Story Summary

Government shutdown

Let’s start with the obvious question: Will the government shut down this week? Most likely.

Republicans and Democrats can agree on that. It’s everything else that has them bickering and blaming. And unless they strike a deal on a spending bill Monday, the government will begin closing shop at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday.

GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN: GET UP TO SPEED IN 20 QUESTIONS

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By Matt Smith, CNN

The stakes of the stalemate are high — and climbing.

The partial government shutdown entered its 14th day Monday, just three days before the U.S. government bumps up against its projected borrowing limit.

Talks both on ending the shutdown and on avoiding the debt ceiling have shifted to the Senate, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, along with other top senators, began discussions this weekend.

The Senate reconvened Sunday afternoon, with Reid saying he would do “everything I can throughout the day” to reach some sort of bargain with the chamber’s Republican minority.

But a source familiar with the ongoing Senate discussions expressed doubt that any significant progress would be made Sunday evening. And the Senate adjourned shortly before 5 p.m. ET, showing no signs of such progress.

Still, Reid struck a positive note as he spoke on the Senate floor.

“I’ve had a productive conversation with the Republican leader this afternoon. Our discussions were substantive and we’ll continue those discussions. I’m optimistic about the prospects for a positive conclusion,” he said.

The Senate will meet again Monday at 2 p.m. ET.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said earlier that a bipartisan group of senators was still trying to hash out a plan acceptable to both sides.

“We had 12 people meet yesterday, but just last night I had two more Democrats and a Republican contact me to offer suggestions and say they want to be part of our group,” she said on CNN’s State of the Union.

“It’s taken far too long. We never should be in this situation,” she added. “But I do believe there’s going to be a resolution this week.”

Likewise, Sen. Dick Durbin, the Democratic whip, said he thinks that Congress will ultimately get the job done.

“I’m a hopeful person. I believe we can do it. I hope sensible people prevail, because at this point, it’s not just a shutdown and all of the damage it’s caused, but if we default on our debt, it will have a dramatic impact on the savings account, on the retirement account of average Americans,” Durbin, of Illinois, said on NBC’s “Meet The Press.”

On the other side of the aisle, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said he too thinks Congress will find a way out of the crisis before Thursday, when the United States hits the debt ceiling.

“We will have decided as a Congress that we need to avoid going over the debt limit, and we’ll figure it out. And it will probably be a relatively short-term solution,” Portman said.

A weekend of rejections

Computer failure temporarily halts some food stamp payments

But while senators’ comments and reports of talks were positive, the only actions over the weekend involved one “no” after another.

– Reid said Saturday that the plan Collins was assembling is no longer on the table, because it treated reopening the government as a “concession.” Reid continues to demand that any plan include a “clean” bill, one that raises the debt limit and reopens the government with no strings attached.

– Republicans blocked a measure to extend the debt limit with no strings attached, refusing to support a procedural vote that would have brought it to the Senate floor.

– House Republican leaders said President Barack Obama rejected their proposal for a six-week extension of the federal debt ceiling.

– Meanwhile, Republicans objected to the prospect being floated over the weekend that the forced spending cuts known as sequestration, which have cut deeply into federal operations since March, might be rolled back under any eventual deal. Reid said that proposal “is not anything that came from us.”

The Treasury Department says it will be unable to pay the government’s bills unless the debt limit is increased by Thursday. The partial shutdown of government services has been in effect since October 1. And Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, told “Fox News Sunday” that the momentum that seemed to be building last week toward a resolution has stalled.

“I do think we will see our way through this, but the last 24 hours have not been good,” he said.

Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, said Saturday the consequences of a failure to raise the debt limit would be dire for economies around the world. She spoke to CNN’s Richard Quest at an Institute of International Finance conference in Washington.

“You know, I’ve just spent the last two days with representatives of about 188 countries around the world. I wouldn’t say they are confident. I would say they are concerned, and they are very anxious to see this crisis resolved, because they know it’s going to impact on their economy,” Lagarde said.

Obama spoke by phone with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Sunday to discuss the ongoing battle over the shutdown, the White House said. The two agreed on the need for a “clean debt limit increase” and a “clean continuing resolution to open up the government and end the shutdown.”

Mindful that October 17 is just days away, House Republican leaders are considering all of their options even as Republican and Democratic Senate leaders try to craft a deal on the debt ceiling, a GOP leadership aide, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told CNN.

One option Republican leaders are considering is sending back a measure to the Senate that would increase the debt limit; exactly what it would contain is unknown at this time.

But the aide noted that the House is able to move quicker than the Senate, and this idea could come into play. If a decision were made to pursue this idea, then it would require Democratic support to pass in the House.

Senate Democrats meet with president

Senate Democrats met with Obama for 75 minutes Saturday afternoon, and a Senate Democratic leadership aide said the party is unified.

“Democrats are willing to negotiate on anything Republicans want to discuss as soon as we reopen the government and pay our bills,” said the aide.

