No-Negotiate Obama Enters Second Week of Shutdown Standoff

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Charles Dharapak / AP

President Barack Obama speaks during an interview with the Associated Press in the White House library on Oct. 4, 2013

On the first weekend of the shutdown, President Obama was nowhere to be seen. There were no calls or meetings at the White House, as surrogates flooded Twitter and television in his stead. Not even the still open Andrews Golf Course enticed him.

For seven days the federal government has been closed, and for seven days Obama has refused to negotiate with House Republicans. He’s cloistered himself in the White House as the GOP takes a lashing in the press and across the country, emerging only to fan the flames.

“I’m happy to have negotiations but we can’t do it with a gun held to the head of the American people,” Obama told reporters on Friday, as he took a casual stroll for sandwiches with the Vice President. In the President’s view, Republicans, of course, are the ones holding the guns.

(MORE: Boehner: No End to Government Shutdown Without Concessions)

The no-negotiating position is a dramatic reversal from the White House’s tone during the tortured debt-limit fight in 2011 that never truly ended. For weeks, Administration officials and congressional leaders conducted negotiations on multiple tracks — big deals, small deals, grand bargains. They fell apart, and Obama gave away the store to Republicans in an attempt to protect a fragile recovery 16 months before his re-election, including the 5% cut to the discretionary-spending budget known as “sequestration.” Democrats howled, but Obama kept off another debt-limit fight until after Election Day.

Administration officials say Obama came away from that experience burned, and emboldened by turning the tables on Speaker of the House John Boehner during last year’s postelection fiscal-cliff negotiations. He no longer believes Boehner can credibly cut a deal, despite private assurances to his members that he won’t let the nation risk being unable to meet its financial obligations.

In the short term, Obama is convinced, and polls confirm, that Republicans will bear the brunt of the blame for closing the government. Republicans, meanwhile, have been using Obama’s hard-line position to try to even the score, forcing Democrats to vote against — and the White House to threaten to veto — continuing resolutions to selectively reopen popular government programs. Boehner has lambasted the President for not negotiating. (In some ways, this Obama-won’t-negotiate talking point has been easier to deliver than the White House’s latest argument that Boehner could simply reopen the government today if he allowed a vote on a clean funding measure.) Republicans are highlighting the national-park closings and the other popular programs that are on hold. But those efforts are a drop in the bucket compared with the overwhelming blame they are taking on in the process.

(MORE: Three Not-So-Crazy Ways Out of the Debt-Ceiling Crisis)

But Republicans believe ultimately, the potential downside for Obama is far worse than for Republicans, albeit in the long run. Default, or even the specter of default, will eventually send the financial markets into another tailspin, almost certainly slowing the economy yet again under Obama’s watch.

Democrats privately acknowledge that at some point Obama will be forced to the table once Republicans’ backs are against the deadline, but that the no-negotiations line is itself a negotiating position.

There is some precedent to the White House’s strategy. In July, in which several of Obama’s nominees were held up by Republican filibusters, Senate majority leader Harry Reid repeatedly threatened to change Senate rules through the so-called “nuclear option” unless Republicans allowed all of Obama’s nominees a vote. After weeks of tough talk and with the GOP squirming to avoid a rules change, Reid cut a favorable deal that gave him less than everything he wanted.

MORE: Without Negotiating, Obama and Boehner Eye Big Deal

362 comments
starman
starman

I think Boehner and his supporters in the House are trying to overthrow the government by any means necessary; as a consequence they are relishing shutting down the government, and refusing to honor the commitments they made thus causing the nation to default; this will increase the costs of borrowing, and so increasing the debt further. Such irresponsible actions and inactions will damage the country, perhaps irreparably. They cover this sedition by claiming they want to  "negotiate" an unnegotiable issue (a fully tested, existing law).  There is an appropriate remedy for sedition. It should be applied.

drudown
drudown

Uh, excuse me?

