Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Lawmakers eye US shutdown for leverage

10 October 2013, 10:02

Washington - Americans pin the blame for the current budget impasse on their lawmakers, but that's not stopping Democrats or Republicans from exploiting the crisis of their making for political advantage ahead of 2014 elections.

As the federal government shutdown enters its 10th day with no solution in sight, they are using the nightmare-turned-reality to press their political case - and pad their coffers.

With a full 13 months before voters troop to the polls, political groups are unveiling TV and radio attack ads in swing states and districts.

Senator Mark Begich, a vulnerable Democrat in Alaska who is up for re-election, used a radio ad to blast "a small band of knuckleheads" for "holding the country hostage over the health care law".

Other ads targeted specific lawmakers, like Republican congressman Tom Latham of Iowa.

"Tom Latham joined with Tea Party Republicans in Congress and shut down our government, putting hundreds of thousands of Americans out of work, slashing Head Start for thousands of kids, putting benefits for seniors at risk, denying cancer treatment for kids, and halting food inspections," said a 30-second TV spot.

The ad is one of 10 created recently by Americans United for Change (AUC) to highlight Republican lawmakers aligning with their party's conservative faction whom many blame for the shutdown.

The group insists the showdown could translate into Democrats seizing the 17 seats necessary to take control of the House of Representatives next year.

"There were enough seats in play even before the government shutdown - due to their inaction on critical issues like immigration reform, gun violence and jobs," AUC president Brad Woodhouse said.

"The seats that were already in play are even more up for grabs."

Polls consistently show that Republicans are being held more responsible for the shutdown than Democrats.

A Pew Research poll showed 38% of Americans blamed Republicans, with 30% blaming Democrats and 19% blaming both.

An ABC News/Washington Post poll found that 70% disapprove of the way Republicans in Congress are handling negotiations over the federal budget. Just 24% approve.

But Republicans are hitting back.

"Democrats want to force Obamacare down our throats," said an ad by the Senate Conservatives Fund, referring to President Barack Obama's health care law, which Republicans have sought to defund or delay.

"They've shut down the government, blocked veterans from national monuments, what's next?"

#Shutdown 'could hurt Republicans'

Republicans have toned down their argument that any budget deal would be contingent on a dismantling of the health care law, saying the budget is now rolled into the debate over raising the debt ceiling by 17 October.

But they say Obamacare will remain a campaign issue, even as they insist they are focused more on the current fiscal crisis than looking toward 2014.

"I'm less concerned about the political ramifications than about curbing spending," Republican congressman Thomas Massie told AFP, adding he wants to see major spending cuts in any budget deal.

He acknowledged the shutdown's lasting political impact "could hurt Republicans" next year, but it remained unclear.

Democrats would need to gain 17 seats to retake the House, and liberal-leaning pollster PPP said that "enough GOP-held seats would be on the table" to make that possible.

Daniel Scarpinato of the National Republican Congressional Committee brushed aside polling that showed his party in trouble.

In swing districts, "what we consistently find is that the health care law is very unpopular, and that voters are very concerned about spending and debt, and that Barack Obama has consistently gotten more unpopular in swing districts," he said.

"Voters feel like their Republican members of Congress are doing a good job representing them and fighting for the issues that matter."

Meanwhile the parties are gearing up for a massive fundraising duel, and the shutdown may have proven the opening shot in the money war.

The Democratic National Committee reportedly raised nearly $850 000 from 30 000 donors in the 24 hours leading into the shutdown.

Democratic Senator Ben Cardin said it would be "fair game in the elections" of 2014 to point to the Tea Party stranglehold on the House.

But ultimately, the first government shutdown in 17 years "is not a good thing for anyone who is running for re-election," Cardin said.

"It's caused harm, and people look at who's sitting in the positions of power."



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...