Another Democratic source said party leaders regard Republicans as lacking a coherent position. They hope McConnell can “cut through the clutter,” the source told CNN’s Dana Bash.

The sources, who are familiar with the talks, spoke on the condition of anonymity so they could speak candidly.

Despite the lack of agreement, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, said progress was being made.

“I think our Republican colleagues are moving in our direction with the fact that Obamacare is not a major part of the discussion anymore among most all Senate and many House Republicans,” he said.

Even as he demanded a “clean” bill, Reid said he and McConnell are involved in “cordial” and “preliminary” discussions.

“I hope that our talking is some solace to the American people and the world,” Reid said. He said McConnell had approached him. “This hasn’t happened until now,” Reid said.

CNN’s Dana Ford, Greg Clary, Deirdre Walsh, Dana Bash, Mark Preston, Chelsea J. Carter, Dan Merica, Brianna Keilar and Janet DiGiacomo contributed to this report.

TM & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

By Lesile Bentz, CNN

Leaders in Utah say they found a way to get around the government shutdown.

zionnationalpark

Utah will reopen its five national parks by Saturday, as well as three other nationally run locations.

Utah’s Governor Gary Herbert made the announcement Thursday, saying a deal had been reached with the U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.

“Utah agrees to pay the National Park Service (NPS) up to $1.67 million— $166,572 per day—to re-open eight national sites in Utah for up to 10 days. If the federal government shutdown ends before then, the State will receive a refund of unused monies” an official press statement explained.

The deal would reopen Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Zion national parks. The other three locations that will be opened are Natural Bridges and Cedar Breaks national monuments, as well as Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.

“Utah’s national parks are the backbone of many rural economies and hard-working Utahns are paying a heavy price for this shutdown,” Herbert said in the released statement. “I commend Secretary Jewell for being open to Utah’s solution, and the world should know Utah is open for business and visitors are welcome.”

October is an especially profitable month for Utah’s national parks, since optimal weather attracts a high volume of tourists. Typically, officials estimate a $100 million yield for the month, so the parks’ closures would have had an especially high impact on the state.

The Department of the Interior is now awaiting a transfer of funds from Utah, at which point it will notify “site-specific” personnel to return to work. The process of opening the parks after receiving the money should take some time, but in a statement from the governor’s office, the state anticipates all sites should be “fully operational by Saturday”.

In the event that the federal government shutdown drags on longer than the 10 days that have been accounted for, the state of Utah insists it would be able to make additional payments to keep the parks operational.

The agreement between Herbert and Jewell stipulates that the money spent by the state can be reimbursed with Congressional approval. However, as with other funds spent during the shutdown, Congress is under no obligation to refund the bill.

It seems Herbert is quite intent on pursuing repayment, with his office telling reporters “the Governor has engaged Utah’s congressional delegation to actively pursue timely repayment to state coffers.”

TM & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

By Tom Cohen. Dana Bash, and Deirdre Walsh CNN

House Republican leaders said Thursday they will propose a temporary increase in the nation’s borrowing limit — a first step toward a potential compromise to end the political stalemate that has shut down parts of the government and threatens a U.S. default as soon as next week.

After meeting with his caucus, House Speaker John Boehner said Republicans want substantive talks with President Barack Obama and Democrats on reducing the nation’s chronic federal deficits and debt in return for removing the immediate threat of default.

Sources said the House GOP measure would extend the debt ceiling until November 22.

Boehner said the proposal that could be voted on by the House as soon as Friday would offer the temporary increase in the debt ceiling.

In exchange, he wants Obama “to sit down and discuss with us a way forward to reopen the government and to start to deal with America’s pressing problems.”

His language was code for further talks on a separate temporary spending plan to reopen the government. House Republicans have demanded provisions to defund or delay Obama’s signature health care reforms known as Obamacare with any spending plan to end the shutdown.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama was “happy that cooler heads at least seem to be prevailing in the House” over the need to avoid a possible default.

The White House has said Obama wanted a debt ceiling increase and temporary spending to end the shutdown before he would hold formal talks with Republicans trying to wring concessions on deficit reduction and Obamacare.

Carney indicated that remained the president’s position, but he repeatedly avoided directly answering when asked by reporters if both had to happen before Obama would engage in formal negotiations with Republicans on broader budget and deficit reduction issues.

“He wants Congress to do both,” Carney said. “He wants Congress to fulfill both its fundamental responsibilities. If Congress takes action without strings attached on either of those, that would be a good thing, and he would sign either one.”

When further pressed, Carney said reporters were asking him “a lot of questions on a bill that may not exist and may not ever exist.”

Wall Street higher on possible deal

Even the hint of a possible deal lifted stocks on Wall Street. Investors have been concerned in recent weeks with the political stalemate in Washington and the potential economic consequences of any inability by the government to pay its bills.