Why does this "article's" headline erroneously presume the President of the United States has any self-perceived "discretion" to make "concessions" to duly passed federal law (i.e., the Affordable Care Act) that was promulgated by the Legislative branch, ALREADY signed into law by President Obama and then (drumroll, please) upheld on Judicial Review by the Supreme Court? To even intimate that such "post hoc" negotiations are Constitutional- that is, at any level- tends to ratify the GOP's unlawful attempts to hold democracy "hostage" in its blind attempts to serve Big Business campaign contributors that, well, don't like the Affordable Care Act because it materially lowers future earnings by lowering Health Care premiums for the People. 

Tell me, why is there no "article" covering the blatant refusal by the GOP to follow the law, if not simply refuse to do their prescribed duties under Article I, Section 8 to raise revenue for the People's general welfare? I thought the GOP advocated for a strict construction of the Constitution? Here, the refusal by the GOP to even acknowledge the objective necessity to follow duly enacted federal laws underscores how "fast and loose" the GOP is playing with the very laws that give them any power to represent the People to begin with. 

We are a Nation of laws, or we are not. 

It's time for the Media to accurately report on what is really at stake, i.e., the corrupting influence of K Street preventing duly elected officials from performing their prescribed duties under the Social Contract under the alleged auspices of "partisan differences". Sorry, there is no legal authority to support such an absurd and, indeed, unworkable proposition. It literally turns our entire system of precedent on its head. 

Funny, isn't it, how the GOP's lobbyist-driven, "no new taxes, ever" agenda is the pretext here to refuse to follow the law when, in fact, the express language of Article I, Section 8 (i.e., the Supreme Law of the Land) REQUIRES the Congress to RAISE REVENUE instead?

This betrayal of the People by the GOP Congress simply underscores why voters must abide by the "lesser of two evils" litmus test.

"He serves his constituents most by serving the country best." - Rutherford B. Hayes

carolerae
carolerae

Don't bet on Obama negotiating.  Nothing to gain from it.

ArunKottur
ArunKottur

Bishop -may be waiting for the move from others

AbrahamYeshuratnam
AbrahamYeshuratnam

Obama shouldn't be adamant. Obamacare will help African-Americans and immigrants at the expense of American taxpayers. Another danger is a default on the U.S. debt would be extremely harmful, especially if the impasse was not resolved quickly. Congress  should look for ways to mitigate the harms from ‘ObamaCare, because  the debt ceiling issue is  one of the "best leverage the Congress has to rein in the executive." Realizing the danger the country is facing today, Obama should be prepared for some concessions.

StephenSwain
StephenSwain

Obama and the Reactionary Tea Heads really have nothing to "negotiate about".  They have fatally overreached.  They gleefully put their own heads in the nooses.  Now, for just a bit longer, he can just let them hang their contentedly before their own stupidity gets the stools knocked out from under them.  They don't have the votes and they don't have the right to do what they are doing, and their own polls will tell them so.  Don't negotiate.  Let the dolts stew in their own juices.  And let the voters have at them.  It won't be pretty.

ColdAir
ColdAir

Where is the  First Lady?  She's been M.I.A. for a while.  Just curious.

ColdAir
ColdAir

Obama doesn't know how to negotiate.  Why not restrict all comments to blind Democrat lemmings?

dectra
dectra

You don't negotiate with terrorist. 


