A last-ditch effort is under way to form a House-Senate panel to negotiate new funding so shut-down government operations can resume. But Democrats in the Senate are likely to wait to see if GOP lawmakers will crack.
The US government shut down at midnight as the GOP-controlled House continued to demand changes in "Obamacare" as the price of funding federal activities and as the Democratic-controlled Senate rejected that linkage.
Google’s doodle on Tuesday may honor the 123rd anniversary of Yosemite National Park, but Yosemite and its fellow national parks are all closed. Don’t make plans to visit the Smithsonian, because its doors are locked, too. Ninety-seven percent of NASA’s employees are on furlough.
Social Security checks will still be delivered, the mail will go through, and the military will be paid. But the vast majority of Uncle Sam’s work will be curtailed as agencies from the Department of Agriculture to the Department of Veterans Affairs end nonessential services because they don’t have the money to pay employees.
Bureacrageddon has come to pass. In political terms, what happens next?
First, the House’s last-ditch effort will almost certainly fail. Late on Monday House members voted along party lines to appoint negotiators to a House-Senate conference committee to hash out details of an agreement on a continuing resolution to fund the government. Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D) of Nevada has said he will reject this, as he continues to maintain there is nothing to negotiate.
“From Democrats’ perspective, there is nothing left to discuss in conference,” writes Sarah Binder, a George Washington University professor of political science, on "The Monkey Cage" political blog Tuesday morning.
Second, Senator Reid and his fellow Democrats will wait to see if the GOP cracks. From their point of view, they have maintained unity against changes in Obamacare while Republicans have scaled back demands from defunding to delay. There are already fissures in the GOP stance in any case, as many Senate Republicans have deplored the march to a shutdown as unwinnable for their party.