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PAC vows to revive civility in politics. Not.

A Nevada-based conservative political action committee on Thursday apologized – well, sort of – for an early-morning fundraising email describing lawmakers who supported the deal to re-open the government and raise the debt ceiling as “a parliament of traitors and whores.”

“These 81 whores curbstomped liberty and defecated on the Constitution yet again tonight,” the Western Representation PAC’s email said, singling out Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kent., for special abuse. “Mitch McConnell received his $3 billion of silver to betray the base and the grassroots, via an amendment authored by Lamar Alexander. They’re such sluts for a good porking… It takes $2.9 billion to put Mitch McConnell on his knees before President Obama, whoring himself out and betraying his Kentucky constituents.”

Western Representation PAC logo

“They will remember this day and rue it, and we will pour forth the fires of your wrath upon their heads… We are coming, and we are never going to stop until we take down every last one of these 81 whores,” the email vowed. “Your donations are history-making ammunition to execute those who spat in your faces tonight with their vote. It’s time to take these whores and traitors out. Donate today, and know that your dollars will rain down like mortars on those who betrayed us tonight in 2014. A season of vengeance is upon us, and it is time for the establishment to reap what it has sown.”

Yowza! Sounds like someone was off their meds.

The email had gone out in the name of PAC cofounder Dustin Stockton. He sent out another email Wednesday afternoon under the subject line “We went too far.”

Dustin Stockton “After seeing some of the crony handouts in the legislative deal yesterday I instructed our team not to pull their punches and portray the rage that we are justifiably feeling over just the latest example of Washington corruption,” Stockton wrote. “Although my name was at the bottom of that email it was not written by me and some of the rhetoric I felt went over the line. I’d like to apologize for that and since it had my name on it, ultimately it is my responsibility and I apologize for some of the more brash rhetoric.”

But delving into notpology territory, Stockton also wrote “the fact is that these politicians who are granted the sacred honor of representing our interests ARE whoring themselves out to lobbyists and special interests.”

“Our team is humbled and honored for the opportunity to dedicate our lives to fighting these evil bastards,” he wrote. “We only succeed when we responsibly represent your voice in our activism and our email earlier stepped over the line. We apologize for that, but not for calling it like we see it.”

Read the entire original email, after the jump…
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What they’re saying on the shutdown/debt deal

From House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio:

John Boehner“The House has fought with everything it has to convince the president of the United States to engage in bipartisan negotiations aimed at addressing our country’s debt and providing fairness for the American people under ObamaCare. That fight will continue. But blocking the bipartisan agreement reached today by the members of the Senate will not be a tactic for us. In addition to the risk of default, doing so would open the door for the Democratic majority in Washington to raise taxes again on the American people and undo the spending caps in the 2011 Budget Control Act without replacing them with better spending cuts. With our nation’s economy still struggling under years of the president’s policies, raising taxes is not a viable option. Our drive to stop the train wreck that is the president’s health care law will continue. We will rely on aggressive oversight that highlights the law’s massive flaws and smart, targeted strikes that split the legislative coalition the president has relied upon to force his health care law on the American people.”

From U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.:

Barbara Boxer“Bipartisanship in the Senate is leading America out of a painful, partisan, self-inflicted crisis. Relief doesn’t begin to describe my feelings at this moment in history as the Senate came together not a moment too soon.

“During the 16-day government shutdown I worked to show through my committee chairmanship and as a Senator of the largest state in the country just how painful the shutdown has been to millions of Americans, and how we should never again go through another government shutdown or even a flirtation with a devastating default.

“There are many issues that divide Republicans and Democrats, but the one thing I trust this outcome ensures is that we will always keep the government open, pay our bills and work together.”

From Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose:

honda.jpg“I am pleased that cooler heads in the Senate have prevailed with a bipartisan deal that allows the federal government to reopen, albeit temporarily, and removes the specter of reaching the debt ceiling until February.

“Obstructionist Tea Party Republicans held the government and the American people hostage for sixteen days and threatened the full faith and credit of the United States, all in a misguided, failed effort to deny millions of Americans access to healthcare. This process has done lasting damage to the public’s trust in Congress, as governing should not involve lurching from one manufactured crisis to the next in the hopes of extracting concessions in exchange for not destroying the economy.

“Today’s agreement sets a winter deadline that some may use to take us to the brink yet again. I believe we must permanently reform this process, and will be working to build support among my colleagues for my legislation, H.R. 233, that will end the brinksmanship and threat of default by creating a smooth process for raising the debt limit. This is the kind of structural change we need for economic stability in the future.”