House GOP leaders will travel to the White House in the afternoon to meet with the president, and Boehner and other leaders tried to frame the talks as a de facto start of negotiations.

“That’s a conversation we’re going to have with the president today,” Boehner said when asked what it would take for House Republicans to agree to reopen the government. “I don’t want to put anything on the table. I don’t want to take anything off the table.”

Senate Democrats have a separate meeting scheduled with Obama on Thursday, while Senate Republicans have been invited for their own meeting on Friday.

At the private meeting with House Democrats on Wednesday, Obama said he would consider a short-term deal to raise the federal borrowing limit, a Democratic lawmaker told CNN.

“If that’s what Boehner needs to climb out of the tree that he’s stuck in, then that’s something we should look at,” according to the lawmaker, who attended the meeting and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The legislative wrangling comes amid a stalemate that has Republicans trying to use spending and debt limit deadlines as leverage to wring concessions from Obama and Democrats.

Because of the impasse, the partial government shutdown began when Congress failed to fund the government for the new fiscal year that began October 1.

Another deadline looms as soon as next week, with economists warning that failure to raise the federal borrowing limit could bring a U.S. default and the possibility of another recession.

‘Measure of hope’

The Democratic legislator who spoke to CNN left the White House meeting Wednesday with a “small measure of hope” that a temporary increase in the debt ceiling can become “an exit strategy.”

Obama warned the House Democrats that if Republicans want to propose a short-term fix and Democrats say no, they would lose the high ground in the argument over which party was being reasonable.

Boehner and Republicans are demanding that Obama and Senate Democrats negotiate on deficit reduction steps that would be part of legislation to reopen the government and raise the limit on federal borrowing needed to pay the bills.

A senior House Republican told CNN that GOP members may be willing to go for a short-term debt ceiling hike — lasting four to six weeks — as long as the president agrees that negotiations will occur during that time.

However, no specifics were available about how such legislation would take shape or how the talks would occur.

Republican sources have also told CNN the parameters of those talks have to be specific enough to sell to their skeptical GOP members.

GOP seeks leverage

Days of back-and-forth rhetoric and jibes between the leaders have brought no direct negotiations, but plenty of accusations and political spin.

On Wednesday, GOP leaders appeared to shift their focus from efforts to dismantle Obama’s signature health care reform, the initial driving force behind the shutdown, to securing spending cuts elsewhere.

Ryan’s plan drops Obamacare

Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the House Budget Committee chairman who was the party’s vice presidential nominee last year, argued in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that Democrats and Republicans should focus on “modest reforms to entitlement programs and the tax code.”

“Right now, we need to find common ground,” he wrote in the column posted online Tuesday night. “We need to open the federal government. We need to pay our bills today — and make sure we can pay our bills tomorrow. So let’s negotiate an agreement to make modest reforms to entitlement programs and the tax code.”

However, Ryan’s column never mentioned Obamacare, focusing instead on forced spending cuts to domestic and military programs, as well as reforms to Medicare.

Ryan’s Obamacare omission appeared to anger conservatives, who took to Twitter in response.

“Much like White House press, Paul Ryan doesn’t mention Obamacare in WSJ oped,” tweeted Dan Holler, spokesman for the conservative group Heritage Action.

GOP supporters of Ryan said he was signaling the strategy to separate the debt ceiling negotiations, which would involve deficit reduction steps, from the spending plan needed to end the government shutdown.

Perhaps in response to a conservative backlash, Boehner made a brief statement Wednesday on the House floor that focused on the GOP message that Obamacare was detrimental to the country.

He stopped short of linking it to any negotiations on ending the shutdown and raising the debt ceiling.

Boehner insists that the government must reduce deficits, declaring that Republicans won’t raise the debt ceiling without steps toward that goal.

But a House GOP leadership source told CNN on Wednesday that Obama’s rejection of linking negotiations to raising the borrowing limit meant that Republicans probably would be forced to agree to a “clean” debt ceiling limit proposal in exchange for setting up talks on deficit reduction steps.

According to the source, the economic implications of a U.S. default “scares people” to make such a deal acceptable to enough House Republicans in order to get negotiations started.

The source acknowledged that Boehner may lack support from some or most of his GOP caucus, requiring Democratic votes for the proposal to pass.

Democrats planning

Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois told CNN that his side already was mulling over “what we will discuss, what we will negotiate over, what things will be on the table.”

The GOP-led House passed a measure Tuesday to set up a special negotiating team comprising members of both parties from the House and Senate, but Obama and Democrats rejected the concept as the latest Republican gimmick to force talks before raising the debt ceiling.

Meanwhile, Senate Democrats announced they will propose a measure to increase the debt ceiling beyond next year’s congressional elections with no additional issues attached.

While many Republicans are certain to oppose it, Democratic leaders hope increased pressure for Congress to prevent a default next week will cause some GOP senators to vote for it.

A GOP source told CNN on Tuesday that the White House was having corporate chief executives call Republican leaders. The business community has called for resolving the Washington stalemate to avoid a default that would spike interest rates and affect the economy.

