government shutdown

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(Editor's note: This interview was first broadcast on November 14, 2013)

Polls following last month’s partial federal shutdown make it pretty clear: Americans are tired of both Republican and Democratic lawmakers. Two-thirds of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents disapproved of the shutdown. Fifty-seven percent of Americans were angry with the way Democrats handled the shutdown. In total, eight in 10 Americans say they oppose the shutdown.

user kulshrax / Flickr

Now that the 16-day government shutdown has been solved — at least for the time being — analysts are trying to assess the political cost of the standoff between the White House and congressional Democrats versus Republicans, who attempted to derail funding for the Affordable Care Act as a condition for funding the rest of the government.

As the standoff dragged on, the country slid towards a fiscal default, Americans aimed their fury at Congress. And though polls show many expressed anger at all parties in the standoff — from the President to, essentially, everyone in the House and Senate — the brunt of citizen anger appeared aimed at Republicans.

Lizzie Williams / Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce

Americans are less optimistic about the economy in the wake of the partial government shutdown earlier this month.

That information is coming from the University of Michigan’s "Index of Consumer Sentiment", which measures how confident consumers are in their economy.

Experts say the latest drop in consumer sentiment may impact the holiday shopping season.

From the Associated Press:

whitehouse.gov

After a partial government shutdown that lasted 16 days, an agreement was reached Wednesday night to reopen the government. While both Democratic senators from Michigan voted "yes" on the bill to end the shutdown and raise the debt ceiling, Republicans in the House were split. In today's Weekly Political Roundup, we check in with our political analysts Susan Demas and Ken Sikkema.

No winners on this one

"Polls indicate that this is not a popular move. Everybody took a hit, especially Republicans. They certainly came out the worst in all of this," said Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics. "So, that might be some incentive to not go down this road again, but unfortunately this has become the way that we do business in this country, whenever we have a debt limit or we have to fund the government this becomes a time a great brinksmanship where people want to try and get more of their agenda passed then we have in the past." 

Republicans' "fundamental mistake"

"I think Republicans made a fundamental mistake here in trying to negotiate either an end or major changes to the Affordable Care Act, which they call Obamacare," said Ken Sikkema, former Senate majority leader and senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants. "And, when you are in a negotiating position ... you don't ask the other side to give up on their most fundamentally held position.

"Republicans would have been better off if they had made their position something to do with entitlement reform, or debt reduction or maybe changes in the tax code because Democrats believe that all of those areas need change too. As long as they insist on tying this to de-funding Obamacare or ended Obamacare we are going to see the same result time after time, after time," said Sikkema.

Listen to the full interview above.

U.S. Congress / congress.gov

 Audio FileAn interview with David Shepardson the Washington reporter for the Detroit News.Edit | Remove

Last night, the U.S. House approved a Senate-backed plan to reopen the federal government, bringing an end to the 16-day partial government shutdown. The U.S. government is once again open for business — at least until mid-January.

Last night's vote ended the shutdown through January 15, and raised the debt ceiling till February 7 (and perhaps a month longer).

But that vote divided Michigan's Republican members of Congress.

Joining us from Washington, D.C. is David Shepardson, the Washington reporter for the Detroit News. 

Listen to the full interview above.

primerates.com

Last night’s vote to end the federal government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling divided Michigan’s Republican congress.

The legislation reopens the government through Jan. 15th and permits the U.S. Treasury to borrow normally through Feb. 7th or perhaps a month longer.
 

Congress faced a midnight deadline Thursday. That's when U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew had said the government would reach the current $16.7 trillion debt limit and could no longer borrow to meet its obligations.

When you grab a bottle of water at the grocery store, do you ever wonder where that water came from.

And do you really know the quality of that water? We found out if it's really better than what comes out of your tap.

And, as the use of meth makes headlines across the state, we talked to one woman about her recovery and what she's doing for other addicts.

And, we traveled to the Headlands International Dark Sky Park near Mackinac City, one of only 10 designated sky parks in the entire world.

Also, musician Matt Jones talked about his newest work and overcoming a challenging year.

First on the show, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reed (D-Nev.) says a bipartisan deal has been reached, a deal that would avoid a U.S. default and it would end the partial government shutdown. 

Speaking on the senate floor, Reed thanked Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for working out the agreement, an agreement to reopen the government through January 15th and increase the nation’s borrowing authority through February 7th. 

Now though the deal’s in place the House and Senate still need to vote to approve the legislation.

Michigan Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow joined us today to give us her perspective on the issue.

Senator Debbie Stabenow
Photo courtesy of www.stabenow.senate.gov

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reed (D-Nev.) says a bipartisan deal has been reached, a deal that would avoid a U.S. default and it would end the partial government shutdown.

