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House Speaker John Boehner and other House Republicans hold press conference aimed at blaming President Obama for the sequester with a sign reading
Republicans now want to make the "#Obamaquester" permanent

You can come up with a million ways to to make the situation in Congress seem more subtle than this, but in every meaningful sense, we're in the exact same place today as we were last week and the week before and the week before that: Thanks to Republican hostage-taking, the most God-awful Congress in American history is still trying to figure out whether or not it wants to reopen government and whether or not it wants force a catastrophic default.

Reporters who cover the ins and outs of Congressional "deliberations" tell us that the focus has moved to the Senate where leaders are apparently frantically hitting refresh on

What started as a mad dash to strike a deal to lift the federal debt limit slowed to a crawl over the weekend as stalemated Senate leaders waited nervously to see whether financial markets would plunge Monday morning and drive the other side toward compromise.
But the fact remains that if Republicans would simply agree to take the shutdown and threat of default off the table, none of this would be happening. The Democratic position is the same that it's been all along: Congress should raise the debt limit to avoid default and it should reopen government to allow budget negotiations to continue. According to the New York Times, this represents a change in the position, however:
With a possible default on government obligations just days away, Senate Democratic leaders — believing they have a political advantage in the continuing fiscal impasse — refused Sunday to sign on to any deal that reopens the government but locks in budget cuts for next year. [...] The core of the dispute is about spending, and how long a stopgap measure that would reopen the government should last. Democrats want the across-the-board cuts known as sequestration to last only through mid-November; Republicans want them to last as long as possible.
The thing is, this is exactly where the Senate has been all along. They've already passed legislation that would keep the government open through mid-November, so saying they want to stick to that timeframe isn't moving the goalposts. Given that even the House's defund Obamacare bill only funded government through mid-December, the differences here really shouldn't be all that big—unless Republicans are trying to use the leverage of a shutdown threat to lock in sequester spending cuts.

Of course, debating how long a temporary funding bill should last is a pretty strange thing to be debating when the government has already been shut down for two weeks and we're staring at the potential for default. But let us not forget this simple fact: The Senate has already passed a clean bill reopening government; it is now sitting in the House of Representatives, collecting dust. They could vote on it today and government would reopen in five minutes, but House Speaker John Boehner refuses to bring it up. And last week, the Senate tried to vote on raising the debt ceiling to end the threat of a government default, but Senate Republicans used the filibuster to block that vote from coming up.

Democrats have one demand and one demand only: That in order to reopen the government and avoid default, Congress should reopen government and avoid default. Republicans, meanwhile, still can't decide what should be in their ransom note, and how hard they should fight for it. And time is running out.

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Comment Preferences

  •  sequester biting us in the ass? No one could have (24+ / 0-)

    predicted...oh wait.

    "A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves." Edward R. Murrow

    by temptxan on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 07:32:17 AM PDT

    •  Can the Saudis rescue the US? (0+ / 0-)

      Since the GOP elephant, blindfolded and goaded into madness by the Tea Party, is in stampede mode that will apparently going to lead the country (not to mention the world) off the default cliff, are there any potential rescuers out in there?  The Saudis, for instance, sit on sovereign wealth funds that are valued in the trillions.  Can the US tap into that resource, or continue to pay its obligations shifting its “collateral” from US bonds to Saudi oil-cash?

      I turn this question over to those who understand global finance, because I don’t.

      I'm not sixty-three—I'm fifty-thirteen!

      by Pragmatus on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 08:11:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  IMO, Repugs are getting what they want (well, what (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rabel, tb mare

      they want #2 after wanting to defund Obamacare crashed and burned) in that they've got Democrats at the "negotiating" table discussing gives and takes (sort of) in exchange for opening government and not defaulting.  What the f**k happened to our supposed firm stance of "we won't negotiate anything until government is open and the debt ceiling is raised"???  Dems had/have all the momentum and a huge PR advantage in all this, and yet here they are sitting at the table trying to have a reasonable conversation with psychopaths.  I continue to fail to understand why it is Democrats can't learn their lesson on "negotiating" with these psychotic Teahadists.  

      Why are Dems even sitting at this table???

