America is waking up to the first federal shutdown since the mid-'90s, and the more familiar sight of Democrats and Republicans squabbling. Both sides blame each other for the shutdown—with the Dems accusing the GOP of "extortion" to delay ObamaCare and the Republicans accusing their counterparts of refusing to negotiate—but the public believes the GOP is most at fault, according to a Washington Post poll. Just 26% approve of how the congressional GOP is handling the situation, the poll found, while 34% support Democratic lawmakers and 41% approve of President Obama's approach.
- Nancy Pelosi, saying that the fight was much bigger than ObamaCare, called John Boehner and his allies "anti-government ideologues" of the kind George Washington himself had warned of, Politico reports. "This is a proxy fight for really the debate on the extent of government and that has been a debate in the history of our country," she said. "But to say no government, that’s what President Washington cautioned against."
- Republicans blamed the shutdown on Democrats for failing to negotiate, with Sen. John Cornyn accusing Obama of being "absolutely allergic" to doing his job. "We know the president has been eager to negotiate with the president of Iran about a very serious issue, Iran’s nuclear aspirations, but he won’t talk to the speaker of the House of Representatives or the Republican leader of the US Senate," the Texas Republican said.
- But with some Republicans, including Maine Sen. Susan Collins, publicly disagreeing with the GOP's strategy, insiders say the White House sees little reason to give ground to the GOP. "This is Republican-on-Republican violence right now," a former senior administration official tells the Hill. "This has absolutely nothing to do with Democrats or the president. So all Obama has to do now is sit back.”
- The blame for the shutdown, however, can be spread a lot further than today's lawmakers, the AP finds in a look at the history of government shutdowns. On the way to today's mess, there was Carter-era AG Benjamin Civiletti, who ended the long-running "look the other way" policy for short-lived budget disputes; Newt Gingrich, whose "hissy fit" over being told to use the back door of Air Force One set the tone for the 1995-'96 government shutdown; and the Founding Fathers themselves, who gave Congress control over government spending.
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