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Miller: Petition might be last option to avert ruin

An effort to force a House vote on a “clean” continuing resolution to re-open the federal government “may become the parachute that saves us from crashing” if other plans fall through in the next day or so, Rep. George Miller said Tuesday afternoon.

George MillerA plan for the House to vote Tuesday evening on a GOP proposal to raise the debt limit and reopen the government appears to be on the rocks. House Republicans appear split on whether to support it, and the Democrat-led Senate probably wouldn’t pass it anyway because it would fund the government only through mid-December and it’s predicated on a tweak to the national health insurance law.

Senate leaders had been inching toward a deal of their own Monday, but that was put on hold Tuesday pending the House vote. If the Senate can’t return to the bargaining table, that leaves little time before Thursday’s deadline – after which the government loses its ability to borrow and won’t be able to pay its bills, triggering chaos in the world’s financial markets.

Democrats on Oct. 4 announced they would start a discharge petition to force a vote on a clean continuing resolution, but due to procedural requirements, they couldn’t start gathering signatures until Saturday. As of Tuesday afternoon, 196 Democrats had signed but no Republicans; 218 signatures are needed to force a vote.

House Democrats have been pressing 30 specific Republicans – who have voiced their distaste for their party’s shutdown strategy and said they would vote for a clean CR – to sign the discharge petition.

“They have not (signed) yet – they’re in negotiations, and this is a very heavy lift to join a discharge petition against your own leadership,” Miller, D-Martinez, said Tuesday, but he’s convinced enough will sign if there’s no other way to avoid the impending fiscal disaster.

“We’re 48 hours away from having a dual image flash across the world: The United States government is shut down AND it’s about to default on its debt,” he said. “That is a catastrophic image for our country.”

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Shutdown: Glimmer of hope, calls to ease harm

Thursday afternoon brought some glimmer of progress toward ending the federal government shutdown, as well as California House members’ renewed calls to mitigate the shutdown’s harms.

From the office of House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio:

“This evening in the Roosevelt Room, the leaders laid out the House proposal to temporarily extend the debt limit, formally appoint budget negotiators, and begin immediate discussions over how to re-open the government. No final decisions were made; however, it was a useful and productive conversation. The President and leaders agreed that communication should continue throughout the night. House Republicans remain committed to good faith negotiations with the president, and we are pleased there was an opportunity to sit down and begin a constructive dialogue tonight.”

Meanwhile, 10 California Democrats took to the House floor today to complain of the damage that the shutdown is doing to the Golden State’s economy, even while there are enough House votes to reopen the government immediately.

Rep. Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, said the North Coast’s tourism economy is taking a beating as visitors are turned away from federal lands including Point Reyes National Seashore, Redwood National Park, and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, causing local businesses to lose money.

“Visitors from all over America, and in fact all over the world, come to the North Coast’s public lands. Thanks to the Republican shutdown much of that economic activity is grinding to a halt,” Huffman said. “Let’s stop posturing, let’s stop the PR stunts, let’s stop the ‘Hollywood storefronts,’ stop deflecting, and stop insulting the intelligence of the American people. Let’s have an up or down vote to reopen our public lands and, indeed, to reopen our government.”

Elsewhere, Rep. Eric Swalwell announced he and other Bay Area lawmakers are urging U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to ensure that employees at national laboratories –contract workers who facing furlough if the shutdown goes on much longer – will get back pay once the federal government reopens, just as the House already has approved for federal workers.

Swalwell, D-Pleasanton represents Lawrence Livermore and Sandia national laboratories in Livermore, where 7,500 government contractors will be furloughed without pay starting Oct. 18 if the shutdown doesn’t end first.

“National lab employees in Livermore should not have to suffer because of a shutdown caused by the Tea Party,” Swalwell said in a news release. “Lab employees are dedicated public servants who are supporting our country’s national and energy security, and just because their paychecks stop doesn’t mean their bills won’t keep coming.”

Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, represents the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Menlo Park, where 1,500 employees are at risk of being furloughed. “They are our nation’s premier scientists and engineers who daily are engaged in cutting-edge research that is changing the world,” Eshoo said.

And Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is in the district of Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland.

“Congress has moved to provide back pay to hundreds of thousands of federal employees across the country who continue to suffer furloughs due to the unnecessary Republican shutdown of the government,” Lee said. “The scientists, technicians, and workers at our national labs make enormous contributions to this nation, and they deserve to be paid for their work..”

