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 email@example.com.
Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) said Sunday that a federal government shutdown would probably be a "loser" for the Republican party.
“I think everybody agrees that this is a loser for us if the government shuts down,” Labrador said on Meet The Press. “That’s why I think the president and the Democrats want to shut down the government.”
A shutdown looked increasingly likely Sunday. The House passed Saturday a spending bill that would delay Obamacare for one year and repeal its medical device tax. Senate Democratic leadership has already said it's dead on arrival.
If, as expected, the Senate tables the House's Obamacare amendments Monday and sends a clean spending bill back to the House, there will be mere hours until the federal shuts down Tuesday.
“Let’s be really honest about this. The other side would like to see Republicans in trouble in 2014," Labrador said. "The other side wants to make sure that they’re not even willing to meet us halfway.”
Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) said Sunday that the upcoming fight over raising the debt ceiling shouldn't be focused on Obamacare.
Asked by Meet The Press host David Gregory if defaulting on the national debt was worth doing over Obamacare, Labrador said: "Not over Obamacare."
"I have always told my leadership that I want the fight on the debt ceiling to be about debt, about spending, not about Obamacare," Labrador said. "Some people disagree with me."
The House GOP leadership's demands for raising the debt ceiling, released last week, included a one-year delay of Obamacare. Senate Democratic leadership and the White House have consistently said that they won't negotiate over the debt ceiling.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said Sunday that the House and Senate should go to conference with the government spending bill bouncing between the two chambers.
"Why don't we have a conference committee on this?" Paul said on CBS's Face the Nation. 'We could appoint one today and have one tomorrow to hash out the difference."
Rather than go to conference, the chambers have been sending amended spending bills back and forth over the last week. The House passed a bill that defunded Obamacare; the Senate stripped the defund language and sent a clean bill back to the House. The House then passed Saturday a bill that would delay Obamacare for a year; Senate leaders have already said that it is dead on arrival in the Senate.
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) said that the Senate has wanted to take a spending bill to conference for months, but hasn't been able to get House Republicans to agree to it.
"We've been trying for more than six months to get Republicans to approve a conference committee on the budget," Durbin said on the program.
The federal government will shut down Tuesday unless Congress agrees to a new spending bill.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) asserted Sunday that he didn't compare those skeptical of his defund Obamacare effort to Nazi appeasers during his 21-hour quasi-filibuster last week.
"The premise of your question isn't true. I didn't make that comparison," Cruz said when asked by Meet The Press host David Gregory if he regretted the comments. "I went through the centuries where, over and over again, when facing big challenges, Americans have risen to the occasion... At every stage, there were the voices of conventional wisdom that said this can't be done, and every time, Americans have risen to the challenge."
Here's what Cruz said Tuesday during his floor speech, as TPM reported.
"If you go to the 1940s, Nazi Germany," Cruz said. "Look, we saw in Britain, Neville Chamberlain, who told the British people, 'Accept the Nazis. Yes, they'll dominate the continent of Europe but that's not our problem. Let's appease them. Why? Because it can't be done. We can't possibly stand against them.'"
"And in America there were voices that listened to that," he continued. "I suspect those same pundits who say it can't be done, if it had been in the 1940s we would have been listening to them. Then they would have made television. They would have gotten beyond carrier pigeons and beyond letters and they would have been on TV and they would have been saying, 'You cannot defeat the Germans.'"
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) sought Sunday to lay the blame on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) if the government shuts down Tuesday.
"His position is 100 percent of Obamacare must be funded in all instances and other than that, he's going to shut the government down," Cruz said on Meet The Press. "I hope he back away from that ledge that he's pushing us toward."
Cruz also portrayed the spending bill passed Saturday by the House -- which would delay Obamacare for one year and repeal its medical device -- as a compromise, compared to the first bill that the House passed, which defunded the law.
The Senate rejected the House's first bill, and Senate leadership has pledged to turn down the bill passed Saturday.
"If we have a shutdown, it will only be because Harry Reid says: 'I refuse even to talk'," Cruz said. "What have Democrats compromised on? Nothing."
Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) explained to the Washington Examiner this weekend why she and some other House conservatives don't fear a government shutdown.
The bottom line is: They think this is their chance to stop Obamacare.
"There is a very large group of us who believe that this is it, this isn't just another year, this isn't just another CR fight," Bachmann told the Examiner's Byron York. "This is historic, and it's a historic shift that's about to happen, and if we're going to fight, we need to fight now."
"This isn't just another bill," Bachmann said. "This isn't load limits on turnip trucks that we're talking about. This is consequential. And I think the reason why you've come to this flash point is that this is an extremely consequential bill that will impact every American, and that's why you have such passionate opinions. And we're not giving up and we're not caving in that easily."
Bachmann also dismissed concerns about congressional brinksmanship, which some contend has a negative effect on the U.S. economy.
"I don't get upset about brinksmanship," she said. "That's what negotiation is. I was a federal tax lawyer. That's all I did -- negotiation. And in negotiation, you usually don't get anywhere until the final five minutes, and then everybody realizes OK, we're going to have to break and actually make this thing happen. That's how negotiation works."
Former President Bill Clinton told ABC News Sunday that President Barack Obama shouldn't allow any changes to Obamacare in exchange for House Republicans raising the debt ceiling.
"There's nothing to negotiate with. He shouldn't delay the health care bill. It's the law and we're opening the enrollment on October 1. We're ready," Clinton said on This Week. "They're in better shape now than the country was to implement President Bush's drug program, which everybody's forgotten. Go back and look at the polls, even more unpopular than health care reform is now."
House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said on Fox News Sunday that any government spending bill passed by the House will have "fundamental changes" to the Affordable Care Act.
Pressed by host Chris Wallace about how the House would respond if the Senate rejected the bill passed Saturday night by the House -- which would delay Obamacare for a year and repeal its medical device tax -- McCarthy said the House had "a few other options" about how else to alter the law.
Senate Democratic leadership has pledged to reject the House bill, likely sending a clean spending bill back to the House on Monday with mere hours to go before the federal government shuts down.
"We will pass a bill that will keep the government open, that will reflect the House, that I believe the Senate can accept, that will have fundamental changes to Obamacare," McCarthy said. So the House won't pass a clean spending bill? "There will be additions," he said.
National Review Online reported Saturday that House leadership was considering the so-called Vitter amendment, which would strip Obamacare subsidies for federal officials and their staff, as an 11th hour option for the spending bill.
A senior Senate Democratic aide told TPM that it is "highly unlikely" that the chamber will return earlier than 2 p.m. Monday, as originally planned, even as the House appears likely to pass a new government spending bill on Saturday.
"There is no change in plans on timing. We will wait and see, but it's highly unlikely we return before Monday," the aide said. "We are not playing games. House Republicans' only way out is to pass the Senate's clean CR or shut down the government."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) reiterated that the new House bill, which would delay Obamacare for a year and repeal its medical device tax, would not be passed by the Senate.
After President Obama reiterated that House Republicans should pass a spending bill and give up their effort to stop Obamacare, House Speaker John Boehner's office chastised the president for "grandstanding."
“The House will take action that reflects the fundamental fact that Americans don’t want a government shutdown and they don’t want the train wreck that is Obamacare," Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said in a statement. "Grandstanding from the president, who refuses to even be a part of the process, won’t bring Congress any closer to a resolution.”
Boehner's press office also noted, after Obama also announced he had held a historic phone call with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, that the president had not called Boehner this week.