What's Up With the Government Shutdown? The State of Play in Week Two

We're now in week two of a government shutdown. What's happening?

House Republicans might be giving up on Obamacare in favor of a "bargain on entitlements"...

Or at least their decision to attach its funding to the continuing resolution. In an op-ed in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal titled “How We Can End This Stalemate,” Rep. Paul Ryan wrote 1,000 words and didn’t mention Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act once; instead Ryan focused on changing entitlement programs like Medicare and reshaping the federal tax code.

…as donors begin to abandon them over the shutdown.

Even Tea Party funders the Koch brothers backed away from defunding Obamacare on Wednesday. “Koch believes that Obamacare will increase deficits, lead to an overall lowering of the standard of health care and raise taxes,’’ Philip Ellender, Koch Industries chief spokesman, said in a letter to senators. “However, Koch has not taken a position on the legislative tactic of tying the continuing resolution to defunding Obamacare, nor have we lobbied on legislative programs defunding Obamacare.’’

And earlier this week, several prominent business groups – including the National Retail Federation, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the National Association of Manufacturers — asked House Republicans to end the shutdown.

“We strongly support passage of both a continuing resolution to provide for funding of the federal government into the next fiscal year and a measure to raise the nation’s debt ceiling,” the group’s president, Matthew Shay said in a letter to Congress that highlighted economic indicators showing that the shutdown has already hurt consumer spending and depressed consumer confidence.

Top Republicans and Democrats are meeting for the first time in days...

Earlier today, House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor met with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Minority Whip Steny Hoyner to discuss the shutdown, the first meeting between the two sides in several days.

...but John Boehner is still taking a hard line...

Here’s what Boehner said after, according to CBS News:

"Our message in the House has been pretty clear. We want to reopen our government and provide fairness to all Americans under the president's health care law. You know the law had a big rollout last week, but its been called, and I'll quote, an inexcusable mess," Boehner said on the House floor, in reference to the widespread technical glitches on the websites people use to sign up for insurance. "How can we tax people for not buying a product form a website that doesn't work?..This is why we need to sit down and have a conversation about the big challenges that face our country."

...even though voters continue to blame Republicans for the shutdown.

That stance might change, though, as Americans continue to place blame the GOP for the shutdown. In a new Associated Press-GfK poll, 62 percent of adults surveyed mainly fault Republicans for the shutdown, and another recent poll, from the Washington Post/ABC News, puts the disapproval rate for Republicans at 70 percent. And, according to the AP poll, only five percent of Americans approve of Congress right now.

Meanwhile, the debt ceiling is looming...

Those numbers would only get worse if the debt level isn't raised by October 17, though some Republicans don't seem especially concerned.

“If you don’t raise your debt ceiling, all you’re saying is, ‘We’re going to be balancing our budget,"’ said Rand Paul, the Republican Senator from Kentucky ."So if you put it in those terms, all these scary terms of, ‘Oh my goodness, the world’s going to end’ — if we balance the budget, the world’s going to end? Why don’t we spend what comes in? If you propose it that way, the American public will say that sounds like a pretty reasonable idea.”

...threatening to wreak even more havoc than the shutdown already is.

Which is to say: A reasonable idea that, according to most economists, will be disastrous to the U.S. and world economy. From ABC News:

An actual default, they warn, could cause credit markets to freeze, the value of the dollar to plummet, interest rates to skyrocket, in a way that could make the 2008 recession seem less severe.

The warnings have come from the White House, economists, the business community and even from China, our biggest debtor, who in a statement yesterday warned lawmakers to "resolve in a timely way the political issues around the debt ceiling and prevent a US debt default."

Also, Michele Bachmann has never twerked.

Or so she claims:

[Image via AP]