Federal shutdown | KUOW News and Information

Federal shutdown

Updated at 8:46 p.m. ET

The House passed a stopgap funding bill Thursday evening, though the measure now faces uncertainty in the Senate as Republican congressional leaders work to avert a government shutdown by late Friday night.

Republicans need 60 votes in the Senate to proceed on the four-week continuing resolution, which would extend funding only until Feb. 16. That is looking more and more difficult after most Democrats and at least three Republican senators have said they won't vote for the bill.

Much of America's political focus has understandably been on the 2016 presidential race. There is, however, a more immediate problem on the horizon.

Congress has two weeks to pass a measure to keep the government funded beyond Sept. 30. If no agreement is reached, federal agencies could be shuttered again — the second time in three years.

KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

US Senator Patty Murray made her budget priorities clear at a Seattle food bank on Wednesday: She wants to preserve federal programs that affect the poor, such as Head Start, federal housing assistance and food stamps.

Flickr Photo/Adam Fagen

The partial government shutdown is over and the US avoided debt default this week, but the hard work is just beginning.

Members of both parties are eager to avoid another shutdown, but skepticism remains as to whether or not they can come together to strike a deal. Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Paul Ryan are bringing to the table the budget "wish lists" of both their parties with the hopes that they will be able to find a middle ground plan that will pass the House and Senate.

POLITICO congressional reporter Ginger Gibson explains the what the two parties need to create a long term budget plan.

Courtesy of Washington State University

It’s Friday — time to talk over the week's news with Crosscut's Knute BergerEli Sanders of The Stranger and KIRO 7's Essex Porter.

Congress reached a deal to reopen the government and avoid defaulting on the national debt. Have we turned the page or will things be right back where they started come January?

Also, we remember Eastern Washington Congressman and former Speaker of the House Tom Foley, who passed away today at 84. 

The panel checks in on Seattle's mayoral race and one state legislative contest that's drawing big money, and Live Wire host Luke Burbank joins us from Los Angeles.

Week In Review Web Extra

We look at a new study that finds Washington state is doing better than most when it comes to the cost of doing business.

The Cost Of The Partial Government Shutdown

Oct 17, 2013

The shutdown cost the economy $24 billion according to research from Standard and Poor’s . Other analysts peg it at a few billion higher or lower. But what is certain is that the shutdown had a major economic impact, curtailing  annual growth in the fourth quarter to 2.4 percent , down from 3 percent , according to S&P.

The shutdown is over, for now. The agreement passed by the Congress and signed by the President keeps the government open until January 15. The debt ceiling has been raised through February 7. Jon Talton writes a column on business and the economy for the Seattle Times, he explains what we have gained and lost from the partial government shutdown.

In one of the strangest moments of a strange few weeks on Capitol Hill, a House stenographer broke into a rant about God, the Constitution and Freemasonry as representatives cast their votes Wednesday on a deal to reopen the government.

"He will not be mocked," the stenographer, later identified as Dianne Reidy, yelled into the microphone at the chamber's rostrum. "The greatest deception here is that this is not one nation under God. It never was. It would not have been. The Constitution would not have been written by Freemasons. They go against God."

Federal employees in Washington state and across the US who have been furloughed since Oct. 1 would return to work soon if Congress signs off on a budget deal. The Washington Post reports that employees should return to work the day after the partial government shutdown ends.

Flickr Photo/WSDOT (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Today, with mere hours left before the US' borrowing authority expires, the Senate released a plan that will fund the government through Jan. 15 and lift the debt limit through Feb. 7. House Speaker John Boehner has said the House will not block the Senate's deal.

It is expected to pass in both chambers, with the House voting second.. A few hours after the Senate formally introduced their plan, Ross Reynolds talked with Washington Senator Patty Murray.

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

The partial government shutdown is now in its 16th day, but it appears to coming to an end. Senate leaders have reached a bipartisan agreement to re-open the government and temporarily raise the debt ceiling.

The deal calls for the government to be funded through January 15, and to raise the debt ceiling until February 7. Jennifer Steinhauer is a reporter for The New York Times. She speaks with Ross Reynolds about the new developments.

In the course of any given month, the government collects billions of dollars in taxes, spends billions more, and borrows money to cover the difference between what it collects and what it spends.

If Congress doesn't raise the debt ceiling soon, the government won't be able to borrow money to cover the difference anymore and won't be able to pay all of its bills.

Update at 10:18 p.m.: House Approves Bill:

The crisis is over. With about two hours before the country reached the debt ceiling, the House has approved the bill and it is now it's way to the White House. We've posted separately on that development and we are putting this live blog to bed.

Our Original Post Continues:

Flickr Photo/Tom Collines

For federal employees, Tuesday is payday. But because of the partial government shutdown thousands of federal employees are getting a reduced paycheck.

