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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
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.
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.
At 11:46 p.m. ET, the Obama administration ordered executive departments "to execute their plans for an orderly shutdown of the federal government."
The full memo from the Office of Management and Budget is below.
MEMORANDUM FOR THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES
FROM: Sylvia M. Burwell
SUBJECT: Update on Status of Operations
This memorandum follows the September 17, 2013, Memorandum M-13-22, and provides an update on the potential lapse of appropriations.
Appropriations provided under the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013 (P.L. 113-6) expire at 11:59 pm tonight. Unfortunately, we do not have a clear indication that Congress will act in time for the President to sign a Continuing Resolution before the end of the day tomorrow, October 1, 2013. Therefore, agencies should now execute plans for an orderly shutdown due to the absence of appropriations. We urge Congress to act quickly to pass a Continuing Resolution to provide a short-term bridge that ensures sufficient time to pass a budget for the remainder of the fiscal year, and to restore the operation of critical public services and programs that will be impacted by a lapse in appropriations.
Agencies should continue to closely monitor developments, and OMB will provide further guidance as appropriate. We greatly appreciate your cooperation and the work you and your agencies do on behalf of the American people.
Reacting to House GOP leadership's plan to go to conference with the Senate to negotiate the temporary government spending bill, Heritage Action president Michael Needham tweeted that it was a "stupid idea."
Congress thinking of moving negotiations off of cspan and into back room conference cmte? Stupid idea. #MakeDCListen
The House Rules Commitee will meet at 10:30 p.m. ET Monday to consider a rule that would allow House GOP leadership to request a conference to negotiate with Senate Democrats on the temporary government spending bill, a House Rules Committee aide told TPM.
House leadership makes the move with less than two hours until a government shutdown and an hour after the Senate rejected the House's latest anti-Obamacare provisions tied to the spending bill.
"It means we’re the reasonable, responsible actors trying to keep the process alive as the clock ticks past midnight, despite Washington Democrats refusal – thus far - to negotiate," a House GOP leadership aide told TPM.
UPDATE 10:53 p.m. ET:
House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy's office issued the following whip alert announcing a late-night vote on the above plan:
The House will follow regular order and consider a rule that adopts a motion insisting on our last amendment and requesting a conference with the Senate. This will send the CR, our amendment, and our request for a conference back to the Senate.
UPDATE 11:27 p.m. ET:
The House Rules Committee passed a resolution to to go to conference committee with the Senate.