Doug Mills/The New York Times
A National Park Service police guarded The Lincoln Memorial as signs were put up explaining government shutdown, on Tuesday.
Published: October 1, 2013 WASHINGTON — The vast machinery of the federal government began grinding to a halt Tuesday morning just hours after weary lawmakers gave up hope of passing a budget in the face of Republican attacks on President Obama’s health care law.
House Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio headed to vote on the latest bill to link further government financing to a weakening of President Obama‘s health care law.
After saying he was “gratified” Republicans dropped a proposal to slash Social Security benefits as part of a “fiscal cliff” deal, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said there was still “significant distance” between the two parties, and adjourned debate for the evening on Sunday, saying the Senate will return at 11 a.m. EST tomorrow to continue negotiations.
Vice President Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) continued urgent talks Monday over a deal to avoid the “fiscal cliff” after Democrats offered several significant concessions on taxes, including a proposal to raise rates only on earnings over $450,000 a year.
With a New Year’s Eve deadline hours away, Democrats abandoned their earlier demand to raise tax rates on household income over $250,000 a year. President Obama had vowed repeatedly during his reelection campaign to allow tax cuts to expire for incomes over that level.
Democrats also relented on the politically sensitive issue of the estate tax, according to a detailed account of the Democratic offer obtained by The Washington Post. They promised instead to hold a vote in the Senate that would guarantee that taxes on inherited estates remain at their current low levels, a key GOP demand. Continue reading “Biden, McConnell continue ‘cliff’ talks as clock winds down”