In reality, the government shutdown is only one front in a two-front war over the nation’s finances. The next big issue to come is the debate over raising the debt ceiling, which is only two weeks away. Failing to raise the debt ceiling would lead to a default, which could have greater consequences than the government shutdown. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator John Thune have warned that the two issues might be resolved together, which would mean the shutdown could continue for a couple weeks. (And if it goes any longer than that, the country’s in deep trouble.)
Despite the Senator McConnell’s warning that the shutdown could continue for some time now, there is some small hope. President Obama invited the congressional leaders for each party to the White House for a meeting at 5:30pm this evening.
USA Today had a truly regrettable headline about the meeting tonight. Always remember, no matter how poorly Congress might be doing, the institution and its leaders do not serve under the President—they serve with the President, to paraphrase the late Senator Robert Byrd.
Since Congress and the President didn’t really move the needle on the shutdown yesterday, the most noteworthy event was probably that WWII veterans visiting DC disregarded the barriers around their monument. The WWII Memorial was officially opened to the veterans today, because their gathering was considered an assembly protected by the First Amendment, according to one National Parks Service spokeswoman. (Now if other groups declare themselves to be demonstrations, would they be granted access to monuments?)
It was surprising enough that the monuments—which are essentially statues and sculptures and the like—needed to be blocked off, but there are plenty of other unexpected consequences of the shutdown.