GOP: America's Economic Terrorists

StopAlready23
StopAlready23

First of all, Obamacare was passed into law by Congress (so yes, the people through their representatives already voted on it) and it was upheld by the Supreme Court.  Boehner's attempt to change that by holding the nation hostage is irresponsible and, as far as I'm concerned, establishes that he is not fit to be Speaker of the House or hold any sort of political office.  He doesn't like the law so he's willing to harm an entire nation instead of going through the proper political process to change it?  In fact, Republicans are already backing away from him and have admitted that this fight is no longer about Obamacare but about "pride".  Pride - really?  How sick is that?  Second, for the President to give in now would set a very dangerous precedent for the future.  It would send the message that anytime anyone wants to ignore the right way to do things, they can just ignore all the rules and hold the American people hostage.  If the people who are elected to office cannot play by the rules and learn how to participate legally in the political process, they shouldn't be in Washington.   Third, Boehner keeps saying that there aren't enough votes to pass a clean bill in the House.  Why doesn't he just prove it by calling for a vote.  It's because he's afraid.  Over 20 Republicans have already changed their minds and said they would vote for a clean bill to avoid default.  Some people say that's enough to pass a clean bill.  But Boehner refuses to call for a vote.  The representatives in the House should just grow a spine and remove him as Speaker.  They have the power to do so. 

shepherdwong
shepherdwong

"For seven days the federal government has been closed, and for seven days Obama has refused to negotiate with House Republicans."

That assumes that there's something to negotiate. It's a spending bill, within the Republicans' spending target. Please stop pretending that this anything to do with President Obama. It's John Boehner and the House of Representatives who need to pass a spending bill, period.

I honestly don't think we have the political media we deserve.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

How is it that this only happens with a GOP Congress? When will we call the hostage takers for what they are. The last two Democratic administrations they have pulled this stunt on. Enough is enough.

redmarks
redmarks

Health care:  Obamacare or ACA whichever you want to call it.  
There is a valid debate about how the economics will work.  For the economics to work, the young and healthy must sign up and pay a higher premium than they used to pay or to buy health care when they did not buy it before.  The plan is also very complicated to implement. It is hard to figure out exactly how it will actually work.  If one were to implement a new software program in my company, we would run a pilot until we know how well it worked and what it costs.  
Why don't we run Obamacare or ACA in a couple of states for a year as a pilot and then determine what changes are necessary to make it work or manage the costs, rather than throw 18% of the economy into uncertainty when we are already running such a high deficit.

EOPinion
EOPinion

And what makes any of you chuckleheads think that the government could run a healthcare system efficiently?

grape_crush
grape_crush

If Boehner wants to negotiate, then it's a great opportunity.

  • Don't like the individual mandate? We can drop that, if we implement single payer funded through payroll taxes.
  • Want that XL Keystone pipeline built? Sure, as long as we implement a market-friendly cap-and-trade system to handle pollution.

Just think of the possibilities, since the GOP is so very open to negotiation. Why are they the only ones who get to ask for what they want?

redmarks
redmarks

I fell like the president is only the president of half the country.  Or the Half President.  Instead of trying to find a way to bind the more or less two equal halves of the American public, he takes sides.  Not only that, but he condemns anyone who doesn't agree with him in the most insulting of terms.  It makes me feel like it's not my country any more and we are headed out of control.  I don't mean just fiscal and spending control, but our whole society.  I wonder if others feel this way.  It's a bit frightening.

MonroeMya
MonroeMya

It Feels like obama is the one holding the gun to the american people's heads. If obama care is so great LET PEOPLE HAVE A CHOICE. He is unwilling to negotiate because he wants to FINE people that don't either get obama care or a health insurance that have already sky rocketed in prices due to? THATS RIGHT OBAMA CARE. While the government is shutdown he continues to be paid its no wonder he will not negotiate.

ThinkPeople
ThinkPeople

@drudown what exactly do you call obama ignoring the ACA law and "illegally" waivig enactment of the law on his Big Business cronies and supporters for one year? But he will not do so for ALL Americans.

How about his 1500+ grants of "waivers" of the law to Union Bosses and Big Business pals.

Sorry but ANY law that passes without A SINGLE vote of the opposition party is not a 'good' law, and any law that requires 1500+ favors of exemption is not a 'good' law.

You may not like it but the House is acting within the constitution it is Obama who is in violation.

cinemashack33
cinemashack33

@drudown  you obviously know nothing about the law. the house has the right to refuse funding.

magintob
magintob

@AbrahamYeshuratnam so African Americans are not taxpayers? and no persons will benefit from the ACA other than African Americans? what are you on?

berryls
berryls

@Screened That is just nonsense.  ACA is one HUGE negotiation, and the sequestration was too.

