Shutdown takes a toll as lawmakers search for answers

House Republicans huddled behind closed doors Friday morning to discuss their strategy as the government shutdown moves into its fourth day, taking a toll on government services and U.S. policy.

"This isn't some damn game," Boehner said indignantly after the meeting, blaming Democrats for refusing to negotiate. "The American people don't want their government shut down, and neither do I."

Still, Boehner made clear that Republicans are still demanding that Democrats agree to partially dismantle or delay the Affordable Care Act as a condition of re-opening the government -- a demand that Democrats have flatly rejected.

"All we're asking for is to reopen the government and bring fairness to the American people under Obamacare," Boehner said.

On CBS This Morning on Friday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called the demand a "non-starter."

"It's very hard to negotiate with Republicans when they can't negotiate with themselves," Pelosi added, alluding to the fact that there are a number of more moderate Republicans willing to pass a no-strings-attached spending bill, even though House leadership is siding with the more conservative faction.

While negotiations remain stalled, the GOP-led House is, for now, continuing its strategy of passing piecemeal spending bills to restore funding for certain government services. On Thursday, they passed bills to restore funding for veterans benefits and to pay the National Guard, and on Wednesday they passed a bill to restore some funding for the National Institutes of Health. There are currently 11 more mini-spending bills under consideration, including a bill to ensure that furloughed federal employees will be retroactively paid once the shutdown is over.

Democrats, however, have rejected the Republican approach to pass piecemeal spending bills, calling on Republicans to restore funding to the entire government with no strings attached. The administration Friday morning issued a formal veto threat against these bills, releasing a statement that said, "Consideration of appropriations bills in this fashion is not a serious or responsible way to run the United States Government. Instead of opening up a few Government functions, the House of Representatives should re-open all of the Government."

House Democrats on Friday put forward a new strategy, planning to use a so-called "discharge petition" to force a vote on a no-strings-attached bill. If a majority of the House signs onto the discharge petition, the bill would be put up for a vote. However, there's no indication that Republicans -- even those who support a no-strings-attached bill -- would team up with Pelosi to defy Boehner's leadership.

While not all government services have come to a halt during the shutdown, its impact in some cases has been evident. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), for instance, has had to recall furloughed workers to respond to Tropical Storm Karen.

Additionally, the White House announced Thursday evening that President Obama has canceled an upcoming trip to Asia because of the shutdown. The president had planned to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Indonesia and the East Asia Summit in Brunei; instead, Secretary of State John Kerry will lead delegations to both summits. The president had already canceled planned visits to Malaysia and the Philippines because of the shutdown.

"The cancellation of this trip is another consequence of the House Republicans forcing a shutdown of the government," White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement. "This completely avoidable shutdown is setting back our ability to create jobs through promotion of U.S. exports and advance U.S. leadership and interests in the largest emerging region in the world."

Some members of Congress, meanwhile, pointed the car chase and shooting the took place in Washington Thursday afternoon to point out how critical it is to pay federal workers like the Capitol Police. After the shooting, Boehner said on Twitter, "We all owe the Capitol Police a debt of gratitude for their work every day; no finer examples of professionalism & bravery."

On the Senate floor Friday morning, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., noted the "irony" of asking Capitol Police "ask them to risk their lives without promise of a paycheck." He quoted a Washington Post editorial, reading, "Mr. Boehner owes them, and the rest of the federal workforce, more than a 140-character message of thanks. He owes them a paycheck; he owes them a budget; he owes them an apology."

All federal employees, including Capitol Police and Secret Service, are unpaid during the shutdown and won't receive paychecks until the shutdown has ended. Federal employees deemed essential during the shutdown - those currently working - will automatically receive back pay; non-essential workers who are currently on furlough will only receive back pay if Congress approves that spending.

Senate Chaplain Barry Black opened Friday's Senate session with a prayer asking lawmakers to abandon their "stubborn pride" and end the government shutdown, to ensure that the law enforcement personnel who responded to yesterday's car chase receive "timely and fair compensation."

As the shutdown drags on, Mr. Obama has turned the heat up on Boehner, urging him to pass a no-strings-attached government spending bill.

"This shutdown could be over today... if Speaker Boehner will simply allow the vote to take place," Mr. Obama said Friday while picking up a sandwich at a deli near the White House with Vice President Joe Biden.

The deli, called Taylor Gourmet, is offering a 10 percent discount and a free cookie to furloughed employees. Mr. Obama called it an "indication of how ordinary Americans look out for each other and aren't obsessed with politics and trying to extract concessions out of each other." He added, "Right now the House of Representatives has the opportunity to do the exact same thing."

While visiting a construction business in Rockville, Md. on Thursday, the president similarly zeroed in on the House speaker. "The only thing that is keeping the government shut down, the only thing preventing people from going back to work, and basic research from starting back up... is that Speaker John Boehner won't even let the bill get a yes-or-no vote because he doesn't want to anger he extremists in his party," he said.

Republican leaders, meanwhile, maintained that the onus to act was on President Obama and congressional Democrats. In a memo to House Republicans, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said that Mr. Obama is "is refusing to actively engage to end the current impasse."

As the shutdown drags on, Congress is also approaching its deadline to pass a bill raising the debt limit. If lawmakers don't raise the debt limit by Oct. 17, the nation risks defaulting on its loans.

According to a report from the New York Times, Boehner has told members of his caucus that he will not let the nation default on its debt and will be willing to put a bill on the House floor to raise the debt ceiling, even if it doesn't have the support of a majority of House Republicans. Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck told CBS News that Boehner doesn't want to default, but he denied that Boehner plans to pass a debt limit bill with Democratic votes.

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