  •  why 2014 will feature GOP defeats this is a (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Pragmatus, Matt Z

    gang that can't shoot straight(sic)

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 07:36:09 AM PDT

  •  If only Obama would just fall on his sword.....n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sybil Liberty
    •  i think that's what mccain was suggesting (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kpardue, tb mare, Matt Z

      when he berated Democrats yesterday on FTN, "If  their sole purpose is to humiliate republicans..." then surely it would follow that Obama should fall on his sword.

      forgetting that Republicans have existed for the past 6-7 years solely for the purpose of humiliating this president....beginning with john mccain's reference to his Dem presidential opponent as: "THAT one."

      Actually mccain, it was you who started the entire humiliation and that ignorant floozy.

      "sane and responsible" my arse

      get out of the kitchen

      "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

      by Sybil Liberty on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 08:23:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oddly, that is what he should do... (0+ / 0-)

      Just not the way Republicans would like it. Obama needs to recognize that he's got the people and his party at his back, and take the sort of drastic and aggressive action that will certainly prompt the Republican House to impeach him. He might as well face he's not going to get shit done with a Republican House bent on treason, and that wasting the next year on the circus of impeachment may not be noble, but it keeps the Republicans looking like clowns leading into the 2014 elections. Besides, a Democratic House for his last two years gives Obama the best hope for a building a legacy where the ACA is just one of his accomplishments.

      Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your shackles. It is by the picket line and direct action that true freedom will be won, not by electing people who promise to screw us less than the other guy.

      by rhonan on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 09:59:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Doesn't There Come A Point In Negotiations (11+ / 0-)

    When the police realize the hostage takers are getting desperate and that the whole thing is going to go in a violent direction unless they rush the building?

    The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

    by The Lone Apple on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 07:37:53 AM PDT

  •  Dems have to eat the sequester. (8+ / 0-)

    Were getting our just deserts for fucking up and negotiating in 2011. We need to move on to the 2014 election to fix that. Too late now.

    •  No (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The 2014 cuts are too devastating to just let that happen.

    •  And that's why it's arguable that it should (0+ / 0-)

      be called an "Obamaquester," but that doesn't mean that doing so helps Democrats win elections.  Or legislative battles.

      I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 08:06:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm sorry, but yes. (0+ / 0-)

      We do have to eat the sequester, at least for the duration of a clean CR. Because  the Dems have insisted repeatedly that they won't negotiate ANYTHING until a clean CR is passed, the government is reopened and the debt ceiling is lifted.  To now start demanding that the sequester be lifted in the CR would be to OPEN NEGOTIATIONS.  And we've said we won't negotiate!

    •  Reid is just bargaining, and doing it well (0+ / 0-)

      Demand now that the CR fund at pre-sequester levels, then agree to sequester levels at the last minute.  Obama could learn something from him.

      "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

      by Subterranean on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 09:53:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Let's see what the markets do today (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    so far they have been assuming things will be okay - today may be the breaking point.

  •  How the hell do I get out of this hole I dug?!?! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hillbilly Dem, Pragmatus, tb mare

    And I'm not taking a ladder from you either!

  •  Dow is down 73 points this morning. (4+ / 0-)

    If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

    by marykk on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 07:45:58 AM PDT

  •  Looking at the Obamaquester signs reminds me (11+ / 0-)

    why I despise the current virulent strain of Republicans and their voters.

    They break the government, make it impossible to do business there, create crises and crappy policy and then project and blame the President and Democrats, every single time.

    You have the majority in the House tea party GOP. What have you done with it?

    What the hell are you actually doing since you've been elected if the President and the Democrats are to blame for everything that comes out of your chamber?

    Do their voters ever ask what have you done for me lately other than screwing up government services and making it impossible for anyone else to govern?

    "I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of rights." (From "You Said a Mouthful" by Bishop Desmond Tutu - South African bishop & activist, b.1931)

    by FiredUpInCA on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 07:46:13 AM PDT

  •  Some very funny stuff here (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The hash is self-explanatory: #ShutdownHaiku

  •  Permanent shutdown is the goal of the Tea Party (8+ / 0-)

    all these reports of bad things happening from the government shutdown are benefits to the Tea Party types.

