With the U.S. budget crisis in its ninth day, the White House says it believes Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives will "do the right thing" and pass legislation to lift the debt limit and reopen the parts of the government that are closed.
White House spokesman Jay Carney also said Wednesday President Barack Obama has directed the Defense Department and budget office to find an immediate legal fix for paying benefits to military families, which have been cut off during the government shutdown.
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House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner had criticized the administration for withholding the payments. He said Congress gave the Pentagon authority to continue payments in a law signed before the October 1 shutdown.
The partial government shutdown is a result of Congress's failure to pass a temporary spending bill. Congress is also at an impasse over extending the government's borrowing authority after October 17, when the United States will not be able to pay all its bills.
Republicans are demanding talks on deficit reduction and overhauling the 2010 health care law before boosting the borrowing authority and returning the furloughed civil servants to work. Democrats want Congress to first end the shutdown and extend the debt limit.
Meanwhile, a new public opinion poll indicates only 5 percent of Americans approve of the way Congress is doing its job.
The Associated Press/GfK poll
also found 62 percent of the 1,200 surveyed blame Republicans for the partial U.S. government shutdown.
But President Obama does not fare well either, with only 37 percent approve of the job he is doing.