Catherine Thompson is a news writer for Talking Points Memo. Before joining TPM, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett and interned at The L Magazine. At New York University she served as the deputy managing editor of NYU's student newspaper, The Washington Square News. She can be reached at email@example.com.
A discussion between Fox News host Sean Hannity and Reps. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) and Matt Salmon (R-AZ) on employer contributions to congressional staff's health care plans quickly devolved into a shouting match Thursday.
Pascrell argued that members of Congress don't get a special subsidy, comparing the employer contribution to congressional staff's health care plans to contributions given to employees of other companies and federal agencies. Salmon then said he had given up his employer contribution because he thinks Congress should "live under the same laws every American does."
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Thursday urged Congress to raise the debt ceiling before the looming Oct. 17 deadline, pointing out in a USA Today op-ed that avoiding a default on the country's obligations is not an issue of spending.
From the op-ed:
We cannot put our nation in the position of not paying its bills because Congress has refused to raise the country's debt limit. It is important to note that increasing the debt limit does not give the government the ability to spend more money.
An increase in the debt limit simply allows us to pay our bills. Without a debt limit increase, our government will — in a matter of days — not have the resources it needs to make good on its commitments.
Only Congress has the power to lift the debt limit. That means only Congress can clear the way for our government to meet all of its financial obligations.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released a statement Thursday again inviting President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats to the bargaining table while urging they realize "neither side gets everything it wants" in negotiating an end to the government shutdown.
The statement responds to Obama's speech Thursday morning on the negative effects of the shutdown, in which he blamed Boehner for not bringing a "clean" continuing resolution to fund the government to a vote out of fear of the "extremists" in his party.
Boehner's full statement below:
Republicans have sent bill after bill after bill to the Senate to keep the government open, and Democrats have rejected every one of them – refusing to even talk about our differences. We want to resolve this dispute as soon as possible, but that will require Washington Democrats to realize neither side gets everything it wants. With Obamacare proving to be a train wreck, the president’s insistence on steamrolling ahead with this flawed program is irresponsible. We must provide American families basic fairness and the same exemptions from the law that big businesses have already been granted. It’s time for the president and Senate Democrats to come to the negotiating table and drop their my-way-or-the-highway approach that gave us this shutdown.
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) allegedly told Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) at a recent closed-door meeting that there is a GOP "leadership vacuum" in the Senate, the Hill reported Thursday.
Coburn called out Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT) for their push to defund Obamacare, which he said gave outside groups "ammo" to attack their GOP colleagues, a Republican who attended the meeting told the Hill.
The Oklahoma senator then told McConnell that he had allowed Cruz's and Lee's anti-Obamacare campaign to spin out of control "because there's a leadership vacuum," according to the anonymous Republican.
Coburn declined to comment to the Hill on the conversation.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) were caught on a hot mic Wednesday night while discussing their party's messaging on the government shutdown.
Paul ran into McConnell, who was wired for an interview, in front of a camera after wrapping his own interview with CNN, according to Western Kentucky news station WPSD.
"I just did CNN and I just go over and over again 'We're willing to compromise, we're willing to negotiate.' I think -- I don't think they poll tested 'we won't negotiate.' I think it's awful for them to say that over and over again," Paul said of the Obama administration's stance on the shutdown.
"Yeah, I do too, and I just came back from that two hour meeting with them, and that was basically the same view privately as it was publicly," McConnell said.
In the video recording, Paul was confident that the GOP's pivot from demanding Obamacare be defunded to seeking out compromise would succeed.
"I think if we keep saying 'We wanted to defund it. We fought for that but now we're willing to compromise on this,' I think they can't -- we're gonna, I think -- well I know we don't want to be here, but we're gonna win this I think," he said.