    The debt ceiling is another opportunity for them to drown the government in a bathtub.

    "The Obama Administration has been an unmitigated disaster" - Osama Bin Laden

    by Explorer8939 on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 07:48:15 AM PDT

  •  Hell, they can't even agree on who will (7+ / 0-)

    deliver the ransom note. A new face every day. NO leadership, anywhere.

    "I'm totally pro-choice in the matter of abortion. But of course I'm also so radically pro-life that I think every person from birth onward must have full and affordable access to healthcare." - Gail Collins

    by gritsngumbo on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 07:49:13 AM PDT

    •  Ryan is trying to 'lead from behind' but it's (3+ / 0-)

      clear that anyone who does end up in the "leadership" position, quickly gets whacked.  In the whack-a-mole sense.

      By design, this crisis is intended to go all the way.

      We WILL default on the 17th (or shortly thereafter).

      Despite some thing think that cooler heads will prevail, they won't.  They're specifically boxed out to prevent them from prevailing.

      Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
      I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
      —Spike Milligan

      by polecat on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 08:02:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  So The Market is watching Congress (13+ / 0-)

    and Congress is watching The Market?

    Just perfect.

  •  if this debacle (6+ / 0-)

    isn't a reason to take the reins of govt away from the gop then i don't know what is, defeat all republicans all the time.

  •  Today is the 14th - where's the discharge petition (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Let me guess -- no GOP votes.

    Cantor's whip action is still keeping them in line.

    Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
    I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
    —Spike Milligan

    by polecat on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 07:59:04 AM PDT

  •  Who (0+ / 0-)

    Paid for their sign, graphics and hashtag?

    Emerging from my binder......

    by dietcokehead98 on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 07:59:14 AM PDT

  •  If the Rethugs were serious about (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    wanting to show that they could be a governing party and and be competitive in national elections, they would end this nonsense now and move swiftly to pass Immigration Reform.

    They still have plenty of time before the mid-terms to shift gears and to behave responsibly, as the public as a short memory. But they are determined to dig their graves as a political party, and to drag the country into hell in the process.

    Nice . . .

  •  From what I gather from a quick survey of this (4+ / 0-)

    mornings news and Senator Collins' announcement, Democrats appear to be ready to agree to a repeal of the Medical Device Tax just to get a few months extension of the debt limit, and budget extension.

    Unless we replace the loss of $30 something billion for the ACA with an equivalent addition of closing the oil tax loopholes the Republicans will have whipped our butts once again.

    Rumors are that with these extensions grants, and the "gun no longer to our heads" we will agree to the previous Obama offer of trading  chained CPI for Medicare  

    At which point, many are expecting that we Democrats will agree to means testing Medicare, and chained CPI for easing of sequestration - most likely the defense budget half of it.  

    If so, I will be disgusted.  After we've shown the first minimally competent negotiating backbone in over a decade, let's not blow it once again at the last minute with Biden swooping in to make major unnecessary concessions.

    I could support replacing the Medical Device Tax with equivalent revenue from closing oil industry tax, or any other remotely progressive revenue, however, just repealing the MDT will be another major chink in ACA funding that, bit-by-bit, makes a much less attractive program to the public.  I just read a few days ago that sometime in the last year, we Dems agreed to reducing the funding for one attractive feature funding services to the poorest from $6 billion to 2 billion, pretty much undermining that benefit.

    When our we going to stop snatching defeat from the jaws of victory?  I've been so demoralized  that I haven't written but one or two post since, after being last years most frequent monthly contributor for over six months in a row.

    Please Democrats.  Do not turn this into a victory for the Tea Party and GOP.  

    The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HoundDog on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 08:03:38 AM PDT

  •  Good gravy, guys, this is terrible framing. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    orlbucfan, polecat, kpardue, Mistral Wind

    Our front page has a picture of Boehner standing under a sign that says "Obamaquester?"

    And then we use the word again in the article?

    And hell, I just used it again, but I had to point it out somehow. ;-)

    I mean, I can see where one could make the argument that Obama is responsible for the sequester, but I'm surprised the front page wants to spread that meme.

