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Merging Spending and Debt Debates Means Shutdown Likely to Last 2 Weeks

Signs grew clearer today that the debates about reopening the government, raising the debt limit and setting spending levels for the next year are being rolled into one. And one unspoken consequence is that the partial shutdown, now in its third day, looks increasingly likely to stay in effect for the next two weeks – until the Treasury’s deadline for either gaining more borrowing authority or defaulting.

Senior congressional Republicans and Democrats are conceding it makes little policy or political sense to put much more effort into finding votes for a continuing resolution lasting only a few weeks, when the even more consequential debt ceiling must be confronted almost immediately after.

GOP conservatives still believe they can win concessions from President Barack Obama — on both entitlement curbs and curtailing Obamacare — as part of a double-barrel bargain on both spending and borrowing. The president forcefully rebutted that expectation this morning.

“Let me be clear: There will be no more negotiating,” he told a friendly crowd assembled at construction company in suburban Rockville, Md., echoing the message he delivered last night to the four top congressional leaders during a meeting in the Oval Office that seemed only to harden the standoff in all corners. His message to the GOP, the president said: “You don’t get a reward for keeping the government running, and you don’t get a reward for keeping the economy running.”

Read More on Roll Call: Merging Spending and Debt Debates Means Shutdown Likely to Last 2 Weeks

Capitol Police: Protecting and Serving Without Pay

When gunshots rang out Thursday, hundreds of Capitol Police officers sprang into action. Yet their paycheck for the work done on the traumatic day isn’t guaranteed, thanks to the government shutdown.

Gunshots reported on Capitol Hill sent Capitol Police into swift action around 2:25 p.m. on Thursday, immediately implementing a lockdown of the complex and putting into motion hundreds of law enforcement officers to protect the Capitol.

Patrol officers joined Secret Service units and other law enforcement agencies in pursuit of a black car that appeared headed for the Capitol after attempting to breach White House security.

Read More on Roll Call: Capitol Police: Protecting and Serving Without Pay

Immigration Policy and the Inalienable Rights of ‘Non-Citizens’

California is about to embrace one of the most progressive state immigration policies in the nation. A bill expected to be signed by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown and legislation enacted earlier this year will expand the rights of non-citizens in ways considered unimaginable a few years ago.

These historic measures will permit certain non-citizens in California to sit on juries, monitor the polls during elections in which they may not vote and even be licensed to practice law. These sweeping changes are among many passed across the nation this year as states have begun to seriously reexamine their immigration policies in the wake of a 2012 landmark Supreme Court decision.
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Democrats Mull Divulging Emails With Boehner Staff as Shutdown Fight Gets Personal

Senate Democrats are considering leaking a series of emails between the chiefs of staff of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Speaker John A. Boehner regarding employer contributions to congressional staff health care plans, multiple top-level sources said late Monday.

Senate Democratic chiefs of staff discussed the emails between Reid chief David Krone and Boehner chief Mike Sommers at a recent meeting, according to a source with direct knowledge of the meeting.

Leaking the emails would be unusual, given the taboo over disclosing personal communications between top staffers. But the missives also would reveal Boehner’s position on employer subsidies for congressional staff. Democrats believe the Ohio Republican’s decision to attach an amendment to revoke those contributions to the most recent House continuing resolutionwas a direct shot at vulnerable Senate Democrats up in 2014.

Read More on Roll Call: Democrats Mull Divulging Emails With Boehner Staff as Shutdown Fight Gets Personal

Last-Ditch CR Effort by House Faces Certain Senate Rejection

Updated 1:35 a.m. | Now locked in a budget standoff during a government shutdown, House Republicans passed a face-saving measure early Tuesday morning that would request a conference with the Senate on the continuing resolution to fund the government.

Speaker John A. Boehner told reporters early Tuesday morning that Republicans want to keep the government open but want “basic fairness” for the American people under Obamacare.

The House agreed to the motion to conference in a 228-199 vote with seven Democrats joining most Republicans in support of the tactic. Nine Republicans rejected the resolution.

The motion to conference would ask the Senate to agree to the House’s last offer — which included a one-year delay of Obamacare’s individual mandate and a provision eliminating health benefits for members of Congress and their staff — and attempt to move the House and Senate to negotiate sizable differences on the CR.

But the proposal is going nowhere, according to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Read More on Roll Call: Last-Ditch CR Effort by House Faces Certain Senate Rejection