EricsBizTweets
EricsBizTweets

@dectra Do you hear what you are saying? You are labeling your fellow Americans as terrorists simply because they don't agree with you. You know, the national socialists in Europe did that in the 1930's and ultimately lost everything. So maybe you should rethink your strategy...

reallife
reallife

@shepherdwong "I honestly don't think we have the political media we deserve."


hahahahaha


LOL


oh boy I needed a good laugh 


MrObvious
MrObvious

@redmarks

Hawaii got something like basic mandatory healthcare. 

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/17/health/policy/17hawaii.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Since 1974, Hawaii has required all employers to provide relatively generous health care benefits to any employee who works 20 hours a week or more. If health care legislation passes in Congress, the rest of the country may barely catch up. 

It's also where Limbaugh likes to go for his health care. 


Anyways.

It works. Lets make it national.

grape_crush
grape_crush

 @redmarks > Obamacare or ACA whichever you want to call it.

No, that's what it's called.

> ...we would run a pilot until we know how well it worked and what it costs. 

Yes. That 'pilot' program is named Romneycare, implemented in Massachusetts.

> It is hard to figure out exactly how it will actually work.

It's already here, and there's plenty of information available about how it works. Here's a dumbed-down version for you:

shepherdwong
shepherdwong

@redmarks"Why don't we run Obamacare or ACA in a couple of states for a year as a pilot and then determine what changes are necessary to make it work or manage the costs..."

The same basic program was signed into law in 2006 in Massachsetts by Mitt Romney (he doesn't talk about it much). By all accounts, with a few subsequent tweaks, the program works quite well. Shouldn't you have some idea of what you're talking about before you post a comment on a particular subject?

JenniferBonin
JenniferBonin

@EOPinion What makes you think that private industry, with the prime goal of making profits rather than healing people affordably, can run a healthcare system efficiently?

In fact, we KNOW they don't.  In fact, we know that the most efficient system in this country is... medicare.  A government program, for the record.  It's most efficient for two main reasons: 
1.)  It's huge, so it can simply declare by fiat how much it's willing to pay, and hospitals and drug companies have to accept it or negotiate to a fair cost.  Smaller private companies can't do this as well, even if they wanted to.
2.)  Smaller, private companies DON'T want to improve costs.  Why would they, when they make bank based on costs?  Their motivation is profit, while the government's motivation is to keep its elderly from starving on the streets or dying embarrassingly young from preventable diseases and conditions.

You look pretty foolish to say that ACA won't work before it's even been tried... when what's already in place doesn't work already.

Piacevole
Piacevole

@EOPinion Medicae seems to be doing all right.  At least, nobody wants to go back to the time without it.

jason024
jason024

@EOPinion Most industrialized nations other than America runs it well WITH lower costs. But hey if you want to put your head in the sand thinking that our current system works so be it. 

 BTW: the ACA was a compromise....liberals wanted  a single payer system that would have been infinitely better but they knew that the GOP would never go for it. Instead they presented what was once a GOP plan.

rodrigo_paris
rodrigo_paris

@redmarks He tried through most of a year. Reps were constantly adding amendments, and quite a few were accepted. They almost gutted the project. Now that they failed, they are trying again to gut it, this time using terrorist methods.

PaulDirks
PaulDirks

@redmarks The president is outright supported by half the country. Among the half who don't support him, half of them feel that this Government shutdown is nevertheless a massive cluster$%^. The less than 25% this left supporting Ted Cruz and his cronies deserve every name that anyone cares to throw at them. As far as I'm concerned 'traitor' and 'terrorist' are just about right.


Piacevole
Piacevole

@MonroeMya In many states, including the one in which I live, it is a precondition of driving a vehicle that there be a liability policy in effect on that vehicle.  Anyone who is found to be driving without it is in for a hard time; in this state, the vehicle license can be immediately impounded.  So the issue of whether a governmental agency  can require that insurance be carried is moot.


