Impasse In Washington: Shutdown And Beyond

We look at the great age of dysfunction in Washington, D.C. Shutdown and beyond. What’s making the House divided?

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, walks to the House Floor at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013. (AP)

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, walks to the House Floor at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013. (AP)

And so it’s a shutdown.  The United States Congress does very little for a long time, then it shuts everything down – or a whole lot of the federal government anyway.

The man and woman in the street interviews on television show Americans bewildered, disgusted.  Confused and appalled at the dysfunction or deadlock or whatever you want to call it.  But somehow we’re all in on this.

Something’s not working.  Blame the Tea Party.  Blame the health reform.  Something deeper.

This hour, On Point:  the paralyzing division in Washington, and what’s going on with our democracy.

– Tom Ashbrook


Ron Fournier, national Correspondent and editorial director of National Journal. His new piece in National Journal is “The Beginning of the End for Washington.” (@ron_fournier)

Nolan McCarty, professor of politics and public affairs at Princeton University. Author of “Polarized America: The Dance of Ideology and Unequal Riches.” (@nolan_mc)

Charles Bass, served as president and CEO of Republican Main Street Partnership from 2007-2010. Representative for New Hampshire’s 2nd congressional district from 1995-2007 and again from 2011-2013. (@repcharlesbass)

From Tom’s Reading List

CNN: Government shutdown: Get up to speed in 20 questions — “Let’s start with the obvious question: Will the government shut down this week? Most likely. Republicans and Democrats can agree on that. It’s everything else that has them bickering and blaming. And unless they strike a deal on a spending bill Monday, the government will begin closing shop at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday.”

The New York Times: The Path to Dysfunction — “There are many good articles explaining what might happen if the government shuts down next Tuesday. There are fewer on the impact of breaching the debt ceiling, but that is only because we have never been crazy enough to do so.  But at least from what I’ve seen, there is not much on why we are in this mess in the first place.”

The Wall Street Journal: The International Perils in Washington’s Dysfunction — “Let’s face it: A superpower that isn’t sure it can fund its government or pay its bills, overseen by a president who recently found that members of Congress from both parties were unwilling to follow his lead on military action in Syria, isn’t in a great position to work its will abroad.”

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