Shutdown Diary, Day 3: More Talk, Little Action
Congress: On Day 3 of the shutdown, a Washington made tense by partisan acrimony was put even more on edge by a bizarre incident. A woman who drove erratically near the White House and then the U.S. Capitol, causing the legislative complex to be locked down, ended up dead after a high-speed chase that left a Capitol Hill police officer injured.
After the lockdown was lifted, Congress returned to normal operations, as much as possible. The GOP-led House passed a bill to temporarily fund the National Guard and Reserve, one of the series of smaller spending bills House Republicans have passed as they've tried to shift blame for the shutdown to Democrats.
The Democratic-controlled Senate continued to rebuff all such efforts, insisting that the House take up a Senate-passed spending bill that's been sitting for a week.
Earlier in the day, Senate Democrats ridiculed House Republicans as part of their questioning of GOP motives.
On Wednesday, Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind., had said: "We're not going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this. And I don't know what that even is."
On Thursday, Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., chided Stutzman: "I want to join with the majority leader in apologizing for anything I said that may have disrespected Congressman Marlin Stutzman," said Durbin, the Senate's second in command. "I haven't met him, but if I've said anything, I want to apologize and hope that he will take it to heart and reopen the government."
(Stutzman issued an apology for his statement.)
House Republican leaders continued to insist the shutdown was all the Democrats' fault.
"The president's refusal to work in a bipartisan way has led us to this shutdown," said Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., the House majority leader. "We must fix and restore the American people's faith in our economy and their trust in government, especially before we reach our debt limit deadline in a week or so. It's time for the president and Senate Democrats to put partisanship aside and sit down at a table so we can work out our differences."
Meanwhile, The New York Times reported that unidentified Republicans told the paper that House Speaker John Boehner, the Ohio Republican, has assured them that he wouldn't allow the nation to default on its obligations. In other words, that Boehner would have the House vote to increase the debt ceiling even if he had to rely on the votes of Democrats as well as Republicans to pass the measure.
President Obama: At a campaign-style event at a construction company in a Washington suburb, Obama repeated his vow that he won't negotiate on either the spending or the debt ceiling bills.
And Obama also used Stutzman's comment to make a point.
"Think about that," Obama said. "You have already gotten the opportunity to serve the American people. There's no higher honor than that. You've already gotten the opportunity to help businesses like this one, workers like these. So the American people aren't in the mood to give you a goody bag to go with it."