Without a breakthrough, the shutdown would continue at a cost estimated at up to $50 billion a month. Failure to raise the debt ceiling by next week’s deadline would leave the government unable to borrow money to pay its bills for the first time in its history.

All the partisan bickering — and lack of progress — is taking its toll not just on furloughed workers, shuttered government facilities and programs, but also on Americans’ confidence in their government.

Poll: Most angry at both parties

In a national poll released Monday, most respondents said the government shutdown was causing a crisis or major problems for the country.

The CNN/ORC International survey indicated that slightly more people were angry at Republicans than Democrats or Obama for the shutdown, though both sides took a hit.

According to the poll conducted over the weekend, 63% of respondents said they were angry at Republicans for the way they have handled the shutdown, while 57% expressed anger at Democrats and 53% at Obama.

“It looks like there is more than enough blame to go around, and both parties are being hurt by the shutdown,” said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

According to a new Gallup poll Wednesday, the Republican Party’s favorable rating dropped to 28%, down 10 percentage points from September. The 43% for Democrats was a 4-percentage-point drop from last month.

A CNN survey indicates that enough Republicans in the House would join Democrats in voting for a Senate-passed spending plan to end the shutdown.

All 200 Democrats and 19 Republicans support passing a continuing resolution with no additional legislative strings attached.

With two vacancies in 435-member House, 217 votes are the minimum needed for the measure to win approval in the House.

However, not enough Republicans are willing to join Democrats in a procedural move to force Boehner to hold a vote on the Senate plan.

Boehner has said the measure would fail to pass in the House, a contention rejected by Obama and Democrats.

The speaker has previously allowed measures to pass the House with mostly Democratic support, which has weakened his leadership among conservatives. Doing so now could cost him his leadership post due to the conservative backlash it would probably unleash, analysts say.

CNN’s Chelsea J. Carter, Paul Steinhauser, Jim Acosta, Deirdre Walsh, Barbara Starr, Ted Barrett, Dan Merica and Brianna Keilar contributed to this report.

TM & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

Political Analyst Paul Lisnek joins WGN Morning News to talk latest on shutdown

Multiple House Republican members and GOP leadership sources tell CNN that leaders are preparing a proposal to raise the debt ceiling temporarily while keeping the government shut down.

The sources tell CNN that House GOP leaders’ plan is to formally discuss the idea with the GOP conference at a meeting Thursday morning.

Senior House Republican sources have been telling CNN since earlier this week the idea of raising the debt ceiling for four to six weeks is the most viable way out of the stalemate.

A House Democratic lawmaker told CNN on Wednesday evening that President Barack Obama held a private White House meeting. In it, he said he would likely agree to a short term debt ceiling deal if that’s what Republicans would support in order to avoid default, the lawmaker said.

Talking about a short term solution, the president told House Democrats, “If that’s what (House Speaker John) Boehner needs to climb out of the tree that he’s stuck in, then that’s something we should look at,” according to the House Democratic member.

After hearing that, as well as public comments of support from House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, House Republican sources say they decided it’s time to push the idea with rank and file Republicans, especially since they hope to discuss the idea with the president in a White House meeting Thursday afternoon.

One of the GOP sources cautioned that the exact length of the short term debt ceiling bill is not yet worked out. It could be six weeks; it could be a bit shorter.

Senior House Republicans are hoping the idea of allowing a short term increase in the debt ceiling – but not immediately agreeing to fund the government – will placate conservatives.

Earlier, House GOP sources told CNN any stop gap debt ceiling increase would have to be accompanied by a guarantee for negotiations over issues relating to the nation’s debt.  Republicans will still demand this, but it is unclear how specific they will be in laying out the parameters of those talks as a condition to raising the debt ceiling temporarily.

Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, said on CNN on Wednesday night that he does not think a short term increase in the debt ceiling is a good idea because it only delays the problem.

“Well, it’s just going to make the markets skittish for another six weeks or whatever,” he said. “I don’t see why we can’t just get that off the table. We don’t have to speculate. I understand there are people who basically are denying that this is going to be a real problem. We don’t have to speculate on that”.

But King also said he would support it if it’s the only option to avoid defaulting.

Forgive President Barack Obama and Democrats if they are getting confused by the tactics of House Speaker John Boehner and his Republican caucus.

After prompting a partial government shutdown by trying to undermine Obama’s signature health care reforms, GOP leaders now are focused on spending cuts elsewhere in their demands for agreeing to fund the government and raise the federal borrowing limit.

Boehner, who earlier this year told his GOP colleagues that he was finished negotiating one-on-one with the president, now pleads for Obama to sit down for what he calls a “conversation” on how to reopen the government and prevent what would be the first-ever U.S. default as soon as next week.

But when Obama invited the entire House Republican caucus to the White House as part of a series of meetings with legislators, Boehner’s office responded that only the GOP leadership and committee chairmen would attend the Thursday gathering.

