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US govt shutdown: No progress on stalemate

October 03, 2013 11:31 IST

US govt shutdown: No progress on stalemate

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Lalit K Jha in Washington

The political impasse in the US Congress over budget showed no signs of easing as the first meeting between President Barack Obama and lawmakers since a budget deadlock shut wide swaths of the federal government failed to yield any result.

Obama told lawmakers that he is not going to negotiate over the need for Congress to act to reopen the government or to raise the debt limit to pay the bills Congress has already incurred, the White House said after the meeting.  

Obama reinforced his view that the House should put the clean government funding bill that has been passed by the Senate up for a vote.

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Image: A runner climbs over a road gate leading to Fort Point National Historic Site, which has been closed due to the federal government shutdown, in San Francisco, California.
Photographs: Stephen Lam/Reuters

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"The House could act today to reopen the government and stop the harm this shutdown is causing to the economy and families across the country," the White House said.

In a TV interview, Obama said he was ‘exasperated’ by the sequence of events that led to shutdown of his government and warned the Wall Street that they should also be concerned with this development.

"I think it's fair to say that during the course of my presidency I have bent over backwards to work with the Republican Party and have purposely kept my rhetoric down.

“I think I'm pretty well known for being a calm guy.  

“Sometimes people think I'm too calm.

"And am I exasperated? Absolutely.

“I'm exasperated, because this is entirely unnecessary," Obama told the CBS news in an interview.

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Image: A closure sign is seen on a barricade at the World War Two Memorial in Washington.
Photographs: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

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Obama warned that investors should be worried.  

"This time's different. I think they should be concerned," Obama said.

"When you have a situation in which a faction is willing potentially to default on US government obligations, then we are in trouble," he said.

House of Representative Speaker John Boehner told reporters that Obama during the meeting reiterated one more time that he will not negotiate.

"We sent four different proposals over to our Democrat colleagues in the Senate.  

“They rejected all of them. We've asked to go to conference, to sit down and try to resolve our differences.  

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Image: A sign hangs on a fence at the ticket entrance to the Statue of Liberty, a US National Park, due to the US Government shutdown.
Photographs: Mike Segar/Reuters

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“They don't want to -- they will not negotiate," he told reporters inside the White House after the meeting with Obama.

The US government closed non-essential operations on Tuesday after Congress failed to strike a deal on spending and budget due to differences over 'Obamacare', the signature healthcare programme of President Obama.

Republicans and Democrats are blaming each other for the impasse.

The shutdown has left nearly 800,000 employees on unpaid leave and closed national parks, tourist sites, government websites, office buildings, and more.

"All we want you to do is open the government," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters, blaming the Republicans in the House of Representatives for this unprecedented event in nearly 18 years.


Image: The dome of the US Capitol rises over the Pentagon and other federal buildings in Washington during sunrise.
Photographs: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

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