    Amid the sound and fury over the shutdown and the doomsday predictions if the government fails to increase the nation's debt ceiling, Ryan has taken a different approach.

    Unlike some of his colleagues, Ryan has gotten religion — on democracy. His strategy in the wake of President Barack Obama's re-election is to emphasize pragmatic reforms that both parties already support rather than driving initiatives that can never pass in divided government.

    As the chairman of the House Budget

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  • Members of Congress are people too, drink beer

    There's been a lot of terrible news coming from the nation's capital lately, what with all the fighting over the government shutdown and the talk of the nation defaulting on its debts.

    But here's something different! Members of Congress behaving like human beings.

    Two Republicans and two Democrats joined on camera for a brief moment of bipartisanship at Capitol Lounge, a watering hole near the Capitol Building, to talk about something other than politics.

    The video, shot in August by NowThisNews.com — long before the shutdown — features some of the youngest members of Congress: Republicans Adam Kinzinger of Illinois and Trey Radel of Florida and Democrats Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Patrick Murphy of Florida.

    Curiously, only the Republicans drank beer. The Democrats had water. (NowThisNews.com)

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  • They're talking? Really? Republicans, Obama have 'productive' meeting on debt, shutdown

    There was no agreement reached on Thursday night by top House Republicans and President Barack Obama to raise the nation's debt ceiling or to reopen the government — but there was progress: They're talking.

    For the first time in the partisan stalemate that has crippled Washington, the two sides emerged from the White House confab saying they might be able to work something out.

    The responses from both sides reflected a marked shift in tone between Republicans and Democrats, the first since the federal government shut down on Oct. 1.

    Each side emerged from the meeting to say they would continue negotiations.

    "It was clarifying to both sides as to where we are," Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said when he returned to the Capitol Building on Thursday. "The takeaway from the meeting was, our teams are going to be talking further tonight. We'll have more discussion. ... The president said he would go and consult with the administration folks, and hopefully we can see a way

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  • Meet one of the conservative advocacy groups behind the GOP's government shutdown strategy

    The activists at Heritage Action, one of the conservative groups that successfully persuaded enough Republicans to refuse to fund the government unless the federal health care law is defunded, is not sorry about the shutdown.

    And Michael Needham, CEO of Heritage Action, thinks that if this goes on long enough, Democrats will have no choice but to back down.

    More than a week into the first government shutdown since the Bill Clinton era, groups such as Heritage Action on the right continue to urge lawmakers not to negotiate a measure to fully fund the government unless they include riders to effectively dismantle the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

    “The only acceptable way out of this is some sort of deal that funds the federal government without funding Obamacare,” Needham told reporters at a breakfast on Wednesday sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor. “This is a fight about Obamacare, and the attention of Republicans and conservatives needs to be back on Obamacare

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  • Republicans ignore calls from business community to raise the debt ceiling now and pass reforms later

    Business leaders are increasingly warning Republicans that their refusal to lift the nation's ability to borrow more money could badly damage the economy, but the GOP, under ferocious pressure from conservatives to force budget concessions from President Barack Obama, are standing their ground.

    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other groups have actively engaged lawmakers for weeks and say that while they agree with the need for reforms, the top priority should be avoiding the default that a failure to OK another debt ceiling increase would bring.

    “Our top lobbyists are continuing to talk to scores of members of Congress and their staff urging them to address this and stop kicking the can down the road,” U.S. Chamber spokeswoman Blair Latoff Holmes told Yahoo News. “It is up to lawmakers and the administration to find common ground and reach a deal that will fund the government and raise the debt limit to avoid default. We will continue to make that case to everyone who will listen.”

    But

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  • Senate could vote this week to raise the debt ceiling

    Senate Democrats are considering holding a vote on a bill to increase the federal debt limit as early as this week, senior Senate Democratic leadership aides told Yahoo News.

    Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s plan, as first reported by Greg Sargent of the Washington Post, would give Senate lawmakers an opportunity to vote on a “clean” increase of the debt limit — one with no extra amendments attached.

    President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders have called for a “clean” debt ceiling increase, but congressional Republicans say they will insist upon broad budget reforms as part of an agreement to raise the limit.

    The Treasury Department estimates that the federal government will run out of money by Oct. 17, barring congressional action to increase the nation’s borrowing limit. Not doing so could cause the government to default on the interest of its $16.7 trillion debt, which economists predict would be disastrous for the economy.

    Senate Democratic leaders are confident

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  • U.S. government shutdown likely to drag on into next week

    There will be little if any progress toward ending the government shutdown this weekend, pushing the standoff that has idled more than 800,000 federal workers into its second week.

    House Republicans plan several votes over the next two days — but none that would restore funds to the entire government. Instead, they will continue passing bills to pay for individual popular programs.

    By Monday, the House will have voted to restore funds to natural disaster emergency recovery, nutritional assistance for children, national parks, medical research, the District of Columbia and veterans services. The body will also vote to pay members of the National Guard and Reserves. Many of those bills have already passed with support from House Democrats.

    Senate Democrats and President Barack Obama say they want the government fully funded before any new negotiations can take place. Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has vowed to reject the piecemeal approach, Obama is promising vetoes, and the

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  • As shutdown drags on, lawmakers focus on posturing, not solutions

    Walking alone down a third-floor hallway of the Capitol Building, Nita Lowey, a Democrat from New York, sighed heavily.

    “This place is a crazy house,” she said under her breath.

    It would be funny if it were not so true.

    The federal government is four days into its first shutdown in 17 years, and Capitol Hill is feeling stubborn and frustrated. Republicans refuse to fund operations unless a key part of the 2010 federal health care law is delayed and congressional staffers are stripped of health care subsidies. Democrats aren’t budging from a demand that the government be fully funded — no strings attached.

    So in the meantime, Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill have resorted to devoting resources to making the other side look as bad as possible. In a time when middle class federal workers are being furloughed without pay and essential government services are suspended, lawmakers spend more time racking up gotcha points than ending the crisis.

    It’s not that there aren’t enough

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  • Obama, lawmakers huddle but no shutdown breakthrough

    No breakthrough. That was the message late Wednesday after President Barack Obama discussed the government shutdown with Republican and Democratic congressional leaders at the White House.

    The 90-minute meeting came after the House and Senate failed to reach an agreement on federal spending levels this week, and House Republican leaders refused to hold a vote on a funding bill that didn’t also delay or defund part of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

    House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid met with Obama. Vice President Joe Biden and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew were also present.

    “The president reiterated one more time tonight that he will not negotiate,” Boehner told reporters after the meeting.

    McConnell said in a statement, “The meeting was cordial but unproductive. While I appreciated the opportunity to speak directly with the President about this pressing issue, I was

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  • This is the best sign yet of the government shutdown

    Federal parks and monuments nationwide remained closed on Day Two of the federal government shutdown.

    On the National Mall and at all federal memorials, authorities have set up barricades, some of which were breached on Tuesday by wheelchair-bound war veterans visiting the World War II Memorial.

    Signs are everywhere telling the public that their government is closed. But one made clear the First Amendment is still alive.

    John McCormack, a reporter for the Weekly Standard, spotted this gem outside the Second Division Memorial:

    Here it is a bit closer:

    Sign outside the District of Columbia War Memorial, which is closed during the government shutdown. (John McCormack/Weekly Standard.)

    What does that mean, exactly?

    "If you have any demonstrations or protests," an officer told McCormack, "I'm assuming you're free to do that."Read More »from This is the best sign yet of the government shutdown

Pagination

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