News / USA

Republicans, US President Remain Deadlocked Over Budget, Debt

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) (R) shouts,
U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) (R) shouts, "This isn't some damn game" during a news conference with fellow House Republicans at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Oct. 4, 2013.
Cindy Saine
The U.S. political stalemate over a partial government shutdown shows no signs of ending.

President Barack Obama and his Republican opponents in Congress remained deadlocked Friday on the fourth day of the shutdown that has furloughed more than 800,000 government workers, about a third of the federal work force, and halted numerous government services.

Meanwile, the president and vice president visited a local sandwich shop which is giving a discount to furloughed federal workers.

With some 800,000 federal workers furloughed and others working but having their paychecks delayed, Obama made a visit to a sandwich shop near the White House.

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden order lunch at a sandwich shop near the White House, Oct. 4, 2013.President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden order lunch at a sandwich shop near the White House, Oct. 4, 2013.
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President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden order lunch at a sandwich shop near the White House, Oct. 4, 2013.
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden order lunch at a sandwich shop near the White House, Oct. 4, 2013.
"Right now this establishment is providing a 10 percent discount to all federal workers who are on furlough. [Employee: "Plus a cookie!"]  Plus a cookie," he said.

Obama repeated his calls for House Republicans to allow a vote on funding the government, saying he is happy to negotiate with them, but not as long as they, he said, have a "gun to Americans' heads."

Outside the U.S. Capitol, Democratic lawmakers met with members of a federal workers union to protest House Republicans not allowing what they call a "clean" vote on a continuing resolution, or CR, to fund the government. Black Congressional Caucus leader Marcia Fudge had a message for Republican House Speaker Boehner:

"What are you afraid of Mr. Boehner? Why will you not put a clean CR on the House floor? Let me ask you Mr. Boehner, do you realize that you are the Speaker of the whole House?" Obama added.

House Republicans met Friday, and their leaders came out repeating their message that they believe the health care law is unfair to Americans and must be changed.

Republican House Speaker John Boehner said, "This isn’t some damn game! The American people don’t want their government shut down and neither do I. All we’re asking for is to sit down and have a discussion and to bring fairness - reopen the government and bring fairness to the American people under ObamaCare."

Republicans say they want to delay a cornerstone of the health care law, a requirement for every American  to buy insurance or pay a fine, saying it intrudes on Americans ' personal liberties. This week, health care exchanges under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare,  went online, and millions of Americans went to the government website, and thousands signed up for health insurance.

Congress is facing another potential crisis because the U.S. Treasury has said it will run out of money and needs to have the federal debt ceiling raised by October 17. Some experts believe House Republicans are now planning to merge the funding bill and the debt ceiling bill into a so-called "grand bargain," which would include tax reform and spending cuts.

News reports Friday said Boehner has told his congressional allies that he will not let the country default, even if it means asking for Democratic votes to raise the debt ceiling. But at a press conference, he appeared to back away from that.

"I don't believe that we should default on our debt, it is not good for our country. But after 55 years of spending more than what you bring in, something ought to be addressed," he said.

For now, there seems to be little common ground on Capitol Hill, but at least some local businesses are giving federal workers a break.

Related video report by Jeff Custer:

Reaction Mixed on Cancellation of Obama's Asia Tripi
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October 04, 2013 5:00 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama's cancellation of his four-nation Asian trip has raised questions with some regional leaders about the adminstration's committment to the region. VOA's Jeff Custer reports

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by: Dale from: Chicago
October 05, 2013 2:00 PM
Why do we always have to do the bankers' interests?Raising the ceiling benefits only them and means more taxes or cuts for common people.As a sovereign state we should say we default,we're not paying all that back because it's not in American citizens' best interest.Remember the national debt is so high because we paid the mess done by banksters in 2007 and 2008.It's better to clear this debt once for all,then restart our growth.Argentina was going through recession to pay its debts back,then chose to default and started to grow by 4% a year.Wall Street can wait,Americans should have the priority

by: Dutchman from: Holland
October 05, 2013 5:45 AM
Tea party voters approximately 20% of US registered voters? Even if it's a few percentage points more it's amazing that an entire country is suffering because of the unwillingness of politicians who are afraid they will not be re-elected. Bad days for democracy

by: PlayFair3 from: US
October 04, 2013 3:04 PM
There are criminals in federal prisons who went to work today and got paid. Clearly Congress thinks the contributions of federal employees are less essential than those of federal prisoners. Come to think of it, there are criminals in Congress who went to work today and got paid.

by: PlayFair3 from: US
October 04, 2013 3:04 PM
The US government shutdown has resulted in the furlough of all, yes ALL FAA Aviation Safety Inspectors (ASI) positions each of whom is in place because risks have been identified to exist without them. ASIs ensure the airlines operate at the highest level of safety, on behalf of the traveling public, at training centers, hangers, airports, and aboard hundreds of revenue flights every day. Every day that is, until now. Congress has decided (thank you very much), that performing those daily safety inspections, targeted at already identified and documented air transportation risks with the sole purpose of keeping the traveling public safe, is no longer important. The largest airlines in the world now have no federal safety or regulatory oversight. Think about that next time you and your family are boarding a flight.
http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ahr/jobs_careers/occupations/av_safety_insp/

by: chas holman from: USA
October 04, 2013 1:37 PM
Speaker Boenher, put a clean CR to the floor for your party to vote on, and stop the games.

Congress has a fiduciary and legal responsibility to fund the laws that THEY passed. Stop the damn games.
In Response

by: Ext Next
October 04, 2013 11:50 PM
Speaker Boenher, stop Obama InsuranceScare !
We need МedicalСare instead InsuranceCare.

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
October 04, 2013 10:41 AM
This is playing to the gallery. Restart the government; make necessary concessions; return the people to work and earnings. USA is not all about obamacare. There are other aspects of the country that are more important than obamacare, after all not all of the country have died since its absence, nor will the country turn into holocaust because there is no obamacare. The congressmen are Americans and they are part of the beneficiaries of the system, so why strangulate the country because the owners refuse to accept your single piece of legislation?

Release the country and stop seeking cheap popularity, it cheapens the country and further portrays a weakness rather than strength, the macho-man you think it makes you. It is not a time for name calling and apportioning blames. Democrats say Boehner is afraid to lose his job and asked him to remember that country is bigger than his job. No, it is not the house speaker that should remember that, it is the president above every other person – first. There is extremism in the executive arm not in the legislature, for it is easier to change one man’s mind than change a generality of people’s mind. Obama tends to be one man riot squad, and there is extremist tendency located.

by: baldaniya jitendra from: surat gujarat
October 04, 2013 5:16 AM
please contact Narendra modi from Gujarat solution shutdown

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