October 16, 2013
National Journal has updates on the deal to end the government shutdown and suspend the debt ceiling. Read below or click here for the latest.
UPDATE (10:30 p.m.): Confusion on the Floor
A House stenographer made an outburst during the vote, and was then dragged off the floor and yelling about "a house divided," members are saying. She was reportedly speaking about God. Members of Congress and staff on the floor were visibly confused and shaken.
The House stenographer, as she was being put into the elevators after being escorted off the House floor, yelled:
"This is not one nation under God, if it were the constitution wouldn't have been it wouldn't been written by Free Masons."
"You cannot serve two masters."
The audio from the floor is here from NPR's Todd Zwillich. (By Elahe Izadi)
UPDATE (10:16 p.m.): The Vote Is Over
The vote is now over in the House, 285-144.
Eighty-seven Republicans voted in favor of the bill, 144 voted against it. All Democrats who voted voted in favor of the bill. Earlier in the day, House Republicans were expecting more like 60 votes in favor, so even though it's not a majority, 87 isn't a bad showing. So much for the Hastert Rule.
One notable no: Rep. Paul Ryan, per Tim Alberta. (By Matt Berman)
UPDATE (10:12 p.m.): The House Passes the Bill
The vote is still happening, but based on the informal C-SPAN count, there are 220 yea votes. Which puts this over the edge, despite a large number of Republican nays. It's over. (By Matt Berman)
UPDATE (9:55 p.m.): House Ends Debate, Moves Onto the Vote
The vote'll take 15 minutes.
UPDATE (9:21 p.m.): The House Is In
Here we go. Onto the last leg of the evening...
The House has decided to hurry things up a bit by not sending the Senate bill through the Rules Committee. The rule was passed by unanimous consent. Now we're onto an hour of debate before the final vote. (By Matt Berman)
UPDATE (9:16 p.m.): The Congressional Budget Office Weighs In
The CBO is out now with an estimate of the Senate-passed deal. You can get all the spending details here.
UPDATE (8:46 p.m.): Here's What Happens Next
House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions expects the bill, now passed by the Senate, to hit the House floor at 9:30 p.m. From there, there could be an hour of debate before a vote. Which brings us to right around the 11:00 p.m. estimate. Finally, the bill goes to meet Obama's pen.
And tomorrow, in case you want to plan out your life after midnight? The White House has just announced that the president will deliver a statement at 10:35 a.m. (By Elahe Izadi and Matt Berman)
UPDATE (8:28 p.m.): Obama: Thanks for the Deal, Now Let Me Sign It
At a statement from the White House, the president thanked the leaders of both parties, saying he'd sign the deal "immediately" once it gets to his desk. "Hopefully next time, it won't be in the eleventh hour. We've got to get out of the habit of governing by crisis."
He said that there's "a lot of work ahead of us," including gaining back recently lost trust, but he'll speak more on this tomorrow.
Obama again suggested that, "with the shutdown behind us," the U.S. has the opprotunity to focus on not just a "sensible" budget, but also immigration reform and a farm bill.
Some people, like CNN's John King, think that Obama making a statement before the House votes could cost him some votes. We'll soon see. (By Matt Berman)
UPDATE (8:20 p.m.): Obama's Coming
The president will issue a statment from the press room in five minutes. Kinda overshadows the Democratic press conference that's currently going on. It's also not quite clear why the president is talking before the House votes. (By Matt Berman)
UPDATE (8:07 p.m.): The Senate Passes the Deal
The bill passed 81-18. Next up: the House.
UPDATE (7:55 p.m.): The Senate Votes for Cloture
The Senate voted for cloture, 83-16. The no votes, all Republicans, in no particular order:
David Vitter, Ted Cruz, Ron Johnson, Mike Lee, Pat Roberts, Pat Toomey, Marco Rubio, John Cornyn, Richard Shelby, Rand Paul, Dean Heller, Pete Sessions, Mike Enzi, Jim Risch, Mike Crapo, and Chuck Grassley.
Jim Inhofe did not vote.
The most notable no here is Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, the lone member of the Senate GOP leadership voting against cloture. Cornyn is the Senate Minority Whip. On the other hand, the most notable yes may be Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., who replaced Jim DeMint when DeMint left to lead Heritage. Heritage, through it's Heritage Action group, was very much opposed to this deal. (By Matt Berman)
UPDATE (7:33 p.m.): The Senate Is Voting Now. Really!