Speaking on the senate floor, Reed thanked Republican leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for working out the agreement, an agreement to reopen the government through January 15th and increase the nation’s borrowing authority through February 7th.

Now that the deal’s in place the House and Senate still need to vote to approve the legislation.

Michigan Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow joined us today to give us her perspective on the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

USFWSmidwest / Flickr

Construction for the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge’s new visitor center has been delayed, due to the ongoing partial federal government shutdown.

As the Associated Press’s David Runk reported, construction for the refuge’s 12,000 square foot center was slated to begin Wednesday, but the temporary hold on federal funds postponed the project.

The Michigan House of Representatives.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

With the federal shutdown in its third week, the state is taking its first step toward laying off thousands of public employees.

Michigan budget officials are asking state departments to determine which programs need to be shut down if federal funding isn’t restored before November.
 
“We really didn’t think we would be at this point,” said Kurt Weiss, a spokesperson for the state budget office. “And neither did the rest of the states. They’re all in the same boat we are, across the country, which is putting together contingency plans to start shutting programs down – which is certainly not something that I would call commonplace.”

Weiss estimates 15,000 to 20,000 state workers would probably be affected.

“We do anticipate a pretty widespread impact across all state agencies that are going to have some employees that are either partially or fully federally funded,” said Weiss. “So these contingency plans are going to tell us which of those folks need to stay home come November 1st.”

Weiss says programs and workers that help Michigan’s poorest residents receive a disproportionate amount of federal dollars. He says agencies such as the state Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) will be hardest hit if the shutdown lasts much longer.

http://www.house.gov/levin/

Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress are still at odds over federal spending, on this, the 14th day of the partial government shutdown.

In weekend discussions, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid and Republican leader Mitch McConnell could not reach a deal to raise the nation's borrowing authority. Stocks are lower as the nation moves to a potentially disastrous default on its debt.

Democratic Congressman Sander Levin joined us today to talk about the latest in the impasse.

Listen to the full interview above.

Canada is dumping its garbage in Michigan. We took a look at why it's so cheap to haul trash over the border and the political reasons making it hard to stop.

And, we celebrated the 80th anniversary of the drive-in movie theater. Did you know Michigan once had more than 100 drive-ins? Today just a hand full are still in operation.

Also, Amtrak is making some improvements. We spoke with Tim Hoeffner of the Michigan Department of Transportation about what Michigan train passengers can expect.

And, Michael Stern from Roadfood.com, and frequent guest on The Splendid Table, stopped by to tell us about his recent trip to the Upper Peninsula and the culinary marvels he found up there.

But, first on the show, Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress are still at odds over federal spending on this, the 14th day of the partial government shutdown. In weekend discussions, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid and Republican leader Mitch McConnell could not reach a deal to raise the nation's borrowing authority. Stocks are lower as the nation moves to a potentially disastrous default on its debt. Democratic Congressman Sander Levin joined us today to talk about the impasse.

Staring at default

Oct 14, 2013

Many years ago, when I studied economics, I learned that every so often, Congress has to authorize an increase in how much money the nation could borrow, meaning the national debt.

One student asked what would happen if Congress didn’t authorize a debt increase. “Something that would make the Great Depression look like a picnic,” the professor said.

He explained that the world financial system was built on the soundness of the American dollar, and the global belief that our debts, like U.S. savings bonds and the $20 bill, were backed by the “full faith and credit” of the United States of America. He also told us that the odds of this nation ever defaulting were less than a nuclear war.

Well, that professor is dead and the Cold War long over. But for the first time, there seems a real possibility that we could, at least temporarily, go into default. We aren’t talking about Detroit here, but the United States of America.

Technical problems stop Michigan food stamp purchases

Oct 12, 2013
User mytvdinner / Flickr

Michigan residents in a federal food program are being denied purchases with their debit-style cards because of technical problems.

Dave Akerly, a spokesman for the state Department of Human Services, says it's a problem Saturday between retailers and Xerox, the company that provides high-tech services. The glitch extends beyond Michigan to at least 16 other states.

Grocery cart
user mytvdinner / Flickr

The federal shutdown is hitting struggling Michigan families where they live.

At first, panicked calls flooded into Washtenaw County health services, says Karen Lewis.

She helps run the Women, Infants and Children program (WIC), which help low-income moms get milk, bread, vegetables and fruit for their kids.

Every month, the county serves some 5,000 families who look to WIC, says Lewis.

Foster Farms website

Michigan is among 18 states affected by an outbreak of salmonella.

Two of the nearly 300 confirmed cases of salmonella are in Michigan.

The outbreak has been traced to a California chicken producer, Foster Farms.