    I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 08:05:14 AM PDT

  •  Evaluating "Congress" as a whole doesn't (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    seem like a meaningful poll to me.  Congress is right now a toxic mixture of outstanding and dedicated public servants on our side and a lot of whackos that are are destructive on the other side.  Seems all polls should ask more specific questions, I think they will find much stronger support for elected Dems.

  •  It's Becoming Obvious (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mathGuyNTulsa, Pragmatus

    The unspoken truth...

    Republicans ARE going to go pass the Debt Limit.
    This is the plan..

    Lucy is about to take the ball away from those Charlie Browns (the American Public) . Remember THEY want their America back. I mean THEY PAID for it .. right?

    All weekend , if you looked at most Democrats speak...No one spoke of the worse case scenario that Republicans have put us in. TRUE COLLAPSE.. America losing its reserve currency status . the bedrock of global capitalism.

    Republicans can't be upset about debt and deficits...the US deficit is going down thanks to a Draconian Budget Deal (the sequester)

    This is Politic theater at its best and a Farce at its worse.

    They accuse OBAMA of pal-ing around with terrorist, implicating ALL democrats by the way. Now we have negotiations with Political Anarchist and the heated Rhetoric drives division among those affected by the entire mess.

    The Media is treating both sides like honorable men and women.

    I guess when you have a gun to my head. you may start to sound reasonable. but that's just me.

    Keep It Real Folks

  •  Isn't this paying the hostage takers (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pragmatus, tb mare

    that's what CNN sounds like about now...bunch of "deals" going down.

  •  does any public interest org (0+ / 0-)

    think Eric Cantor should/could/would be liable to civil law cases
    because of the rule change Sept 30 to thwart vote for a HR clean CR bill which they knew they had enough votes to keep the government open...

    Eric Cantor has to be liable has to be!

    GOP use a trick that works.They tell their base that the media and institutions of learning favor liberals, and in doing so, "attacks" on GOP are perceived as false and stemming from so-called liberalism. This trick has important consequences.

    by anyname on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 08:10:37 AM PDT

  •  Historical Note: 36th Congress was really bad (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Linkie here.  The Know Nothings held the balance of power, and the Democrats had split over the admission of Kansas as a slave or free state, so the Democrats had virtually become two parties, a northern party and a southern party.  As no party had a majority, the House was unable to elect a speaker throughout 1859, Republican William Pennington was eventually selected in February 1860 with Know Nothing and Northern Democrat support.  That Congress did nothing before the secession crisis to stop secession or the coming Civil War.  After the first 7 southern states seceded and their congressman departed, the rump Congress finally admitted Kansas as a free state.

    "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, now we know that it is bad economics." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jan. 20, 1937

    by Navy Vet Terp on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 08:12:52 AM PDT

  •  No one is actually DRIVING the GOP bus. (0+ / 0-)

    Mr. Bus is sad, and doesn't fit on Romney's new carport.

    Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
    I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
    —Spike Milligan

    by polecat on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 08:13:02 AM PDT

  •  If we don't default, there are probably people who (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    midnight lurker

    know for a fact that we won't default.  Don't you know they will make a killing when the stock market drops and they can buy cheap, knowing it will be back up in days?

    Blue, blue, my world is blue...

    by ZedMont on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 08:15:50 AM PDT

    •  Betcherass! n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      "A famous person once said, 'You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time.' But as I once said, "If you don't teach them to read, you can fool them whenever you like." – Max Headroom

      by midnight lurker on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 08:31:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Here's what I heard today on a news brief: (0+ / 0-)

    "Senate Republicans are complaining that Democrats are moving the goalposts by adding changes to the sequester and are saying that changes to the sequester shouldn't be part of the debt ceiling negotiations"

    Can it be that Reid is moving the goalposts so far left that Republicans will soon be demanding a CLEAN CR?  Like the one in the House that the Senate passed?

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 09:00:16 AM PDT

  •  time to stop the gop bullshit now (0+ / 0-)

    pass a clean cr and debt ceiling increase

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Riane Eisler

    by noofsh on Mon Oct 14, 2013 at 12:26:36 PM PDT

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