Shutdown politics, Obamacare advice, a national briefing on religious freedom
Today’s news and an interview with political columnist Jay Cost on the politics of Congress’ brinkmanship over the government shutdown, plus: commentary from Cal Thomas, a panel of experts on religious freedom, and more.
Still no negotiations: President Obama brought congressional leaders to the White House on for the first time since a partial government shutdown began, but he refused to negotiate with Republicans over Obamacare. After 90 minutes, there was no sign of progress toward ending an impasse that has idled 800,000 federal workers and curbed government services around the country.
Budget battle: The House of Representatives approved three measures to reopen parks and museums, the National Institutes of Health, and city operations in Washington, DC, to lessen the impact of the partial government shutdown. Senate leaders have said they will reject the funding, to keep the pressure on House Republicans to fund all government operations.
Birth-control mandate: As court cases move ahead on numerous challenges to the Health and Human Services rule requiring religious employers to provide contraceptives and abortifacients to employees, the Obama Administration is asking for a delay. Administration lawyers say the government shutdown prevents them from responding to the lawsuits and ask federal courts to require challengers to obey the mandate in the meantime.
Tea Party group gets tax status: After three years of delays and what some are calling stall tactics, the IRS has granted tax-exempt status to TheTeaParty.net. The group’s tax-exempt approval came exactly one week after the retirement of Lois Lerner, the IRS official at the heart of the political-targeting scandal. TheTeaParty.net prevailed just as its attorney was filing papers for a lawsuit against the tax agency.
Business/economy: Stocks were in negative territory on Wednesday. The reasons were many, and not just the government shutdown. Payroll processor ADP released a tepid jobs report, saying the economy had generated a mediocre 166,000 jobs in September.
Gamesmanship and statesmanship
TW&E’s Kent Covington interviews political columnist Jay Cost of The Weekly Standard on the politics of congressional brinksmanship over the government shutdown.
Commentary: Unsolicited advice for Republicans
Commentator Cal Thomas on how Republicans can better make the case against Obamacare.
Whither religious freedom?
Timothy George of Beeson Divinity School, Jennifer Marshall of the Heritage Foundation, Robert Sirico of the Acton Institute, and Eric Teetsel of the Manhattan Declaration participate in a panel discussion on religious freedom, recorded last weekend at the Truth for a New Generation conference in Charlotte, N.C.