Flickr Photo/SEIU Health Care 775NW

There are more than whispers of a deal to end the shutdown today. Both the Senate and the House are working on proposals. Whether or not they will pass, however, is another question. Marcie Sillman talks with Representative Jim McDermott, D-Wash., about the politics inside Congress.

Courtesy of HUMV/Sarah Koopai

For Tom Jenkins, a senior at the University of Washington and a veteran of the Air Force, the partial government shutdown has caused double stress: He has been furloughed from his part-time job as a reservist, and he may not receive veteran’s benefits.

Flickr Photo/Marina Noordegraaf

The partial government shutdown is now 14 days old  as the deadline for the federal government to raise its debt limit looms this Thursday. But in recent days, momentum seems to be building towards a short term solution. Why now?

Slate writer Will Saletan says it has a lot to do with record-low polling numbers for the GOP, and shaky financial markets. He talks with Steve Scher.

Flickr Photo/Mr. Juicebox

As the partial government shutdown drags into its third week, some companies haven’t missed the opportunity to squeeze some publicity out of it. Last week, Starbucks gave away free cups of coffee to anyone who bought another person a beverage in its stores. The company also urged customers to sign a petition, asking lawmakers to end the shutdown.

It’s Friday — time to talk over the week's news with Joni Balter of the Seattle Times, Crosscut's Knute Berger and Eli Sanders of The Stranger. 

Seattle incumbent mayor Mike McGinn and challenger state Senator Ed Murray met in their first televised debate this week. Our panel weighs in on the candidate's performance and the latest polling. Word of a compromise is heard from Washington, D.C., as the partial government shutdown continues into a second week. Where does the Washington state delegation stand? Plus, Live Wire host Luke Burbank dials in from Chicago.

From Matt Manweller's Facebook page.

When it comes to Washingtonian sentiment about government gridlock, partisan politics is the name of the game.  Whether it’s here in the Puget Sound region, or in the Central and Eastern parts of the state, political leanings are the lens through which Washington residents are viewing the crisis.

KUOW Photo/Audrey Carlsen

Paychecks and research have come to a halt at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Seattle due to the partial government shutdown. Some NOAA researchers have been given special dispensation to come in to work only to feed the fish and invertebrates they study.

Morale at NOAA is pretty low for the skeleton crew that continues to come in to forecast the weather. So on Thursday they held a potluck to raise their spirits, serving up dishes with names like sequester quencher soda and filibuster parfait.

Pressure Mounts On Congressional Republicans

Oct 10, 2013

The federal government is still in a partial shutdown. On Thursday, President Obama met with lawmakers from either side, but no agreement was reached. As pressure mounts, some House Republicans have said they will vote for a clean spending bill, no strings attached. Washington's Representative Dave Reichert is one of them. Steve Scher talks with Andrea Seabrook of DecodeDC.

Flickr Photo/Nicki Dugan

Sharon Beatty of Everett was diagnosed with stage four melanoma in June. The prognosis isn’t good. She hasn’t responded well to chemotherapy, and her family was pinning its hopes on a vaccine trial at the Clinical Research Center of the National Institutes of Health.

With Shutdown, Student Veterans Face Uncertainty Over Benefits

Oct 3, 2013
Courtesy of HUMV/Sarah Koopai

The government's partial shutdown has put many federal benefits at risk, including education benefits for veterans covered by the Post 9/11 GI Bill. That money goes towards tuition, housing, books and more.  Steve Scher talks with Tom Jenkins, a senior at UW and president of Husky United Military Veterans about how the shutdown is affecting student veterans.

With the federal government shut down for the first time since 1996, Congress is now heading toward a fight over raising the nation's debt ceiling. What would it mean for the US government to default on the debt? David Hyde talks with Rolling Stone financial writer and contributing editor Matt Taibbi.

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Photos of the government shutdown have not been kind to Republicans: Images of children who can’t play in parks that have been closed and of low-income children who can’t attend Head Start, the government's early education program. And then, of course, are the images of tourists squeezing between national monuments and barriers for posed shots.

The effects of the partial federal government shutdown are rippling across the Northwest.

Flickr Photo/Tom Bridge

Congress has failed to reach a deal to fund the federal government, leading to the first shutdown in 17 years. We hear from furloughed worker Kurt Morley about how the shutdown is affecting him and talk with Chris Grygiel of the Associated Press about what's open and what's closed today in Washington state.

Closed national parks will be one of the first visible effects of the partial government shutdown expected to begin Tuesday. National forest and BLM campgrounds will also close.

The new fiscal year starts October 1, so a bill to fund the government must be passed by both chambers in Congress and signed by Obama by midnight tonight. Republicans blame Democrats and Democrats blame Republicans about the current stalemate.

According to Chris Vance, there is more than enough blame to go around. Vance is the former Republican Party state chairman for Washington and the co-chair of the Washington chapter of the Campaign to Fix the Debt. He joins David Hyde to discuss negotiations, or the lack thereof, by both parties in our government.