Government Shutdownpocalypse Live-blog: Day 1

Photo: Warner Bros.

Chaos in the streets. Rioting. Cannibalism.

None of these things are actually happening; even though the federal government began a shutdown at midnight, government agencies are still providing essential functions and everything is pretty calm. Nevertheless, as Congress hopefully stumbles toward some kind of solution to its latest embarrassing impasse, we’ll be keeping track of everything that’s going on with the government shutdown right here. 

1:28 a.m.: Federal employees can get a free small popcorn from AMC movie theaters. On second thought, this shutdown was totally worth it.

9:40 p.m.: Three bills that would have restored funding to national parks, veterans’ services, and the city of Washington, D.C., failed in House. The Republicans devised the measures as a way to take pressure off their party by reopening some of the most visible and popular parts of the federal government.

The vote this evening required a two-thirds majority, and Republicans may bring the bills up tomorrow under a different rule that would only call for a simple majority. Adam Jentleson, a spokesman for Harry Reid, said the bills aren’t going anywhere, explaining, “Senate Democrats won’t be forced to choose between cancer patients and national parks.”

In the meantime, Republicans have a new line of attack:

5:52 p.m.: Ten House Republicans, or perhaps as many as fourteen, now say they would vote for a “clean” continuing resolution. Of course, they won’t get a chance to until John Boehner decides to bring it to the floor. 

5:38 p.m.: President Obama would veto the “piecemeal” approach to funding the government now being floated by the GOP. Like O-Town, he wants it all, or nothing at all. 

5:32 p.m.: Despite what the De Blasio campaign wants you to think (see the 2:58 p.m. update), Joe Lhota doesn’t approve of the shutdown, nor is he a fan of the extremist House Republicans who made it happen:

“You do not hold up the operations of a government by having and letting these extremists run the house,” he said, lamenting a lost sense of “camaraderie” between members. “What they’re doing in Washington is — use any word — unconscionable. It’s nowhere near a reflection of what this country is all about.”

5:25 p.m.: People like the aforementioned James Woods or Houston Chronicle blogger Kathleen Mckinley just can’t imagine the downside to shutting down a large chunk of the federal government. Does this count?

At the National Institutes of Health, nearly three-quarters of the staff was furloughed. One result: director Francis Collins said about 200 patients who otherwise would be admitted to the NIH Clinical Center into clinical trials each week will be turned away. This includes about 30 children, most of them cancer patients, he said.

4:58 p.m.: Two kids at a presser with House Democrats today held a couple of signs which read, “You ruined our vacation” and “This is my educational trip.” Sure, they can’t visit most museums or monuments today, but what could be more educational than witnessing Washington’s trademark clusterfucking firsthand? Best trip ever, more like. 

4:33 p.m.: One legitimately great side effect of the shutdown: Fewer KKK rallies. If you vote to end the shutdown, you are pro-Klan.

4:11 p.m.: Eat your vegetables. Exercise. We’re only telling you this because Michelle Obama might not be able to for a while

3:35 p.m.: Just in case you were wondering, James Woods is very pro-shutdown:

3:24 p.m.: The shutdown may be painful for millions of Americans but it’s worth it because Obamacare and freedom and GOOD LORD THEYRE CANCELING FOOTBALL. ABORT SHUTDOWN. WE REPEAT: ABORT SHUTDOWN

3:13 p.m.: Dick Durbin, the number-two Democrat in the senate, sounds pretty psyched about the GOP’s nascent proposal to fund only national parks and D.C. as a way to prove that they are the one party that doesn’t despise our nation’s World War II veterans.

Sen. Ted Cruz is now going to pick his favorite federal agencies to reopen? Come on,” Durbin said. “Let’s get serious about this. There are a lot of agencies of government that need to be open. I’d suggest opening all of them.” 

2:58 p.m.: The De Blasio campaign is trying to make the shutdown an issue in the mayoral race. In a news release online, the campaign quotes Lhota as once telling a tea-party group, “My philosophical issues are very close to yours in many, many ways.” The release then goes on to list all the bad things that are happening in New York City because of the shutdown, which are all Joe Lhota’s fault, because of that thing he said. 

2:45 p.m.: A total of eight House Republicans now publicly support a clean continuing resolution — that is, one which would continue funding the government without making any kind of unrelated political demands like delaying Obamacare. There are 232 Republicans in the House. 

2:00 p.m.: Fox News is referring to it as a “slimdown,” while Michele Bachmann likes to call it a “slowdown.” The Onion is going with “hoedown.”

1:53 p.m.: Via Kevin Roose

Wasn’t the House GOP’s hostage-taking supposed to tank the markets? Actually, the mild stock rally we’ve seen today (Dow up 58 points) is fairly predictable. What’s happening is that the markets, which are scared to death of a debt-ceiling breach and a default on U.S. government debt, think that the shutdown makes a deal to raise the debt ceiling more likely. (Logic: The longer the shutdown lasts, the more pain it will inflict, the less bargaining leverage the House GOP will have, the more they’ll be tempted to concede on the debt-ceiling deal.) “Now that the shutdown is a reality, people are starting to anticipate some sort of [debt-ceiling] settlement,” Colin Cieszynski, senior market analyst at CMC Markets, told the WSJ.

