For the first time in 17 years, the federal government has officially shutdown. Late last night, the Administration released a memo to all federal agencies advising them to execute their contingency plans (an agency-by-agency list is available here).
Yesterday the Senate passed a bill that would fund the government through November 15, 2013, but would make no changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). (More information on the Senate vote is available here.) Last night, by a vote of 228-201, the House passed legislation that would keep the government open through December 15, 2013, but would delay the ACA’s individual mandate requirement and would eliminate health insurance subsidies for Members of Congress, Congressional staff, the President, the Vice President, and political appointees. By a vote of 54-46 the Senate voted to table, or kill, the legislation.
Following the latest Senate action, the House voted to formally request a conference committee with the Senate. (Conference committees are joint House-Senate committees that are created to resolve disagreements between the House and Senate versions of a given bill.) House Speaker Boehner (R-OH) appointed the following members to the conference committee: House Majority Leader Cantor (R-VA-7), Ways and Means Chairman Camp (R-MI-4), House Budget Committee Chairman Ryan (R-WI-1), House Appropriations Chairman Rogers (R-KY-5), Representative Frelinghuysen (R-NJ-11), Representative Crenshaw (R-FL-4), Representative Carter (R-TX-31), and Representative Graves (R-GA-14). House Democrats have not appointed conferees. The Senate voted to table the request for conferees.
While the House and Senate cannot seem to agree on terms to fund the entire government, both chambers have passed H.R. 3210, legislation that would provide payment through the government shutdown for members of the Armed Forces (including reserve personnel) and civilian Department of Defense (DoD) employees and contractors whom the DoD Secretary determines are providing support to members of the Armed Forces. The legislation passed the House by a unanimous vote, the Senate passed the bill by a voice vote, and was signed into law by President Obama last night.
At this point, both the House and the Senate appear at a stalemate. Until Members of Congress can reach some agreement, the government shutdown will remain in place. We will continue to update this blog as events unfold.