In the case of the ACA, there will be considerable savings because people can get care by ordinary routes, instead of showing up at emergency rooms for very expensive care.

barneydidit
barneydidit

@MonroeMya Uhmmm....the people HAD a choice, they re-elected Obama, and it's the GOP in the form of Boehner who won't let a simple vote happen in the House. 

jason024
jason024

@MonroeMya The people had their choice...he was REELECTED......the people also have decided..they don't want the GOP to shut down the government over health care. 

drudown
drudown

@ThinkPeople @drudown 

Sorry, your analysis presupposes that the Legislative branch and Executive branch perform the same duties, i.e., promulgating and executing the laws are NOT one and the same. 

As for your gibberish about the House "acting within the Constitution"...show me the express provision that supports your claim. Article I, Section 8 expressly requires the Congress to "raise revenue for the People's general WELFARE". I don't see the express provision that gives the Congress power to "refuse to fund laws signed into law unless additional, post hoc concessions are the met." 

Please. Show me how I am wrong with reason and analysis. I can get your regurgitated, conclusory drivel from the House leaders violating Article I, Section 8.

drudown
drudown

@cinemashack33 @drudown 

Is that so?

Perhaps you could humor me with a case citation or, better yet, refute any one of my legal assertions specifically? 

As for your unfounded gibberish that the "house has the right to refuse funding" on laws that have passed through three SEPARATE branches of government...that constitutes a "Legislative veto" which is Unconstitutional on its face.

You lose.

starman
starman

@MrObvious @redmarks "If it passes in Congress..."? It already did, remember? And it was tested in the courts --- many of them!  It is the law of the land.  Period!

Piacevole
Piacevole

@grape_crush @redmarks There was an amusing letter in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette to the effect that President Obama had a lot of nerve to name this bill after himself.  I guess the writer missed the bit about it really being the "Affordable Care Act," and the REPUBLICANS, in an effort to damage it, began to call it "Obamacare."   I wonder whether, in ten years, when the thing is fully in effect and just part of the medical scenery, the Republicans will still think their nomenclature was such a good idea.

redmarks
redmarks

@jason024 @EOPinion 

Jason, I am not sure of your facts.  It is my understanding that all the votes were Democrats and that Republicans were not consulted in the creation of the act.  That is probably why it is such a contentious issue.  Nevertheless, the real question is to find some common ground that the nation can all support.  Right now we are highlighting differences rather than searching for solutions.

EOPinion
EOPinion

@barneydidit @MonroeMya people make bad choices all the time, in this case, it is painfully obvious, end the train wreck before it wrecks our economy and turns everybody into poor dependent souls.

thebax
thebax

@barneydidit @MonroeMya I f you consider the unemployed  and welfare people that could easily get out to vote themselves more hand outs because they were not at work trying to make money to live on "the choice of the people" you're a sick puppy! What we need is to have a national holiday on major election days so everyone has time to get out and vote!!

redmarks
redmarks

@jason024 @MonroeMya 

I did not see anything on the ballot that said I was voting to end Congress's ability to manage the total debt that the nation takes on.  Obama was elected because he received more votes than his opponent.  Now he is supposed to use judgment to lead the entire country -- not just half or it!

thebax
thebax

@jason024 @MonroeMya So what's going to happen when our credit rating hits rock bottom and we have no money to work with because of Obama's spending spree during his 2 terms? I guess legalize marijuana?! It's sad they wait until their backs are against the wall instead of just doing the right thing!

grape_crush
grape_crush

 @Piacevole @grape_crush @redmarks I wonder whether, in ten years, when the thing is fully in effect and just part of the medical scenery, the Republicans will still think their nomenclature was such a good idea.

If they think something is wrong with it, GOPers will shout 'damn Obamacare' from every soapbox.

