Buzz about the government shutdown

The Bay Area’s voices in Congress are abuzz a federal government shutdown looms at midnight tonight, unless Congress can agree on or pass a budget for the remaining 2011 fiscal year before then.

From Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, who cancelled his town meetings scheduled for tomorrow in Union City and Alameda:

“Republicans are continuing to pursue their extreme social agenda at the expense of keeping our government operating. Negotiations are ongoing, but given the uncertainty, I must stay in Washington, DC for pending votes,” said Stark. “My staff will attend the town meetings and will be available to assist constituents with any casework needs and collect questions for me. I will respond in writing to all questions submitted.”

From House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, after a meeting of the House Republican Conference:

“We just met with all of our Members to try to bring them as up to speed as we can, considering that we’re still in discussions. And I might add that these discussions continue to be respectful, we continue to work together. Most of the policy issues have been dealt with and the big fight is over the spending. You’ve heard me say time and time again that we’ve got to cut spending if we’re serious about creating an environment for job creators in America to do what they do best – and that’s to create jobs.

“It’s been a difficult several weeks. Our intention has been to keep the government open. We have no interest in shutting down the government. That’s why we sent the troop funding bill over to the Senate yesterday and attached to it was a seven day agreement to keep the government open while continuing to cut spending. And I’m hopeful the Senate will take this up.

“I’m also hopeful that we’ll be able to come to some agreement. But we’re not going to roll over and sell out the American people like it’s been done time and time again here in Washington. When we say we’re serious about cutting spending, we’re damn serious about it.”

From Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto:

“On the eve of a possible shutdown of the federal government, I want all my constituents to know that our offices in Palo Alto and Washington, D.C. will remain open to serve the people of our Congressional District. My staff will remain on duty without pay if there is a shutdown. Any constituent who has questions or needs can continue to contact us at our District office at (650) 323-2984 or our Washington, D.C. office at (202) 225-8104.

“There are many costs to a federal government shutdown, including putting some 800,000 federal employees out of work — 26,000 of whom reside in our Congressional District. A shutdown will prevent the IRS from issuing refund checks, freeze federal environmental clean-up projects, delay pay for our soldiers fighting overseas, stall new applications for Social Security, Medicare, passports, and visas, and halt Small Business Administration and Federal Housing Authority loans. A shutdown will close 25 National Park sites in California, and veterans who receive disability benefits may also see their payments delayed.

“Depending on how long the shutdown lasts, the ripple effects could impact everyone from families who won’t be able to get a housing loan to the thousands of companies that ship supplies to government agencies. When the government closed for 20 days in the 1990’s, the nation’s economic growth slowed by as much as a full percentage point in that quarter, according to leading economists. As we struggle to recover from the deepest recession in our history, a government shutdown with its job losses and other negative effects could damage our fragile economic situation.

“Constituents can access additional information about the affects of a government shutdown through resources available on my website.”

Lots more – with video! – after the jump…

From Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough:

From Democratic Senators including Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.:

From Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma:

“In just a few hours, it appears the doors of the federal government will slam shut. And it will be for one simple reason – because of the Republican majority’s inflexibility, callousness and political gamesmanship.

“For three months, they’ve been in charge of the people’s House, but they haven’t done a thing that the people want. They haven’t lifted a finger to create the jobs we so desperately need. They are jeopardizing our economic recovery. They’ve offered nothing but deep, painful, job-destroying spending cuts…and they’ve refused to budge one inch.

“I want to cut government spending too. But I don’t want to take it from children who need early education and families that need help paying for college. I want to cut the nearly $7 billion a month that we’re spending on a war in Afghanistan that is doing nothing to make the American people safe.

“But of course, the Republican leadership won’t consider cutting war spending. Instead, they want to go after middle-class working people who more than ever before need a government that’s on their side.

“And here’s perhaps the most outrageous thing of all: one of the final sticking points in these negotiations is over Title X funding for Planned Parenthood. Here you see the true Republican agenda laid bare: what they really care about is stoking the fires of divisive culture war politics.

“The fact is that an attack on Planned Parenthood is an attack on women and the life-saving health care they need. Cancer screenings, mammograms, basic medical services mostly for low-income women – that’s the overwhelming majority of what Planned Parenthood does. And the money we invest in Title X more than pays for itself. Cutting funding to Planned Parenthood would ultimately add to the deficit instead of reduce it.

“I hope my Republican colleagues will give up this childish refusal to compromise. The American people deserve better than to have their government held hostage by ideological extremism.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Doug

    Personally I think putting 800,000 federal workers OUT of work is a good start. What has our government become that so many people are needed to control our lives?? Go get a real job producing something.

    Oh, well. The two “parties” have temporarily settled their differences and did not shut down the government. Our loss.

  • Elwood

    This blog is lifeless.

  • Josh Richman

    Touched that you miss me, Elwood. I’m off this week, returning next Monday, though Lisa and Steve might post before then.

  • Patty O’Day

    Frankly Elwood, I seldom post anymore because you, John W, RR Univited Columnists, Ralph, and a very few others tend to monopolize every string. You all seem to have an opinion and seem to consider yourselves experts on absolutely every topic. It gets boring for others to even read it. I pop in here from time to time, check out the titles and quickly scan the comments, see that it is the usual response from the same old 5 or 6 guys and then I leave. Try giving some other people a chance from time to time.

  • Josh Richman

    Patty: Every blog has its regulars, but please feel free to chime in at any time.

  • RR, Uninvited Columnist

    #4: I think I know your cousin, Patty O’Furniture.

  • Elwood

    Re: #4

    Don’t be shy, dear!

    Leap right in with both feet!

  • Lisa Vorderbrueggen

    I’ll try and spice it up, Elwood. I’ve been on vacation — Mexico — for the past two weeks, but will see if I can drum up some news business today.

  • Lisa Vorderbrueggen

    Patty, Don’t let the curmudgeon cabal stop you!

  • Elwood


    Hope you enjoyed your vacation and brought some spice back with you.

    As Josh pointed out, every blog has its regulars.

    I find it strange that Ms. O’day finds this intimidating.

  • RR, Uninvited Columnist

    Dear Patty: As a member in good standing of the Curmudgeon Cabal, I’ve been called a lunatic, a fascist, and a shill for Corporate America, among other encomiums. Feel free to enter marketplace of ideas.

  • Elwood