“It is our hope that this will be a constructive meeting and that the president finally recognizes Americans expect their leaders to be able to sit down and resolve their differences,” said a statement by a Boehner aide.

Obama’s invitation was intended to demonstrate outreach to Republicans on the ninth day of the partial shutdown and just eight days from when the Treasury says Congress must increase the federal debt ceiling or risk default.

Government shutdown- what happens now?GOP seeks leverage

The stalemate involves Republicans trying to use the spending and debt limit deadlines as leverage to wring concessions from Obama and Democrats. As GOP Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky told Fox News on Wednesday, “the only way you get concessions out of him is, unfortunately, you have to negotiate around this deadline.”

Boehner and Republicans are demanding that Obama and Senate Democrats negotiate on deficit reduction steps that would be part of legislation to reopen the government and raise the limit on federal borrowing needed to pay the bills.

Obama refuses to enter formal talks until the shutdown ends and the debt ceiling has been raised to remove the threat of default, which economists warn could cause another recession.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama was disappointed that Boehner was limiting attendance at Thursday’s meeting to less than 20 of the more than 200 House Republicans.

“The president thought it was important to talk directly with the members who forced this economic crisis on the country” about the potential harmful impacts from the shutdown and a possible default, Carney said in a statement, repeating that Obama “will not pay the Republicans ransom for doing their job.”

Meanwhile, GOP leaders were distancing themselves from demands by tea party conservatives to also make dismantling Obamacare a condition for agreement.

Ryan’s plan drops Obamacare

Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the House Budget Committee chairman who was the party’s vice presidential nominee last year, argued in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that Democrats and Republicans should focus on “modest reforms to entitlement programs and the tax code.”

“Right now, we need to find common ground,” Ryan wrote in the column posted online Tuesday night. “We need to open the federal government. We need to pay our bills today — and make sure we can pay our bills tomorrow. So let’s negotiate an agreement to make modest reforms to entitlement programs and the tax code.”

However, Ryan’s column never mentioned Obamacare, focusing instead on forced spending cuts to domestic and military programs, as well as reforms to Medicare.

Ryan’s Obamacare omission appeared to anger conservatives, who took to Twitter in response.

“Much like White House press, Paul Ryan doesn’t mention Obamacare in WSJ oped,” tweeted Dan Holler, spokesman for the conservative group Heritage Action.

Perhaps in response to a conservative backlash, Boehner made a brief statement Wednesday on the House floor that focused on the GOP message that Obamacare was detrimental to the country. He stopped short of linking it to any negotiations on ending the shutdown and raising the debt ceiling.

Boehner insists that the government must reduce deficits, declaring that Republicans won’t raise the debt ceiling without steps toward that goal.

But a House GOP leadership source told CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash on Wednesday that Obama’s rejection of linking negotiations to raising the borrowing limit meant Republicans would likely be forced to agree to a “clean” debt ceiling limit proposal in exchange for setting up talks on deficit reduction steps.

According tp the source, the economic implications of a U.S. default “scares people” to make such a deal acceptable to enough House Republicans in order to get negotiations started.

The source acknowledged Boehner may lack support from some or most of his GOP caucus, requiring Democratic votes for the proposal to pass.

Democrats planning

Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois told CNN on Wednesday that his side already was mulling over “what we will discuss, what we will negotiate over, what things will be on the table.” Obama also met with the House Democratic caucus at the White House.

The shutdown began when Congress failed to pass a spending plan for the new fiscal year that started October 1. Now another deadline looms — the need to increase the federal borrowing limit by October 17 or risk a U.S. default.

Days of back-and-forth rhetoric and jibes between the leaders has brought no direct negotiations, but plenty of accusations and political spin.

A senior House Republican told CNN on Tuesday that GOP members may be willing to go for a short-term debt ceiling hike — lasting four to six weeks — as long as the president agrees negotiations will occur during that time.

However, no specifics were immediately available about how such legislation would take shape or how the talks would occur.

The GOP-led House passed a measure on Tuesday to set up a special negotiating team comprising members of both parties from the House and Senate, but Obama and Democrats rejected the concept as the latest Republican gimmick to force talks before raising the debt ceiling.

Meanwhile, Senate Democrats announced they will propose a measure to increase the debt ceiling beyond next year’s congressional elections with no additional issues attached.

While many Republicans are certain to oppose it, Democratic leaders hope increased pressure for Congress to prevent a default next week will cause some GOP senators to vote for it.

A GOP source told CNN on Tuesday that the White House was having corporate chief executives call Republican leaders. The business community has called for resolving the Washington stalemate to avoid a default that would spike interest rates to impact the economy.

Without a breakthrough, the shutdown would continue at a cost estimated at up to $50 billion a month. Failure to raise the debt ceiling by next week’s deadline would leave the government unable to borrow money to pay its bills for the first time in its history.

