US shutdown in second week; short-term debt increase a way out?

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Washington
  • |
  • Updated: Oct 07, 2013 23:00 IST

The US federal government shutdown entered its second week on Monday amid efforts now focussed on resolving the budget crisis together with the looming debt ceiling deadline.

Debt ceiling, in fact, is taking precedence with October 17 as the deadline for raising government’s ability to borrow over $16.7 trillion to pay its bills and obligations.

The White House on Monday indicated it was willing to accept a short-term increase, with Republicans insisting on policy concessions to grant the administration a permanent one.

“I think longer is better for economic certainty and jobs, but it is ultimately up to them,” said Gene Sperling, director of President Barack Obama’s  National Economic Council, at a media event.

That comment was being taken as an indication of the White House’s willingness to accept a short-term deal to end the current impasse.

Republican House Speaker John Boehner said on Sunday he was not willing to raise the US debt ceiling without a “serious conversation” about what is driving the debt.

The point in dispute has moved since the start of the congressional showdown that ended in the shutdown — it was over President Obama’s healthcare law.

While it will remain a concern, centrist conservatives are keen to  move ahead, and out of an impasse forced upon the congress and the country by their ultra-conservative colleagues.


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