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Obama not budging

"Obama not budging" Continued...

“You’ll have some programs that are highly visible get funded and reopened—like national monuments—but things that don’t get a lot of attention, not being funded,” the president said. “And we don’t get to select which programs we implement or not.”

Meanwhile, Obama’s executive branch continued efforts to maximize the visual pain of the partial shutdown. Federal officials gave an elderly Nevada couple 24 hours to leave their home of more than three decades because it rested on federal land. When the Obama administration shut down the Amber Alert website due to the lapse in government funding, the public furor forced the government to restore the website that helps locate missing children. The latest outcry is over reports that the government is denying the $100,000 death benefit paid to help military families with funeral expenses and living expenses when their relatives are killed while serving in uniform. That includes the families of five U.S. service members killed over the weekend in Afghanistan.

In a gambit to get Democrats to the table, the House voted Tuesday night to create a new Bipartisan Working Group on Deficit Reduction and Economic Growth. The supercommittee would include 20 lawmakers tasked with setting spending levels for fiscal 2014, devising conditions for raising the debt ceiling, and coming up with mandatory spending reforms. But some conservatives treated the group with skepticism, believing it looked like an effort to kick the can down the road. The concept also reminded lawmakers of the 2011 supercommittee on deficit reduction. That group failed to deliver results after lawmakers created it with such fanfare. Not surprisingly, the White House issued a veto threat over this new group—the 17th House-passed bill Obama has threatened with a veto since the shutdown began.

“Show me a way this ends without Boehner and Obama talking,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told Slate. “I don’t know how this ends. Maybe we put ’em both in Gitmo.”

Edward Lee Pitts
Edward Lee Pitts

Lee teaches journalism at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, and is the associate dean of the World Journalism Institute.


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