All the partisan bickering — and lack of progress — is taking its toll not just on furloughed workers, shuttered government facilities and programs, but also on Americans’ confidence in their government.

Poll: Most angry at both parties

In a national poll released Monday, most respondents said the government shutdown was causing a crisis or major problems for the country.

The CNN/ORC International survey indicated that slightly more people were angry at Republicans than Democrats or Obama for the shutdown, though both sides took a hit.

According to the poll conducted over the weekend, 63% of respondents said they were angry at the Republicans for the way they have handled the shutdown, while 57% expressed anger at Democrats and 53% at Obama.

“It looks like there is more than enough blame to go around, and both parties are being hurt by the shutdown,” said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

According to a new Gallup poll Wednesday, the Republican party’s favorable rating dropped to 28%, down 10 percentage points from September. The 43% for Democrats was a 4-percentage-point drop from last month.

Senate Democrats sought to keep up the pressure, holding a rally on the Capitol steps on Wednesday to demonstrate their unified stance in calling for House Republicans to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling.

A CNN survey indicates enough Republicans in the House would join Democrats in voting for a Senate-passed spending plan to end the shutdown.

All 200 Democrats and 19 Republicans support passing a continuing resolution with no additional legislative strings attached .

With two vacancies in 435 member House, 217 votes are currently the minimum needed for the measure to win approval in the House.

However, not enough Republicans are willing to join Democrats in a procedural move to force Boehner to hold a vote on the Senate plan.

Boehner has said the measure would fail to pass in the House, a contention rejected by Obama and Democrats.

The speaker has previously allowed measures to pass the House with mostly Democratic support, which has weakened his leadership among conservatives. Doing so now could cost him his leadership post due to the conservative backlash in would likely unleash, analysts believe.
TM & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

By Jim Acosta. Deirdre Walsh and Tom Cohen, CNN

President Barack Obama is ready to talk even on Republicans’ terms, he insisted Tuesday, so long as Congress acts first to end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling — even for a short period.

obamaboehnershutdown

At a news conference, Obama indicated Republicans could essentially set the agenda for budget negotiations, but only if Congress agrees first to a short-term spending plan to fund the government and to raise the federal borrowing limit to avoid a possible first-ever U.S. default next week.

“I will talk about anything,” the president said.

House Speaker John Boehner, speaking Tuesday afternoon after what he called a “pleasant” but ineffectual phone call with Obama, promptly rejected the president’s comments as nothing new.

“What the president said today was if there’s unconditional surrender by Republicans, he’ll sit down and talk to us,” Boehner said. “That’s not the way our government works.”

At the same time, Boehner said he’s “hopeful” top Republicans and Democrats could soon begin a “conversation.”

“There’s going to be a negotiation here,” the Ohio Republican said. “We can’t raise the debt ceiling without doing something about what’s driving it to borrow more money and live beyond our means.”

Yet while Boehner didn’t indicate any points of agreement, a senior House Republican told CNN’s Dana Bash that GOP members may be willing to go for a short-term debt ceiling hike — lasting four to six weeks — as long as the president agrees negotiations will occur during that time.

Still, it’s no guarantee such a measure would be supported by a majority of Republicans: something that Boehner has traditionally required before calling any vote in the House.

A second GOP source says the White House drawing a line in the sand not to negotiate has further complicated matters. Republican leaders have talked, though, to CEOs who called them at the request of Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and senior presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett.

And if there’s no breakthrough? The partial government shutdown — which began October 1, after the GOP-led House tied its funding measures to dismantling or defunding Obama’s signature health care reform rather — continues. Plus, another crisis looms October 17, when the Treasury Department says the U.S. government must raise the amount of money it can borrow or else be unable to pay its bills.

All the partisan bickering — and lack of progress — is taking its toll not just on furloughed workers, shuttered government facilities and programs, but also Americans confidence in their government.

Looking directly in the camera, Obama acknowledged frustrations with what’s going in Washington — in terms of the current impasse and all the other budgetary battles preceding it.

“We’ve got to stop repeating this pattern,” the president said. “I apologize you have to go through this stuff every three months, it seems like. And Lord knows, I’m tired of it. But at some point we’ve got to break these habits.”

Boehner: Can’t afford to keep spending without cuts

While the partial government shutdown is now in its second week, next week’s deadline to raise the debt ceiling has many experts especially worried. Failure to act, they say, could lead to the government defaulting on its debt, spook Wall Street, spur higher interest rates and have other negative effects on the U.S. and global economy.

“If there was a problem lifting the debt ceiling, it could well be what is now a recovery would turn into a recession or even worse,” said Olivier Blanchard, an International Monetary Fund economist.

On Tuesday, Obama sternly warned that “every American could see their 401(k)s and home values fall” and the country would see a “very significant risk” of a deep recession. The only responsible action, he repeated: raise the debt ceiling, without preconditions.