A partial shutdown of the federal government shutdown is now in day eight. There doesn’t appear to be a resolution in sight which leaves over 800,000 federal employees out of work. That includes people at the U.S. Attorney General’s office in Detroit. Today we talk with Barbara McQuade, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. Thirty out of almost 200 people are furloughed at her office. 

"That's having an impact on the litigation mission of our office. Most of our criminal litigators are still here handling criminal cases, but it's our civil docket that's really taking a hit," said McQuade.

"Our people are working without pay, which is having a big impact, as you can image, on morale. The people that are furloughed are not being paid, but even the people who are here working are not being paid."

Listen to the full interview above.

University of Michigan Health System / University of Michigan

As we get into the second week of the partial government shutdown, and with the debt ceiling debate looming ever closer, more voices are being raised in warning and concern over how the shutdown is impacting our daily lives.

One of those voices is that of Dr. Ora Pescovitz.  Pescovitz is the CEO of the University of Michigan Health System, and the executive Vice President for Medical Affairs.

How is the shutdown affecting medical research at the University of Michigan? Is life-saving research falling victim to the debate down in Washington, D.C.?

Pescovitz talked to us about the shutdown’s damage to research.

Listen to the full interview above. 

user Rhonda Noren / Flickr

One of the memorable images from the first week of the government shutdown was the World War II veterans, who pushed their way into the closed-down National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Now, those images are being repeated in Michigan.

The federal shutdown has hit parks, refuges, visitor centers, campgrounds and most park roads.

But don't think for a moment that dysfunction and stalemate in Washington is going to keep folks from enjoying the peak of fall colors in the Upper Peninsula.

John Pepin, a writer for Marquette’s Mining Journal joins us to discuss Michigan parks affected by the shutdown, and those who won’t let a shutdown stop them from seeing the state’s natural side. 

Listen to the full interview above. 

There’s a new report that may help explain why Michigan isn’t feeling as big an impact from the federal government shutdown as other states.

Michigan ranks 41st on a new survey of how the shutdown affects the fifty states and the District of Columbia.

The survey is by WalletHub.com. John Kiernan is a senior analyst at WalletHub.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Updated 12p.m.

This morning,  Grand Rapids businessman Brian Ellis told supporters he’s challenging Congressman Justin Amash (R-Grand Rapids) because Amash “has failed to advance a conservative agenda.”

“This race is about a district that expects and deserves to be represented by a true social and fiscal conservative” Ellis said.

It only took thirty seconds for Ellis to mention his rival.

“I’m standing here today because I have very different views from Justin Amash,” Ellis said.

It turns out Ellis and Amash have some similar views. They both are not fans of the new health care law, both think the federal government needs to get its spending under control, and they’re both pro-life.

But Ellis says Amash doesn’t vote like the principled conservative he claims to be.

“Well anybody can say, like Justin, that he’s conservative, but he has a voting record and it doesn’t line up,” Ellis explained to reporters after his announcement.

Ellis points to a few of times Amash voted “present.” One bill would’ve defunded Planned Parenthood and another would’ve backed the Keystone Pipeline. Ellis also pointed out that Amash voted against conservative budgets for the 2013 and 2014 fiscal years and against the Small Business Tax Cut Act.

Amash, as usual, defends his votes on these and other bills on his Facebook page.

Ellis says he’d act on his conservative principles and would be a better collaborator in Washington than Amash.

“I’ve had to build consensus through the years in my time on the school board. I worked very hard at that. And so we were able to move forward even when we have differences of opinion and I’m proud of that,” Ellis said.

Ellis owns an investment firm and served on the East Grand Rapids school board for fourteen years.

East Grand Rapids schools Superintendent Sara Shubel says she came out to support Ellis as a friend.

Shubel says Amash doesn’t seem to be able to get things done.

“I do not see (Amash) as a collaborator and I do see Brian and I’ve engaged with him for many years on multiple levels and he has the ability to compromise which is a very important skill that you’re going to have to have in this position,” Shubel said.

Shubel says Ellis is passionate about having quality public education for all students and understands what districts are struggling with.

Amash was not available to comment on this story.

 

Posted 10:45a.m.

An investment firm manager will challenge Congressman Justin Amash in the Republican primary next year.

Brian Ellis announced his candidacy Tuesday among supporters at a hotel in Grand Rapids.

In a written statement, Ellis said Amash has “turned back on conservative principles.”

“Congressman Justin Amash has turned his back on our conservative principles by voting against the Paul Ryan Budget that would cut spending by $5 trillion, and against a 20% tax cut for small businesses,” Brian Ellis said.

“Congressman Amash refused to vote in favor of the Keystone Pipeline and he even voted to allow our tax dollars to fund America’s largest abortion provider.”