The Senate is currently voting for cloture. It's a 15 minute vote. From here, there will be another 15 minute vote on the bill itself.
UPDATE (7:30 p.m.): Sen. Patty Murray Starts the Ball on the Budget Conference
The Washington Democrat asked for unanimous consent to set up a bicameral budget conference with a report due by December 13 if the Reid-McConnell plan passes through Congress. There was no objection to the request.
After that, Harry Reid began the process to get to a vote on the bill, starting with a vote for cloture to cut off debate. (By Matt Berman)
UPDATE (7:23 p.m.): The Senate Votes Are Coming
Voting in the Senate is set to start in the next 10-15 minutes, according to a Senate Democratic leadership aide. (By Elahe Izadi)
UPDATE (7:20 p.m.): There's Some Pork Hiding in the Deal
BuzzFeed's John Stanton has dug through the full text of the Reid-McConnell plan and found some treats for the Republican leader. According to Stanton, the bill features a provision that would send nearly $3 billion in funding to the Army Corps of Engineers for a dam and lock project that would benefit Kentucky, Tennessee, and Illinois. Mitch McConnell, of course, is facing some tough competition in his Kentucky reelection race.
Over at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Jamie Dupree finds some more interesting bits from the bill, including a $174,000 death benefit for the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg's wife. Dupree also reports that the dam and lock project didn't come from McConnell's office—at least according to McConnell's office. (By Matt Berman)
UPDATE (7:08 p.m.): Chuck Schumer: "Leader McConnell Stood Up For the Good of the Nation"
The New York Democrat took the floor after Cruz and paid tribute to both Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell. "We have seen that a small faction, in either house, when it says 'my way or no way,' when it says 'I am going to do such hurt to innocent people that you will have to succumb to me,' we saw they failed. Hopefully with large, bipartisan votes."
Schumer said that the "silver lining in this cloud" is that maybe now, after this, "we can go back to the old way of legislating." (By Matt Berman)
UPDATE (6:56 p.m.): Ted Cruz: "This Deal Embodies Everything About the Washington Establishment that Frustrates the American People"
Coming to the Senate floor Wednesday night, Cruz knocked the Reid-McConnell deal as "terrible," largely replaying his previous lines on Obamacare, and its effects on premiums, seniors, and single mothers. Again, Cruz cited Jimmy Hoffa and the Teamsters.
"Today, the United States Senate is saying: you don't have a voice in Washington," Cruz said. "This is a terrible deal."
Cruz also knocked Senate Republicans for not standing united with House Republicans "against the train-wreck that is Obamacare." Cruz said that it is "heartbreaking" that Senate Republicans directed their "cannon-fire" at House Republicans.
But, Cruz wanted to end on an encouraging note for his supporters."Washington is broken, but the answers are going to come from the American people."
"This is a terrible deal today, but it is a terrible deal for the American people...but we're going to turn this around."
(By Matt Berman)
UPDATE (6:47 p.m.): What's Happening in the Senate?
The vote is so far taking a bit longer to happen then was previously thought. But senators are now back on the floor, with Saxby Chambliss, R-Georgia, currently speaking on, of all things, how to process terrorists.
We should be getting there... (By Matt Berman)
UPDATE (5:56 p.m.): Full Text of the Plan to End the Shutdown and Raise the Debt Ceiling
Read it all here.
UPDATE (4:08 p.m.): House GOP Leadership To Vote For the Deal
While many House conservatives are still expected to oppose the Senate's plan, more Republicans than had been anticipated earlier in the day are now expected to help pass it.
During a closed-door meeting of House Republicans Wednesday afternoon, all of the House GOP elected leadership team said they would vote for the measure. That's different from the fiscal cliff package that Boehner allowed on the House floor on New Year's, when both Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., undercut the speaker by bolting and voting against the measure.
That measure passed, anyhow, with most Democrats joining some Republicans in support.
On Wednesday night, as many as 60 House Republicans are expected to back the Senate debt-ceiling package, including Cantor and McCarthy. And House Democrats say they will be joined by nearly all of the members of their 200-member caucus—meaning there will likely be more than enough votes to pass the bill.