Discussion of its successes will be actively avoided or ignored.

rodrigo_paris
rodrigo_paris

@redmarks @jason024 @EOPinion Indeed they were. As a matter of fact, Obama almost begged them to be a part of the project, they forced several changes and then they voted aginst it. Goes to show you how unreliable are they when it comes to negotiating. It is contentious because Reps know it'll be a success, and certainly NOT their success. That is all!

grape_crush
grape_crush

 @redmarks @jason024 @EOPinion It is my understanding that all the votes were Democrats and...

So?

> that Republicans were not consulted in the creation of the act. 

Patently false:

"According to a HELP Committee document about bipartisan aspects of the health reform bill the committee passed July 15, 2009, its final bill included '161 Republican amendments,' including 'several amendments from Senators [Mike] Enzi [R-WY], [Tom] Coburn [R-OK], [Pat] Roberts [R-KS] and others [that] make certain that nothing in the legislation will allow for rationing of care,' and reflected the efforts of 'six bipartisan working groups' that 'met a combined 72 times' in 2009 as well as '30 bipartisan hearings on health care reform' since 2007, half of which were held in 2009 [HELP Committee document, 7/09]. And according to the Senate Finance Committee's September 22, 2009, document detailing the amendments to the Chairman's Mark considered, at least 13 amendments sponsored by one or more Republican senators were included in the bill."

jason024
jason024

@redmarks @jason024 @EOPinion Republicans were consulted. Heck there were some GOP ideas in the act itself. Senate Finance Committee chair Max Baucus (D-MT) held the bill  waiting for more GOP input. Nothing. Look it up.

jason024
jason024

@EOPinion Who is using the debt ceiling (which WILL ruin the economy) as a bargaining chip again?

jason024
jason024

@thebax @barneydidit @MonroeMya The people get what they want and he was reelected fair and square. Heck democrats won two seats in the House and preserved their majority in the Senate.

 Your pathetic "people had to work" excuse has been debunked many times. Google it. 

jason024
jason024

@redmarks @jason024 I was just answering your question on Congress handling the debt situation. 

 Secondly. This was a compromise position...the liberals wanted a single payer system and know that the ACA is not perfect but many of the things in it are better for everyone. 

"common ground" is hard to come by when the GOP uses the inappropriate venues trying to set bad precedents in trying to negotiate a policy issue (at first trying to repeal it)  during a budget fight. You get to repeal it when you win elections not holding government employees hostage. 

redmarks
redmarks

@jason024 @redmarks I am not looking for new arguments.  When I watched the ACA unfold, it troubled me in two ways.  First, I spent twenty years working in the health care industry, and I know it is not a very cost effective system.  I was hoping to see a real effort at improving the cost effectiveness of the health care approach we have and it was not addressed.  In fact, the act focuses on adding more people into the insurance pool instead, without any effort extended to reduce costs except via lip service.  Secondly, all the votes for it (and it passed by just one vote) were from one party.  Every other significant spending priority has had bi-partisan support.  The choice of one party to "impose its will" on the other leads to contentiousness down the road.  If two parties cant agree, it clearly requires both to find common ground.

jason024
jason024


@redmarks

You miss the point....the radicals never wanted compromise. When you want to defund the ACA from the start that is hardly negotiating in good faith. 

 Secondly as pointed out before there are avenues to address the spending issues and they do not include forcing government workers to go without paychecks or defaulting on things that we already bought.  (Polls say Americans DO NOT want a shutdown and blame the GOP)

The senate was ready to negotiate before this on the budget....the House wanted the shutdown knowing full well their extreme demands would never be met.

rodrigo_paris
rodrigo_paris

@thebax @jason024 @MonroeMya Legalizing marijuana is a brilliant idea, TheBax. Let's just wait to see the result in Uruguay, where they are trying it as a means to increase gov. income. Most likely it'll be a success.

jason024
jason024

@thebax @jason024 @MonroeMya The right thing is negotiating this BEFORE shutting down the government and keeping people from getting paid. The Senate was ready to negotiate well before this clownshow.