“We’re not going to pay ransom for” America paying its bills, he told reporters, placing the blame squarely on House Republicans. “Let’s lift these threats from our families and our businesses and let’s get down to work.”

In his remarks Tuesday afternoon, Boehner didn’t appear to give ground either. The president’s refusal to talk — until the government reopens and the debt ceiling is hiked — is “not sustainable,” according to Boehner.

“The idea that we should continue to spend money that we don’t have and give the bill to my kids and grandkids would be wrong,” he said.

GOP-led House, Democratic-led Senate offer plans

Boehner and conservative Republicans want to leverage the situation to wring concessions on deficit reduction from Democrats.

To keep up pressure, House Republicans voted Tuesday to set up negotiations on the debt limit and other fiscal issues. Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, a GOP leader in the House, said such a negotiating committee with members of both parties could pass a short-term extension of the debt ceiling while doing its work.

“I suspect we can work out some mechanism to raise the debt ceiling while negotiations are under way,” Cole said. “But we’re not going to simply raise it without talking about the deficit,” Cole said. It was unclear if his description would satisfy Obama’s insistence that the debt ceiling increase must be separate from political negotiations.

Yet Senate Democrats have dismissed the proposal, and the Obama administration has vowed to veto any such. Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York called these other GOP offers the latest in a series of “new gimmicks” that avoid the imminent need to fully reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling.

In the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. Max Baucus filed a proposal Tuesday to raise the debt ceiling without addressing any deficit reduction issues demanded by Republicans. The plan would address the debt ceiling issue through December 31, 2014 — past the next congressional elections.

Most Republicans would shy away from a bill that doesn’t specify spending cuts or other policy changes in return for the increased borrowing authority. Yet Democrats are hopeful some Republicans would vote across the aisle to prevent the potentially catastrophic economic repercussions of a default.

If Senate Republicans require all the time-consuming steps available to them to delay action on the debt ceiling measure, a final vote might not take place until two days before the deadline for raising the borrowing limit, the Democratic aide said.

Debt ceiling ‘like the smoke alarm’

Such a Senate measure could increase pressure on the GOP-controlled House to do the same. Yet Republican House leaders have made clear they’ll insist on concessions from Democrats before agreeing to raise the $16.7 trillion debt limit.

“The debt ceiling is there for a purpose. It’s like the smoke alarm,” said House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas. “Democrats want to unplug the smoke alarm, and Republicans want to go out and fight the fire.”

Boehner has insisted a deal to raise the debt ceiling must include deficit reduction steps to lower costs of entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

However, he and fellow Republicans have moved away from the demand of the tea party conservative wing of his caucus targeting the president’s signature Affordable Care Act passed by Democrats in 2010 and upheld by the Supreme Court last year.

Rep. Tom Cole said, while any final deal must include repealing a tax on medical devices that’s part of Obamacare, efforts otherwise to tie budget negotiations to the health care law appear dead.

“I think it’s been overtaken by the debt ceiling,” he said.

On the shutdown, Obama and Democrats say the House would pass a Senate-approved spending plan to end it if Boehner allowed a vote. A CNN survey indicates that — with 18 Republicans joining all 200 Democrats — a slim majority in the House would support such a move.

But Boehner won’t allow such a vote, Cole said.

“He basically said we’re going to have a negotiation,” the Oklahoma Republican said.

Poll: Most angry at both parties

While the two parties blame each other in Washington, outside the capital few get off easy.

In a national poll released Monday, most respondents said the government shutdown was causing a crisis or major problems for the country.

The CNN/ORC International survey indicated that slightly more people were angry at Republicans than Democrats or Obama for the shutdown, though both sides took a hit.

According to the poll conducted over the weekend, 63% of respondents said they were angry at the Republicans for the way they have handled the shutdown, while 57% expressed anger at Democrats and 53% at Obama.

“It looks like there is more than enough blame to go around, and both parties are being hurt by the shutdown,” said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

CNN’s Ted Barrett, Greg Botelho, Dana Bash and Brianna Keilar contributed to this report.

 TM & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

End the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling — even for a short period — and I’ll negotiate, President Barack Obama said Tuesday in providing a potential opening to end a political stalemate that has partially shut down the government and threatens a first-ever U.S. default next week.

“If there’s a way to solve this, it has to include reopening the government and saying America’s not going to default and we’re going to pay our bills,” he said in a White House news conference on the eighth day of the partial shutdown and nine days before the deadline to increase the federal borrowing limit or face default.

At one point, Obama looked directly into the camera and apologized to the American people for the continuing cycle of partisan brinksmanship over budget and deficit issues.

“We’ve got to stop repeating this pattern. I know the American people are tired of it,” the president said, adding: “I apologize you have to go through this stuff every three months, it seems like. And Lord knows, I’m tired of it. At some point we’ve got to break these habits.”

