Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 2nd 2013 Contents A23
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administration rolled out a key
component of its landmark health
care overhaul yesterday, moving
forward despite a federal
government shutdown sparked by
Republican efforts to derail the law
designed to extend insurance
coverage to millions of Americans.
Consumers will be able to shop
for the first time on insurance
marketplaces that open around the
US, getting their first close look at
the programme at the centre of the
political storm in Washington. The
online insurance exchanges open
after months of buildup as President
Barack Obama and his allies tried to
convince skeptical Americans of the
merits of programme that could
define his legacy.
Republicans have seized on a list
of technical glitches and delays that
have emerged as evidence the law
isn't ready to work and will never
be. But the White House says that's
true for any big, new programme
and won't affect the outcome, since
Americans have six months to
enroll through the exchanges. (AP)
Core of Obamacare takes effect despite US shutdown
House Republicans are planning no
further proposals to fund the govern-
ment and say they will wait for Senate
Democrats to accept an offer to join
a conference committee to negotiate
an end to the stalemate, House Major-
ity Leader Eric Cantor said yesterday.
"We invite Senate Democrats to
come and join us and resolve our
differences," said Cantor, who was
seated at a table in a Capitol Hill
meeting room surrounded by mem-
bers appointed to the Republican
conference committee. The decision
by House Republicans not to send
a fresh proposal to the Senate marks
a standoff that has no end in sight.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
has said Democrats would not agree to
conference talks until the House
approves a measure to fund the gov-
ernment for six weeks that includes no
extra amendments such as the ones
aimed at crippling the Affordable Care
Act, also known as Obamacare.
"We will not go to conference
with a gun to our head," Reid said.
On the morning of the first fed-
eral government shutdown in 17
years, the political brinkmanship
reached a stalemate yesterday when
the Senate rejected a House request
for a conference committee to take
up a proposal to fund the govern-
ment through December 15 and
delay a key part of Obamacare.
The shutdown came after House
Republicans refused to pass a bill to
set federal spending levels unless the
federal health care law was defunded
or delayed. Senate Democrats and
Obama repeatedly said they would
not accept any spending bill that
tampers with the law.
US President Barack Obama has
vowed not to allow Republicans to
undermine his signature healthcare
legislation as a condition to restart
the US government.
The government has partially shut
down after the two houses of Con-
gress failed to agree to a new budget,
with Republicans insisting on repeal
or delay of Obama s health law.
"They demanded ransom," Obama
More than 700,000 federal
employees face unpaid leave with no
guarantee of back pay once the dead-
lock is over.
Yesterday, Obama blamed conser-
vative Republicans in the House of
Representatives for the shutdown,
saying "one faction of one party"
was responsible because "they didn t
like one law."
"They ve shut down the govern-
ment over an ideological crusade to
deny affordable health insurance to
millions of Americans," Obama said
at the White House.
He insisted Congress "pass a
budget, end the government shut-
down, pay your bills, prevent an eco-
Republicans, meanwhile, have
called for talks with the Democrats.
"Perhaps if President Obama spent
less time giving hyper-partisan
speeches and more time working
with Congress solving problems, we
wouldn t find ourselves in this avoid-
able situation," Rory Cooper, a
spokesman for Republican House
Majority Leader Eric Cantor, told the
The government ceased operations
deemed non-essential at midnight,
when the previous budget expired.
Over the past several days, budget
bills have bounced back and forth
between the House and the Senate,
which is controlled by Obama s Dem-
The Democrats have insisted on
a "clean" budget bill that would keep
the government funded at current
levels, while the House Republicans
attached a series of measures that
would repeal, defund or delay the
Goldman Sachs estimates a three-
week shutdown could shave as much
as 0.9% from US GDP this quarter.
Major portions of the healthcare
law, which passed in 2010, was val-
idated by the US Supreme Court,
and was a major issue in the 2012
presidential election that Obama won
handily, took effect yesterday. (BBC)
Stalemate: House Republicans not planning any new proposals
SAN JUAN---Frustrated tourists
are encountering closed doors at
some of the biggest attractions in
the US territory of Puerto Rico as
a result of the partial federal gov-
Some 10,000 federal employees
work on the island, which saw the
closure yesterday of the imposing
San Felipe del Morro castle in San
Juan, along with other major des-
tinations such as El Yunque, the only
tropical rain forest in the US National
US Forest Service Agent Carmelo
Ortiz said he has had to turn away
numerous tourists visiting the rain-
Also turned away were several
people waiting outside a Social Secu-
rity office in San Juan.
Meanwhile, the National Guard of
Puerto Rico said more than 600 of
its 800-strong force are not work-
The shutdown also closed some
of the nation s most popular tourist
spots, including the Liberty Bell in
Philadelphia and the hundreds of
national parks around the country.
That includes Yosemite in California,
which had been set to mark its 123th
anniversary on Tuesday.
In Washington, memorials and
museums along the National Mall
were closed or blocked by barricades,
including the Lincoln Memorial. (AP)
Obama says House Republicans
have shut down the federal govern-
ment over an "ideological crusade"
against his health care law.
Obama is speaking in the White
House Rose Garden on the first day
of the government shutdown.
He says the longer the shutdown
continues, the worse the impact will
be.The president says Republicans
should not be able to hold the entire
He is urging them to reopen the
government quickly and allow fur-
loughed federal employees to go back
The government shut down
because Congress did not pass a
funding bill ahead of Monday s mid-
night deadline for the end of the 2013
fiscal year. (AP)
'Shutdown result of
shut down in PR
Obama: Republicans want
'ransom' to end shutdown
US Govt closed...
The US Capitol dome is
reflected in water on
Capitol Hill, Washington.
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