In the afternoon closed-door meeting with rank-and-file Republicans, Boehner was given a standing ovation, and members said he told them, essentially, "we will live to fight another day." (By Billy House)
UPDATE (3:47 p.m.): Heritage Action: Vote Against the Senate Plan
Well, this seemed bound to happen. After key-voting yesterday's failed House GOP plan, the influential Heritage Action group has key voted the new Senate plan. They're calling on Congress to vote no:
"Unfortunately, the proposed deal will do nothing to stop Obamacare's massive new entitlements from taking root—radically changing the nature of American health care."
Heritage Action joins the Club For Growth in opposition to the plan. It may not stop the plan from going through, but it makes it more likely that Boehner won't be able to bring a majority of his caucus with him in passing it. (By Matt Berman)
UPDATE (3:33 p.m.): Speaker Boehner Makes It Press Statement Official
The speaker will allow a vote in the House on the Senate bill, according to a new statement out this afternoon. Here it is in full, with our emphasis:
"The House has fought with everything it has to convince the president of the United States to engage in bipartisan negotiations aimed at addressing our country's debt and providing fairness for the American people under ObamaCare. That fight will continue. But blocking the bipartisan agreement reached today by the members of the Senate will not be a tactic for us. In addition to the risk of default, doing so would open the door for the Democratic majority in Washington to raise taxes again on the American people and undo the spending caps in the 2011 Budget Control Act without replacing them with better spending cuts. With our nation's economy still struggling under years of the president's policies, raising taxes is not a viable option. Our drive to stop the train wreck that is the president's health care law will continue. We will rely on aggressive oversight that highlights the law's massive flaws and smart, targeted strikes that split the legislative coalition the president has relied upon to force his health care law on the American people."
UPDATE (3:25 p.m.): GOP Congressman on Tea Partiers: "I'm Not Sure They're Republicans"
Rep. Charles Boustany, R-Lou., bashed the tea party wing of his party on Wednesday.
"There are members with a different agenda," Boustany told National Journal. "And I'm not sure they're Republicans and I'm not sure they're conservative." You can read the full story here from Shane Goldmacher.
UPDATE (3:19 p.m.): House Democrats Feeling Pretty, Pretty Good
After a caucus meeting, House Democrats say they expect total unity on the Senate deal once it reaches the House. It's "approaching unanimity," says Rep. Steve Israel. (By Elahe Izadi)
UPDATE (3:15 p.m.): John Boehner Does Radio
The House speaker went on a Cincinnati radio show this afternoon to talk about the deal, and what he's thinking. "We fought the good fight," he told 700WLW, "we just didn't win." Boehner said that he's pushing House Republicans to vote for the Senate plan, and he'll bring the bill for a vote in the House. (By Matt Berman)
UPDATE (3:00 p.m.): The House's Plan
The Reid-McConnell deal is expected to reach the House Rules Committee by about 7:00 p.m. From there, the House hopes to vote on it before midnight. So, could be a long night, even if it's not quite as tense now that there's a plan in place. (By Billy House and Matt Berman)
UPDATE (2:40 p.m.): What to Expect for the Rest of Today
Updated plans are for the Senate to now vote first on the deal as early as Wednesday afternoon or early evening.
The House is to follow with a vote in the evening, and then the measure would be sent to the president—all of that occurring within just hours before the administration's Thursday deadline for hiking the nation's $16.7 trillion borrowing cap.
Under an earlier strategy hatched by Senate and House leaders, House leaders had been planning to vote first on the measure as a way around some of the procedural hurdles that could have been put up in the Senate.
Helping to smooth the way for the Senate to be able to take that initial action was Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., who told reporters Wednesday that he would not attempt to block the measure. (By Billy House)
UPDATE (2:16 p.m.): Club For Growth: Don't Vote For This Deal
The Club For Growth has issued a "key vote" on the Reid-McConnell deal. They're a no:
"This announced plan, the details of which aren't completely known, appears to have little to no reforms in it. There are no significant changes to ObamaCare, nothing on the other major entitlements that are racked with trillions in unfunded liabilities, and no meaningful spending cuts either. If this bill passes, Congress will kick the can down the road, yet again."
