The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

October 7, 2013

Gov't shutdown enters 2nd week, no end in sight

Congress returns to work, but ominous signs arise

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government shutdown entered its second week with no end in sight and ominous signs that the United States was closer to the first default in the nation's history as Speaker John Boehner ruled out any measure to boost borrowing authority without concessions from President Barack Obama.

Washington will be closely watching the financial markets on Monday to see if the uncompromising talk rattles Wall Street and worldwide economies just 10 days before the threat of default would be imminent.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew warned that the budget brinkmanship was "playing with fire" and implored Congress to pass legislation to re-open the government and increase the nation's $16.7 trillion debt limit. Lew reiterated that Obama has no intention to link either bill to Republican demands for changes in the 3-year-old health care law and spending cuts.

A defiant Boehner insisted that Obama must negotiate if the president wants to end the shutdown and avert a default that could trigger a financial crisis and recession that would echo 2008 or worse. The 2008 financial crisis plunged the country into the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

"We're not going to pass a clean debt limit increase," the Ohio Republican said in a television interview. "I told the president, there's no way we're going to pass one. The votes are not in the House to pass a clean debt limit, and the president is risking default by not having a conversation with us."

Boehner also said he lacks the votes "to pass a clean CR," or continuing resolution, a reference to the temporary spending bill without conditions that would keep the government operating.

The shutdown has pushed hundreds of thousands of workers off the job, closed national parks and museums and stopped an array of government services.

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