Govt. shutdown showdown looms
WASHINGTON (AP) — Unanimous but far from united, the Senate advanced legislation to prevent a partial government shutdown on Wednesday, the 100-0 vote certain to mark merely a brief pause in a fierce partisan struggle over the future of President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.
The vote came shortly after Texas Sen. Ted Cruz held the Senate in session overnight — and the Twitterverse in his thrall — with a near-22-hour speech that charmed the tea party wing of the GOP, irritated the leadership and was meant to propel fellow Republican lawmakers into an all-out struggle to extinguish the law.
Defying one’s own party leaders is survivable, he declared in pre-dawn remarks on the Senate floor. “Ultimately, it is liberating.”
Legislation passed by the Republican-controlled House last week would cancel all funds for the three-year-old law, preventing its full implementation. But Senate Democrats have enough votes to restore the funds, and Majority Leader Harry Reid labeled Cruz’s turn in the spotlight “a big waste of time.”
Any differences between the two houses’ legislation must be reconciled and the bill signed into law by next Tuesday to avert a partial shutdown.
Iran president ready for negotiation
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Iran’s new president said Wednesday his country is ready to negotiate and has “nothing to hide” as world powers prepare to revive stalled talks over Tehran’s disputed nuclear activities.
Iran has agreed to meet with six world powers on Thursday on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly to try to restart nuclear negotiations that stalled in April. The West suspects Iran is trying to build a nuclear weapon, something Tehran has repeatedly denied.
“If there is political will on the other side, which we think there is, we are ready to talk,” President Hasan Rouhani told editors in New York in a meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. “We believe the nuclear issue will be solved by negotiation.”