Heritage Action had key voted Tuesday's House GOP plan as a no, but they haven't come out with a statement on the latest deal. House conservatives were already likely to largely vote against the Reid-McConnell plan, but this move from the Club For Growth just makes going against leadership a bit easier. (By Matt Berman)
UPDATE (1:41 p.m.): Cruz Won't Block Senate Deal, Won't Budge on Obamacare Either
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said in a press conference Wednesday that he would not fight a Senate deal to end the shutdown and raise the debt ceiling. He's not happy about it though, because its devoid of evidence of his efforts to defund the Affordable Care Act, a fight that precipitated the shutdown. "The fight against Obamacare must continue in the face of Washington's apathy," he said in a later statement. "That is where my attention will remain focused." The government shutdown may have erased any leverage Republicans had to weaken health care reform, but it doesn't sound like Cruz is willing to admit defeat. (By Marina Koren)
UPDATE (1:09 p.m.): House GOP Calls Afternoon Meeting in Capitol Basement
House Republican leadership has called for a 3 p.m. closed-doors conference meeting this afternoon in the Capitol basement. He is expected to explain why and how he intends to allow a floor vote on a Senate-prepared plan to end the shutdown and lift the debt ceiling.
Meanwhile, hundreds of House conservatives are currently huddled in the Capitol Visitor Center for the weekly meeting of the Republican Study Committee. In a rare move, RSC leadership removed staffers from the room shortly after the meeting began so there could be a candid discussion among members, according to aides present.
Several RSC members have already stated that they will oppose today's House vote on the Senate plan to reopen government and raise the debt ceiling. But today's RSC meeting, members say, is less about strategizing for that vote and more about how to move forward. (By Tim Alberta and Billy House)
UPDATE (1:07 p.m.): Obama to Congress: Act Fast
The White House applauded the Reid-McConnell agreement Wednesday and urged both houses to approve it to move the nation away from the brink of default. Press secretary Jay Carney said President Obama believes the agreement will reopen the government and remove the threat of economic brinkmanship. The president encourages the Congress to act swiftly, Carney said.
After repeatedly insisting the president would not pay ransom to end the shutdown, Carney said the president does not object to the income verification provision in the agreement. "We're fine with it," said Carney, calling it a "modest adjustment." "Ransom would be a wholly different thing," he said. (By George Condon)
UPDATE (12:35 p.m.): Speaker John Boehner, Hero?
Whether Speaker John Boehner will ultimately face the wrath of hard-line members of his Republican conference for allowing a vote on the Senate-prepared bill to resolve the debt ceiling and government shutdown is open for debate.
But Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth of Kentucky is among those providing glowing endorsements.
"Today, he is my hero," said Yarmuth, standing outside of the House chamber. (By Billy House)
UPDATE (12:17 p.m.): Reid and McConnell Take the Floor to Introduce Compromise
It's never easy to get a deal, the majority leader said as he took the floor. "This time was really hard." But, all the same, here it comes.
Reid announced a conference committee led by Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Paul Ryan that would help to "chart a course for economic growth" with a long-term budget agreement that would "prevent these frequent crises."
Mitch McConnell followed Reid, saying that it's been a long couple weeks for the nation and Congress, but that they've now "put some of those most urgent issues behind us." McConnell said the deal was "far less than many of us had hoped for," but it is still better than what others had sought.
UPDATE (12:16 p.m.): Ted Cruz Won't Block the Deal
Asked if he would block it, he said "of course not." So there you have it. This obviously makes passage much simpler in the Senate.
UPDATE (12:15 p.m.): Next Step for the House? After a Vote, Everyone Goes Home
After passing the Senate's bill to reopen government and lift the debt ceiling, House GOP leaders will allow members to adjourn for the rest of the week—and possibly into early next week—according to congressional aides familiar with the plans.
Speaker John Boehner and his lieutenants will hold-off on releasing members to leave Washington until after the Senate follows the House in also passing the measure. That's just in case some last-second change force the bill to get sent back Wednesday night.
But once that happens, House members will be given the green light to leave—and get started on spinning what's just happened to constituents back home in their districts.
