Sen. John McCain wants Joe Biden to help negotiate the end of the government shutdown and avert the debt ceiling. The Republican Senator joked about getting the Vice President "out of the witness protection program" during his appearance on CBS's Face the Nation. The quip was part of a larger call for the White House to become more involved with the shutdown negotiations. "I hope the president will become engaged. Maybe we need to get Joe Biden out of the witness protection program," McCain said. "I'm very disappointed the president of the United States has not played a more active role in this," he added, comparing Obama's absence to Clinton's activity during the 1995 shutdowns. McCain said sequestration is the sticking point in negotiations, echoing other Republicans appearing on the Sunday shows. "I'm very worried about the devastation to our military and defense," McCain said, before saying he was also worried about spending.
Sen. Chuck Schumer expressed some hope the government would avoid a potentially crippling economic disaster by Thursday during his appearance on Face the Nation. "I'm cautiously hopeful, optimistic," the New York Democrat said Sunday morning. "Sen. [Mitch] McConnell and Sen. [Harry] Reid both understand the gravity of default and why we have to avoid it," Schumer said, adding that things are moving in the right direction. Schumer also had words of praise for Sen. Susan Collins, who reached across the aisle and attempted to make a deal with Senate democrats. "I really respect what Susan Collins is doing," he said. But he also said Republicans are turning on Ted Cruz and the Tea Party caucus that spurned the government shutdown mess. "I think these mainstream Republicans are getting fed up with the tea party and Ted Cruz," Schumer said.
Sen. Rand Paul realizes that it's not a good idea to not raise the debt ceiling. "I think it's not a good idea to go through the debt ceiling deadline," Paul said on CNN's State of the Union. "I think we should go ahead and have an agreement in advance." But Paul also thinks it's "irresponsible" for the President to scare people. "The leader of the country should be soothing the markets and saying, 'We will always pay the interest on our debt,'" Rand said. What Paul may not realize is that if Congress and the Senate don't act before Thursday, then that's exactly what will happen. "There's absolutely no reason ever to default," he said. "We should never default. We should never miss a payment. But people have to realize that not raising the debt ceiling means you have to balance the budget." Paul was also asked to respond to recent dismal polling numbers for Republicans. "I think our demise is a little bit overstated," he said, arguing both parties will eventually take some blame for the shutdown. "I think this is a lose-lose situation, we need to open up government," he said.
Sen. Lindsay Graham said any deal to raise the debt ceiling would need full Republican support of the House, while also not going over the spending caps outlined by the sequestration cuts. "I’m not going to vote for any plan that I don’t think can get a majority of Republicans in the House," Graham said on ABC's This Week. "If you break the spending caps, you’re not going to get any Republicans in the Senate," he added later. Graham was critical of some Republicans who thought a shutdown could harm the Obamacare law, calling that goal "unrealistic," but he also said the fight was "far from over." The fight was hopeless, he said. "We never had the leverage through the shutdown to repeal or replace." But the Republican recognized that the shutdown ending sooner than later is best for Republicans. "The sooner this is over, the better for us," he said.
Senate majority whip Dick Durbin said House Republican leadership are officially out of the negotiations to end the government shutdown. "We’ve reached the point where House Republicans and their leadership have stepped to the sidelines," Durdin said on NBC's Meet the Press. "They’re not part of this," he said. Later in the day, Durbin emerged as a major part