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Nobody knows when the US shutdown will end

October 16, 2013 14:06 IST

Nobody knows when the US shutdown will end

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Lali K Jha in Washington

The US appeared headed towards a financial default, which economists warned will have a cascading impact on the global economy, as the Congress failed to make a headway to end an impasse over raising the country's debt ceiling before the deadline of October 17.

Less than 50 hours left before the US has any money to pay its bill, a gloomy picture of default looms over the horizon of US history, but for a last minute compromise between the stubborn Republicans leadership and a determined US President Barack Obama, who said he is not going to give way to what he claims ‘ransom from the opposition lawmakers’.

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Image: Mason Palmer (right), 10 months old, has his picture taken by his father in front of federal workers demonstrating for an end to the US government shutdown on the west front of the US Capitol in Washington.
Photographs: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

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"The idea that we're going to send a signal to the world that it's an acceptable proposition -- this is what some Republicans on Capitol Hill seem to be conveying -- that we can cross that threshold and just hope that we can resolve this before we have to delay a payment, already, once you get to that deadline, you've entered territory that we've never entered before," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.

"And that sends a signal I think globally that there is uncertainty about the fidelity here in the United States to the principle that we always pay our bills on time," he said.

"That is why this line has never been crossed, why administration after administration, both Democratic and Republican, has taken the position that we should never cross this line.

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Image: A man holds flags as protesters from the 'Million Vet March on the Memorials', rallying against the closure of the US National World War Two Memorial due to the current US government shutdown, demonstrate in front of the White House gates in Washington.
Photographs: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

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"It's why businessmen and women, CEOs, who understand the impact that this would have on what they do and on the American economy, have called on Congress to quit even flirting with the prospect of default," he argued.

Craney said the US is the largest economy in the world and it has a lot of obligations which exceeds its income.

"And that is why we have to ensure that Treasury is able to borrow in order to pay our bills," he said while justifying the massive borrowing by the US Government.

"We're still optimistic that there is a path to lift the debt ceiling in time. We're pleased with the work done thus far.

"But we've heard of the bipartisan legislation being prepared in the United States Senate," House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters after a group of Democratic lawmakers met Obama at the White House.


Image: Bethany McNew, 24, from Tampa, mimics the pose of the Statue of Liberty as she poses for a photo on Liberty Island in New York.
Photographs: Carlo Allegri/Reuters

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