No, there’s no end to the shutdown, yet. Both sides are still partying like it’s 1996. But, there are a couple of new developments that, hopefully, will soon bring some needed relief to federal workers and to the world’s economy.
First, a bipartisan bill has been introduced by Reps. Jim Moran (D-VA) and Frank Wolf (R-VA) that would give federal employees back-pay to make up for wages lost during the shutdown.
Second, the NY Times reports that House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) had privately told Republican colleagues that he will not allow the federal government to default on its debt payments.
Hopefully, both will come to pass so the pin can be put back into the grenade. Here, then, are the rest of today’s developments:
- White House officials’ biggest fear about the debt ceiling … Is that Tea Party fervor is giving Republicans false hope about President Obama’s seriousness about not negotiating to enable the country to pay the bills Congress already authorized. According to senior officials, the President feels strongly that such a compromise would cede too much power to the Legislative branch, so he is adamant about his non-negotiation stance.
- Treasury Secretary Jack Lew released a report outlining the potential consequences of defaulting on American debt, including:
- Plummeting value of the dollar
- Skyrocketing interest rates
- Freezing of the credit markets
All of which would lead to a global economic meltdown. On the domestic political front, reaching the debt limit would mean Social Security checks would stop. That should go over well with the electorate.
- Federal contractors sit and wait like government employees … To find out what will happen to contracts once a deal is reached to re-open the government. Will appropriation be the same? Will contracts be amended? Who knows?
- Meanwhile, the greatest risk resides on the shoulders of small contractors … That may not have the cash reserves to sustain a protracted shutdown.
- Finally, some businesses actually do better during a shutdown …
- Many area restaurants and bars are seeing heavier traffic from federal employees, who are looking for some commiseration. The Washington City Paper is also keeping an updated list of local specials for furloughed employees.
Other businesses, like Old Town hotels are experiencing large numbers of cancellations as would-be tourists make plans to visit other cities.
The Australian Parliament brought about a government shutdown in 1975, which prompted Queen Elizabeth II’s official representative, Sir John Kerr, to fire the Prime Minister. A new Prime Minister was quickly appointed, and a revised bill reauthorizing government funding passed in record time. Kerr then promptly fired the entire Parliament, and new national elections were held.
Now, THAT’s a solution pretty much every American could get behind!