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, is signing the letter too, as a longtime supporter of national lab and the fusion research conducted by the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore.

“We take pride in the cutting-edge advancements in our scientific research, but budget cuts and now a government shutdown are threatening these important undertakings,” Lofgren said. “It’s irresponsible political gamesmanship for Republicans to continue to refuse to put a clean funding bill before the House for a vote. If they did, it would pass, ending the harm that is being done to furloughed workers like these scientists and the vital research they are engaged in.”

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CA17: Khanna dings Honda for shutdown pay

The federal government’s shutdown, or at least whether House members should accept their pay while it lasts, has become an issue in the Democrat-on-Democrat battle for California’s 17th Congressional District.

Ro KhannaFormer Obama administration official Ro Khanna of Fremont informed the media Thursday that he’d sent a letter to Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, urging him to refuse his salary for the duration of the shutdown.

About 100 members of Congress – including Reps. Eric Swalwell, D-Pleasanton; Ami Bera, D-Rancho Cordova; John Garamendi, D-Fairfield; and Jeff Denham, R-Modesto, as well as Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein – have said either they won’t accept their pay or they’ll donate it to charity.

“There ought to be consequences for Congress’s inability to do its job. Members ought to be accountable to the taxpayers who pay their salaries,” Khanna wrote to Honda, noting California voters approved a 2010 ballot measure to deny state lawmakers their pay if they fail to pass a budget.

Refusing to accept a salary or pension contributions during the shutdown “would be a show of good faith to your constituents here in the 17th District who expect better from Congress and their own representative,” Khanna wrote.

honda.jpgHonda had issued a statement Wednesday saying “the next pay period for House members and staff is October 31st, and I will continue doing the work that the people of the 17th district sent me to Washington to do. Right now I am working with my colleagues in both parties to end this Tea Party-caused budget crisis.”

Asked Thursday whether Honda will accept that Oct. 31 paycheck in full or reject or forfeit some or all of it due to the shutdown, spokesman Anthony Kusich replied, “He’s taking his paycheck.”

UPDATE @ 6:25 P.M.: A commenter raises an interesting point: By saying Honda should forfeit his pay as a consequence of “Congress’ inability to do its job,” is Khanna blasting Honda for not compromising with Republicans who want to defund or delay Obamacare?

Khanna campaign spokesman Tyler Law declined to comment this evening. But I see from Khanna’s website that he believes “(e)veryone deserves access to healthcare. That is why I was a strong supporter of President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. That law already is expanding healthcare services to the vast majority of Americans. We need to keep moving forward, however, until care is universally available, with a higher assurance of quality and with more control on costs.”

So one can assume Khanna doesn’t disagree with Honda’s refusal to accede to GOP demands to gut or repeal the law. It’s also worth nothing that several local lawmakers who agreed to reject or donate their pay during the shutdown – including Swalwell, Garamendi, Boxer and Feinstein – are staunch Obamacare defenders, too.

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How shutdown hurts California programs & budget

California won’t take too much of a hit in the short term, but stands to lose a lot if the federal government shutdown lasts more than a brief time, according to the state Department of Finance.

Deputy Director H.D. Palmer said federal funds for unemployment insurance benefits, MediCal, and supplemental security income/state supplementary payment grants for the elderly, blind or disabled will continue uninterrupted.

But while there’s enough money to keep the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – formerly called food stamps – afloat through October for the 1.9 million California households that rely on it, that funding will dry up in November. It’s the same scenario for school nutrition programs that serve 4.5 million meals per day mostly to low-income students. And money for the Women, Infants and Children nutrition program will last only through late November. (I’d link to the SNAP and WIC programs, but the shutdown already has affected their web pages.)

“The longer this goes on, the greater uncertainty there will be for funding some of these programs,” Palmer said Tuesday.

Meanwhile, California – home to more federal employees than Washington, D.C., – will see a lot of government workers not drawing paychecks, and thus unable to spend their money in their communities or pay their bills. Communities near national parks such as Yosemite will suffer even more while those parks are shuttered, cutting off the tourist flow.

But the worst of it come if Congress refuses to raise the nation’s debt ceiling by Oct. 17 and the nation defaults on its debt, Palmer said. The resulting financial market instability could decimate the capital gains and stock options on which California depends for a huge chunk of its tax revenue, he said, blowing a big, red hole in a state budget that only recently was brought back into the black.