Before the Senate-prepared debt ceiling and government funding bill can arrive on the House floor for a vote, it must first see the measure go through the House Rules Committee. According to congressional aides familiar with the plan, the committee is expected to pass the rule setting the floor procedures in a "voice vote."
The House will then take a previous version of a House resolution—and disapprove of previous Senate amendments. Then, it will substitute for those a new amendment, which in essence will be the plan worked out are what Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.,have just worked out.
After passage, the bill will be sent to the Senate, passed there, and then is expected to be signed by the president. (By Billy House)
UPDATE (12:03 p.m.): The Senate Is In
Sen. Harry Reid has taken the floor and is waiting on Mitch McConnell before speaking more on their debt-ceiling deal. In the meantime, Reid paid tribute to the Senate chaplain before calling for a roll to buy some time. Oh, and C-SPAN 2 is playing some trumpet. (By Matt Berman)
UPDATE (12:00 p.m.): Even With a Deal, the Damage Has Been Done
Deal or no deal, the country is already paying a price for Congress' brinkmanship, and it's being done to the country's most valuable financial asset: the world's full faith in its credit. Read more here from Patrick Reis.
UPDATE (11:50 a.m.): John Boehner's Speakership Could Be Safe
That's even if he puts the Senate plan on the floor without getting a majority of Republicans to vote for it. House conservative Rep. Raul Labrador said this morning that he is "really proud" of Boehner, and that he has "nothing to worry about right now."
Part of the reason for that? House conservatives may catch a break with the new deal. They get to vote no on the plan, and they don't have to have the weight of a default crisis hanging on them as a consequence.
And as Matt Vasilogambros writes, worries over Boehner's speakership in the past have all been for naught. So far at least, he's proven to be quite resilient. (By Matt Berman and Billy House)
UPDATE (11:35 a.m.): Reid and McConnell to Take the Senate Floor at Noon
In just about a half an hour, the two Senate leaders will speak on the floor about their deal, according to a GOP Senate aide. (By Michael Catalini)
UPDATE (11:24 a.m.): Could the Senate Deal End the Debt-Ceiling Crises?
The deal that the Senate is now getting set to roll out would include language for a "resolution of disapproval" that would allow Congress to disapprove of a debt-ceiling increase, as opposed to approving of one like it does now. That would mean that, as long as the debt-limit increase is not explicitly disapproved by both chambers with a veto-proof majority, the debt-limit would increase.
It's a plan that was originally floated in 2011 by Mitch McConnell, and it's been more recently advocated for by Democrats like Sen. Barbara Boxer. If it goes through and becomes a permanent part of future debt-ceiling deals, it could mean the end of this crisis-cycle.
You can read more details on the Senate deal here. (By Billy House and Matt Berman)
UPDATE (11:00 a.m.): Will Anyone (Read: Ted Cruz) Object to the Deal in the Senate?
The question was put to Rand Paul. His response: "people are ready to vote." (By Matt Berman)
UPDATE (10:39 a.m.): GOP Senator: Deal Is Set
This from the AP:
BREAKING: Republican senator says a bipartisan deal is in hand to reopen government and avoid a default.— The Associated Press (@AP) October 16, 2013
UPDATE (10:35 a.m.): House GOP Leadership Is Meeting Now
In the Speaker's office. (By Matt Berman)
UPDATE (10:22 a.m.): How Real Is the October 17 Deadline?
If there's no deal to raise the debt-limit by tomorrow, the Treasury Department will no longer be able to borrow money and be left with about $30 billion in cash-on-hand. That doesn't mean that the U.S. will automatically default come Thursday. Part of the reason for that is just the calendar:
Tomorrow is hardly a "deadline" pic.twitter.com/yCOPPks5xd— Steven Perlberg (@stevenperlberg) October 16, 2013
The real potential for a default crisis kicks in around the end of the month, with nearly $60 billion in payments due to be made on November 1.
But just because the U.S. won't default on Thursday doesn't mean hitting tomorrow's deadline won't be deeply problematic. The credit rating agency Fitch already has the U.S.'s AAA rating under negative review, and hitting that deadline could push markets over the edge and create even more economic uncertainty. Most of Congress, the Obama administration, and many big-time financial investors view October 17 as a serious deadline. That alone would make a breach economically dangerous. (By Matt Berman)
October 16, 2013