Shutdown Day 14: What you need to know
(CNN) — It’s now been two weeks. Government workers have received a reduced paycheck that reflects the furloughs, unemployment claims have skyrocketed, government-affiliated businesses are scrambling to stay afloat and states are dipping into their rainy day funds. Oh, and markets are extremely nervous as the debt limit deadline is just three days away. Now, it’s getting serious.
Meanwhile in Washington, Republicans and Democrats still have not reached a final agreement. But one Democratic senator says “we’re 70%, 80% there.”
Here’s what you need to know.
Up to speed
The ball is now in the Senate’s court. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his counterpart, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, have taken the reins in negotiations.
On the Senate floor Sunday evening, Reid struck a positive tone. “I’ve had a productive conversation with the Republican leader this afternoon. Our discussions were substantive, and we’ll continue those discussions. I’m optimistic about the prospects for a positive conclusion,” he said.
But the clock is ticking.
Reid, President Barack Obama and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi continue to demand that any proposal reopen the government and lift the debt ceiling with no strings attached.
McConnell on Sunday pushed a draft proposal by a bipartisan group of senators, led by Maine Republican Susan Collins, that would lift the debt ceiling until 2014, fund the government until March and postpone a tax on medical devices.
But Reid shot down that proposal, saying it treats opening the government as a “concession.”
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, who is part of the Collins group, sounded an optimistic tone Monday morning, saying “we’re 70%, 80% there.” He said they have a template, and leadership needs to finalize the details, including how much Congress is going to allocate to fund the government.
Wondering about what happened to Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, who appeared to be close to a deal last week? Those talks fell apart Saturday morning when the President rejected Boehner’s plan to lift the debt limit for only six weeks.
Investors are losing confidence in Washington. U.S. stock futures were moving lower ahead of the opening bell Monday as Washington’s stalemate continues.
U.S. Treasury markets are closed Monday because of Columbus Day. Tuesday could be a bad day for those markets if a deal isn’t worked out Monday.
Asian markets, which hold a high percentage of U.S. debt, are closed Monday. Again, Monday is a critical day for those markets as well.
European markets were mostly weaker in morning trading.
The top financial officials from around the world gathered in Washington over the weekend. And they were nervous about the U.S. inaction.
Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, said Saturday the consequences of a failure to raise the debt limit would be dire for economies around the world.
“You know, I’ve just spent the last two days with representatives of about 188 countries around the world. I wouldn’t say they are confident. I would say they are concerned, and they are very anxious to see this crisis resolved, because they know it’s going to impact on their economy,” Lagarde told CNN’s Richard Quest at an Institute of International Finance conference in Washington.
CNN’s Alison Kosik said that if the U.S. defaults on its debt, “interest rates for credit cards and student loans would spike as well, and payments from the government would go up.”
The number of the day: 3
At day 14, this is the third-longest government shutdown in American history, according to a Democratic assessment.
Protesters gathered Sunday at the World War II Memorial to protest its closure caused by the shutdown. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, whose demands to defund the President’s health care law were largely responsible for the shutdown, spoke at the event, as did former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Cruz said the closure of the memorial was a political ploy.
The rally, billed as the “Million Vet March on the Memorials,” drew far fewer than a million people and evolved into a protest that resembled familiar tea party events from 2009, with yellow “Don’t Tread on Me” flags throughout the crowd and strong anti-Obama language from the podium and the audience. And one speaker said the President should “put the Quran down,” implying that Obama is Muslim.
States step up
The state of New York dug into its own coffers to reopen the Statue of Liberty. New York state will pay $61,600 a day over the next several days from its tourism budget. Cuomo determined that the financial commitment was well worth it because of the economic gain to New York that the 10,000 daily tourists bring to the state and to local businesses.
In Utah, the state government is filling the federal government’s void. The state has reopened eight national parks and will pay the National Park Service up to $166,572 per day to do so.
Citizens step up
A local charity in Calvert County, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, is feeding the furloughed. Thirty percent of the county’s residents are government employees, and the local group End Hunger in Calvert County is distributing food to furloughed workers at a local food bank.