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Dylan Scott

Dylan Scott is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. He previously reported for Governing magazine in Washington, D.C., and the Las Vegas Sun. His work has been recognized with a 2013 American Society of Business Publication Editors award for Best Feature Series and a 2010 Associated Press Society of Ohio award for Best Investigative Reporting. He can be reached at dylan@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Dylan

Throughout the government spending drama, one of the central themes has been the insurgence of House conservatives, spurred on by Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT). They've been in many ways setting the House's agenda, much to the chagrin of House leadership.

That dynamic took center-stage again Tuesday when Cruz and Lee took credit for the House's latest plan to end the government shutdown.

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Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) dismissed the House GOP's latest plan to take a piecemeal approach to funding the government.

"We're going to wait and see, obviously, what they have to offer," Durbin told reporters on Tuesday. "But that Sen. Ted Cruz is now going to pick his favorite federal agencies to reopen? Come on. Let's get serious about this. There are a lot of agencies of government that need to be open. I'd suggest opening all of them."

Before the government shut down, Cruz had urged House Republicans to pass funding bills for individual agencies if Senate Democrats refused to budge on Obamacare. On Tuesday, House GOP leadership released a plan to approve bills funding part of the Department of Veterans Affairs and the national parks system.

President Obama said Tuesday that the government shutdown caused by House Republicans is going to be a drag on the U.S. economy -- not Obamacare.

"What is weighing on the economy is not the Affordable Care Act, but the constant crisis and unwillingness to pass a budget by a faction of the Republican Party," Obama said. "I want to underscore the fact that Congress doesn't have to just reopen the government. It has to stop governing by crisis and break this habit. It is a drag on the economy. It is not worthy of this country."

He also reiterated that Congress was obligated to raise the debt ceiling and that he would not negotiate on the issue.

"There is a whole bunch of things I would like to see passed through Congress that the House Republicans haven't passed yet," Obama said. "And I am not out there saying, 'I am going to let America default unless Congress does something they don't want to do. That's not how adults operate. Certainly that's not how the government should operate."

President Obama blasted Republicans Tuesday for their crusade to dismantle Obamacare, which he said had led to the federal government shutdown.

"You know, the shutdown is not about budgets or deficits. This shutdown is rolling back our efforts to provide health insurance to folks who don't have it," Obama said. "It is all about rolling back the Affordable Care Act. This more than anything else seems to be what the Republican Party stands for these days."

"I know it is strange that one party would make keeping people uninsured the centerpiece of the agenda, but that apparently is what it is."

Obama also pointed out that the law's health insurance marketplaces had still gone live on Tuesday, despite the shutdown.

 

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President Obama said Tuesday that House Republicans had forced the government shutdown by demanding changes to Obamacare in exchange for funding the government.

"One faction of one party in one house of Congress in one branch of government shut down major parts of the government all because they didn't like one law," Obama said. "They've shut down the government over an ideological crusade to deny afford health insurance to millions of Americans. They demanded ransom just for doing their job."

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said Tuesday that the House GOP's willingness to shut down the government over Obamacare could be a bad sign for the upcoming fight over raising the debt ceiling.

"It raises real concerns," Hoyer told reporters. "This is a harbinger of a destabilizing confrontation once again. The debt limit ought not to be subject to any political disagreements."

The debt ceiling will be breached on Oct. 17, according to the U.S. Treasury Department.

The Obama administration always said there would be glitches with the Obamacare marketplace rollout -- and that prediction had come true by Tuesday morning, hours after the marketplaces went live.

Some visitors to HealthCare.gov were greeeted with the "Please Wait" page above. The Obama administration also acknowledged the long wait times in a Tuesday morning tweet.


The state-run New York marketplace replied directly to users who were experiencing problems.

The state-run Maryland marketplace advised visitors to return at noon, as heavy traffic was affecting the site's functionality.

 

The state-run Connecticut marketplace asked for consumers' patience on the first day.


Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) said Tuesday that it was "conceivable" that some changes to Obamacare could be included in whatever temporary government spending bill is ultimately passed by Congress.

"It's conceivable some aspect of it would be, but the notion of delaying it or defunding it is not going to happen," Durbin said on CNN.

Durbin suggested a repeal of the medical device tax -- which the House has included in one version of its bill, but the Senate rejected -- could be grounds for compromise. But he said that Congress would have to offset the $29 billion that the repeal would add to the federal deficit.

"We can work out something I believe on the medical device tax," Durbin said. "That was one of the proposals from the Republicans as long as we replace the revenue so we don't put a hole in the deficit and respond to this in a responsible fashion.  That's one thing the Republicans want to talk about.  Let's sit down and put that on the table."

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) didn't say much after his chamber voted to go to conference with the Senate over the temporary government spending bill -- a move that shut the government down Tuesday.

"The House has made its position known very clearly. We believe we should fund government, and we think there ought to basic fairness for all Americans under Obamacare," Boehner said. "The Senate has continued to reject our offers, but under the Constitution, there's a way to resolve this problem and that is to go to conference and talk through your differences. I would hope that the Senate would accept our offer to go to conference and discuss this so that we can resolve this for the American people."

He took two questions. Asked if the House would vote on a government spending bill without changes to Obamacare, Boehner was evasive.

"We are hoping that the Senate will take our offer to go to conference and let us resolve our differences," Boehner said.

Asked what he would say to federal employees who would be affected by the shutdown, he ignored the question.

"The House has voted to keep the government open, but we also want basic fairness under Obamacare," Boehner said.

He then walked away from the microphones.

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At the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Monday, Kathleen Sebelius compared the launch of Obamacare to the launch of an Apple product: highly public and eagerly anticipated but with inevitable glitches that can be ironed out without spoiling the whole show.

"About 10 days go, I got the prompt that the operating system had changed and did I want to upgrade to the new operating system and so I did it," Sebelius said. "Then about five days after that, I got the second prompt saying there's a little problem with the system and now we have a new, new upgrade and why don't you upgrade your upgrade."

"And I thought, okay, this is Apple. It has a few more resources than we have to roll out technology. No one is calling on Apple to not sell devices or to get out of the business because the whole thing is a failure. It was just a reminder that we're likely to have some glitches. We will fix them and move on. Hopefully people will give us the same slack that they give Apple."

Here's where things stand as of Tuesday when Obamacare goes live for the first time-- and what the administration expects on the law's first day.

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