Ellis is president and founder of the investment firm Brooktree Capital Management, and has served on the East Grand Rapids Board of Education.

In a piece Ellis wrote for MLive today, he expanded on why he supports the expansion of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The reelection chances of three Michigan congressmen might be hurt by the federal government shutdown.

The poll numbers show Republican Congressmen Tim Walberg, Kerry Bentivolio and Dan Benishek all trailing significantly behind a generic Democratic opponent. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is warning that lawmakers are "playing with fire" and he’s asking Congress to pass legislation to re-open the government and to increase the nation’s debt limit.

Lew says President Obama has no intentions of linking either bill to Republican demands to change the health care law. This comes as Republican House Speaker John Boehner rules out a House vote on a temporary spending bill without concessions from the President.

That’s where things stand as the government shutdown moves into its second week.

Democratic Representative Dan Kildee joined us today from Washington D.C.

We asked him whether Democrats like it or not, don’t voters expect some type of negotiation - some type of compromise - from both sides?

You can listen to our interview with him above.

A recent report from Moody's suggests the future is very uncertain for public universities. Today we talked about the future of public universities in Michigan.

And, poet Keith Taylor stopped by the studios to introduce us to some Michigan must-reads for the month of October.

Also, despite our troubled economy, Michigan franchises are going strong. We spoke to DBusiness editor R.J. King about the 2013 Michigan Franchise Report.

First on the show, it’s Day Seven of the partial government shutdown.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is warning that lawmakers are “playing with fire” and he’s asking Congress to pass legislation to re-open the government, and to increase the nation’s debt limit.

Lew says President Obama has no intentions of linking either bill to Republican demands to change the health care law.

This comes as Republican House Speaker John Boehner rules out a House vote on a temporary spending bill without concessions from the President.

So, that’s where things stand as the government shutdown moves into its second week. Michigan Democratic Representative Dan Kildee joined us from D.C. to discuss the issue. 

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The federal government shutdown could soon start affecting Michigan’s real estate industry.

The problem is government agencies that verify the identities and tax returns of people taking out mortgages are closed by the shutdown. That means banks and mortgage companies are unable to finish their paperwork on home loans.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

The shutdown and Michigan

"If the federal government shutdown goes beyond this week, there could be serious consequences for the federal justice system. Federal courts will run out of funding to deal with anything “non-essential” on October 15th. Then some court staff will be furloughed, while others will work unpaid," Sarah Cwiek reports.

And Steve Carmody reports, the shutdown could soon affect Michigan's real estate industry.

"Government agencies that verify the identities and tax returns of people taking out mortgages are closed by the shutdown. That means multiple home sales could be held up because of the paperwork problem caused by the government shutdown."

Snyder in Toronto

"Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is visiting Toronto for a speech to the Council of the Great Lakes Region and meetings with Ontario business and government leaders," the Associated Press reports.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Each week, I review the news with political analyst Jack Lessenberry.

This week we discuss how the government shutdown will affect Michigan, new endorsements in the Detroit mayor's race, and the state agreement to fund Belle Isle.

A crisis is a terrible thing to waste. So, in the midst of the partial government shutdown, it seems everyone has taken turns placing blame. It’s the Senator Ted Cruz shutdown, the Obama shutdown, the Tea Party shutdown.

The point here is not to own the shutdown, but to make someone else own it – to personalize it and dump it on the other side. We’re not talking about the policy side of it here, but how political operations are using the shutdown.

For example, here in Michigan, Democratic Party fundraising messages are calling it “Terry Lynn Land’s shutdown.” She has shut down the government, apparently, while still merely a candidate for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination.

And, as the federal government grinds to a standstill, political fundraisers and message-makers are working overtime. This is an environment that is, as they say, target rich. There are people whose jobs are to take these moments that command people’s attention, incite passion, anger, frustration, and turn them into campaign cash and memorable political messages.

But when everyone’s talking about the same thing, it can also be difficult to break through the cacophony. And a lot of people seem to be working off the same talking points. Democrats have one set: critical services in peril; a country held hostage by the Tea Party. Republicans, another: Democrats did this. They won’t negotiate.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The federal government shutdown is threatening a project at Michigan State University that could be critical to the future of agriculture in the U.S.

It’s one of many university research projects affected by the shutdown.

U.S. Congress / congress.gov

It's Day Three of the government shutdown — with no compromise in sight. 

Late Tuesday, President Barack Obama met with Vice President Joe Biden, Speaker of the House John Boehner, Minority House Leader Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Harry Reid, and Sen. McConnell. That meeting yielded nothing that we know of in terms of solving the impasse.

Meantime, Americans continue to express their anger at all sides involved in this stalemate.

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