Budget talks collapse,Senate blocks vote to raise debt ceiling

White House urges Congress to ‘do its job’,find solution to end fiscal impasse

Written by Press Trust Of India | Washington | Published: October 13, 2013 2:46:48 am

Faced with the looming prospect of a debt default,President Barack Obama Saturday appealed to Congress to pass the budget while pushing Republicans to agree to hike the borrowing limit to prevent an “economic shutdown”.

“Let’s pass a budget,put people back to work,and end this Republican shutdown. Let’s pay our bills,and prevent an economic shutdown,” Obama said as the government shutdown entered its twelfth day.

Meanwhile,the Republicans Saturday met behind closed doors on Capitol Hill and House Speaker John Boehner told fellow Republicans that his talks with Obama have stalled.

The Senate also rejected a Democratic effort to extend the government’s ability to borrow money through next year. It was a near party-line vote 53-45 that derailed the Democratic measure.

The focus today abruptly shifted to the Senate,where Republicans were claiming “significant progress” towards a possible solution to the crisis.

Senate Democratic Party leader Harry Reid and top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell entered into face-to-face talks on outstanding issues. “The real conversation that matters now is the one that’s taking place between McConnell and Reid,” Senator Bob Corker told reporters. Reid downplayed hopes of a quick resolution of issues.

The battle between Obama and Republicans,who control the House of Representatives,over the flagship healthcare plan dubbed ‘Obamacare’ has forced the government to shutter offices and send home hundreds of thousands of workers.

Alongside the shutdown,the US is heading for a debt default if it does not raise its debt limit by the October 17 deadline. Republicans had this week suggested a six-week extension to US borrowing authority,but Obama Saturday said he wanted a long-term deal.

Obama blamed the Republican Party leadership for the current situation,saying “constant brinkmanship” does not let his government do a lot of things.

The Obama administration expressed its deep dissatisfaction over the inability of the lawmakers to move forward with a solution that reopens the government. “Congress must do its job and raise the debt limit to pay the bills we have incurred and avoid default. It is unfortunate that the common sense,clean debt limit increase proposed by Senate Democrats was refused a yes or no vote today,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.

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