1:40 p.m.: Google wasn’t trying to be subversive with today’s doodle of national parks, which are currently closed to people who didn’t fight in World War II. “The timing today is an unfortunate coincidence,” a spokesperson says

1:36 p.m.: Here’s what Democrats (blue) and Republicans (red) in Congress have been tweeting over the past 24 hours, courtesy of the NYU Social Media and Political Participation (SMaPP) laboratory:

1:33 p.m.: Washington Post: “Privately, senior Republicans predicted that the closure would last at least a week.”

1:27 p.m.: Jonathan Chait imagines a centrist Republican coup against John Boehner that saves America. 

1:25 p.m.: In a Rose Garden statement just now, President Obama marveled at the GOP’s priorities. “I know it is strange that one party would make keeping people uninsured the centerpiece of their agenda, but that apparently is what it is,” he said. He also repeatedly referred to the shutdown as the “Republican shutdown.”

1:00 p.m.: On CNN just now, Newt Gingrich offered his objective take on the shutdown: “It’s a total disgrace that the president of the United States is deliberately taking on WWII veterans to cause maximum pain.”

12:46 p.m.: Voyager 2 has had enough, is leaving solar system in search of better civilization:

12:42 p.m.: “Pretty much [Mississippi congressman Steven] Palazzo just opened the barricade and we followed him in,” said a member of the WWII veterans’ crew.

12:21 p.m.: Sure, why not.

12:14 p.m.: Iowa congressman Steve King, another strong proponent of shutting down the government, reportedly helped the veterans break into the memorial, which would have been open as usual if it were not for people like Steve King.

12:08 p.m.: More background on those rogue World War II veterans, who flew up from Mississippi this morning on an Honor Flight trip. “Organizers said they will get the veterans as close to each memorial as possible and call on the local delegation to help show the veterans a good time,” Gulf Live reported earlier today. Instead, the veterans removed a barricade and walked right on in. 

12:01 p.m.: Don’t worry, veterans: Michele Bachmann, one of the most enthusastic proponents of the shutdown, is on her way to help you visit the monument she helped close. 

11:54 a.m.: World War II veterans from Mississippi have reportedly stormed the closed World War II memorial, officially DGAF about the shutdown. 

11:29 a.m.: Senators have to go outside to get lunch. Who says Congress isn’t feeling any pain from the shutdown?

11:13 a.m.: Go to It’s better than you’d expect.

11:01 a.m.: Cher is not pleased. 

10:52 a.m.: 2016 alert: Rand Paul is still not as crazy as Ted Cruz.

“I think what we could do is pass a very short term, maybe not six weeks, but what about one week, so we could negotiate over a week,” the Kentucky Republican told CNN’s “New Day.” “I think a continuing bill to keep the government open while we negotiate is a good idea. I do agree that negotiating with the government closed probably to [Democrats] appears like strong-arm tactics.”

10:35 a.m.: Via Jonathan Chait: It’s really hard to win a public message fight when members of your own party are publicly subverting your position. There’s been a constant drip and it won’t stop until Republicans lose.

10:33 a.m.: Furloughed federal workers aren’t even allowed to voluntarily continue working for free, thanks to the Anti-Deficiency Act of 1884

10:18 a.m.: President Obama released a letter to federal workers, letting them know how much they are appreciated, at least by him.

10:12 a.m.: Smart take by a Houston Chronicle blogger:

10:02 a.m.: Even though it’s called a government shutdown, 80 percent of federal employees are still working. Here’s why

9:51 a.m.: Via Jonathan Chait: What makes the timing of the shutdown especially strange is that today is likely to be the glitchiest day Obamacare will have. Any new software starts out buggy, and the publicity of the new law ensures that today will bring a high volume of traffic. Conservatives are trying to enjoy the bugs 

… but it’s being drowned out by the shutdown. They’re stepping on their own message. What a terrible plan for abolishing Obamacare.

9:41 a.m.: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free. In a bit though, we’re kind of getting our shit together right now. Sorry, you caught us at a bad time.” — Emma Lazarus

9:34 a.m.: As everyone except the House GOP seems to realize, the government shutdown is terrible politics. A Quinnipiac poll shows that 72 percent of voters (and 74 percent of independent voters) disapprove of shutting down the government to stop Obamacare. Only 22 perent approve. Voters also disapprove of not raising the debt ceiling because of qualms about Obamacare, 64 percent to 27 percent. Of course, not raising the debt ceiling would be so much worse than a government shutdown, so it seems like some people don’t quite understand what’s at stake there. 

9:21 a.m.: Who gets screwed by the shutdown? Pretty much everyone.

9:19 a.m.: GOP congressman Darrell Issa on CNN today:

Chris, bless your heart, but not funding the government is part of funding it,” Issa interjected. “If you have the right to fund the government, you have the right to fund the government to a lesser amount.”

Or not at all! In other words, I CREATED YOU, AND I CAN DESTROY YOU

9:05 a.m.: While it doesn’t directly mention the shutdown, a Chris Christie ad released today called “Bipartisan” focuses on the presumed 2016 candidate’s ability to work with Democrats. “I think as long as you stick to your principles, compromise isn’t a dirty word,” Christie says. 

9:03 a.m.:  Kind of strange that the shutdown would prevent you from walking up to a slab of stone, but there you have it. 

9 a.m.: While the Washington Post simply went with an enormous SHUTDOWN as its front-page headline, the Daily News let off some steam with “House of Turds.” 

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