MORE: 12 things you should know about the debt ceiling and the shutdown

Obama spoke after calling House Speaker John Boehner in their latest exchange on how to end the shutdown that started October 1 and avoid a default by raising the federal borrowing limit before the estimated deadline for default on October 17.

Earlier, Boehner demanded that Obama and Democrats negotiate with Republicans, saying that “Americans expect us to work out our differences, but refusing to negotiate is an untenable position.”

He added that Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are “putting our country on a pretty dangerous path” by rejecting GOP calls for talks.

Obama has refused to negotiate on the shutdown or debt ceiling, calling the need to fund the government and increase its borrowing power constitutional responsibilities that must be free of partisan politics.

The White House and Boehner’s office agreed that little changed in the phone call Obama made to the speaker at 10:45 a.m.

Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said Obama reiterated his refusal to include the debt ceiling and a short-term spending plan to end the shutdown in negotiations on broader policy issues.

A White House statement said Obama “is willing to negotiate with Republicans — after the threat of government shutdown and default have been removed — over policies that Republicans think would strengthen the country.”

Obama also urged Boehner to allow a vote in the House on the Senate-passed measure to reopen the federal government, and called for quick action on raising the debt limit, the White House statement said.

ObamaIn both cases, Obama said the House should pass “clean” proposals that don’t have partisan amendments pushing GOP priorities, according to the statement.

Economists warn that failure to increase the amount the government can borrow to pay its bills would mean a spike in interest rates that would ripple through the U.S. economy, as well as other ramifications.

“If there was a problem lifting the debt ceiling, it could well be what is now a recovery would turn into a recession or even worse,” Olivier Blanchard, an International Monetary Fund economist, said Tuesday.

The shutdown that began when Congress failed to authorize government spending for the new fiscal year that started October 1 entered its second week, while the October 17 deadline to raise the debt ceiling looms ahead for political leaders locked in partisan stalemate.

GOP issues: Deficit reduction, health care reform

Boehner and conservative Republicans want to leverage the situation to wring concessions on deficit reduction and Obama’s signature health care reforms from the White House and Democrats.

So far, the president and Senate Democrats have rejected the GOP efforts, causing the impasse that is escalating public anger against all the parties involved, especially Republicans, according to recent polls.

To keep up pressure on Obama and Democrats, House Republicans will propose a measure to set up negotiations on the debt limit and other fiscal issues, as well as one to guarantee paychecks for essential government workers are issued on time during the shutdown, GOP sources said Tuesday.

Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, a GOP leader in the House, said a negotiating committee with Democrats and Republicans from both parties could pass a short-term extension of the debt ceiling while doing its work.

“I suspect we can work out some mechanism to raise the debt ceiling while negotiations are under way but we’re not going to simply raise it without talking about the deficit,” Cole said. It was unclear if his description would satisfy Obama’s insistence that the debt ceiling increase must be separate from political negotiations.

Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York called the GOP proposals the latest in a series of “new gimmicks” that avoid the need to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling before broader negotiations.

“We have a simple plea with them: Let’s open up the government, pay our debts, and then we’ll discuss anything they want in a forum in which they want to discuss it,” Schumer said. “It’s more of the same right now.”

Boehner didn’t mention the GOP proposals at a morning news conference, but he told reporters he wanted “conversation” with Obama and Democrats “to resolve our differences.” Asked about any preconditions for such talks, Boehner said he wasn’t “drawing any lines in the sand.”

In the Senate, Reid could file a proposal as soon as Tuesday to raise the debt ceiling without addressing any deficit reduction issues demanded by Republicans, a Senate Democratic leadership aide told CNN.

Sources told CNN that the Democratic plan would resolve the debt ceiling issue for at least a year, and perhaps through the 2014 congressional elections.

The move would be the first volley in what will be a torturous political struggle in coming days over the federal borrowing limit leading up to next week’s deadline to raise it.

Most Republicans would shy away from a bill that doesn’t specify spending cuts or other policy changes in return for the increased borrowing authority.

Democrats are hopeful some Republicans would vote across the aisle to prevent the potentially catastrophic economic repercussions of a default.

Obama: No talks under threats

If Senate Republicans require all the time-consuming steps available to them to delay action on the debt ceiling measure, a final vote might not take place until two days before the deadline for raising the borrowing limit, the Democratic aide said.

Such a Senate measure would increase pressure on the GOP-controlled House to do the same. But Republican House leaders have made clear they will insist on concessions from Democrats before agreeing to raise the debt ceiling.

Obama reiterated Monday that he will not negotiate with Congress while the country was under threat of a possible debt default.

“We’re not going to establish that pattern,” Obama said, adding that “we’re not going to negotiate under the threat of a prolonged shutdown until Republicans get 100% of what they want” or under the threat of “economic catastrophe.”

At the same time, the White House signaled a willingness to accept a short debt limit increase that would allow time for broader negotiations.

White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters that “I’m not ruling out” a debt ceiling increase of any particular length of time, adding he believed a longer one was better because it would provide certainty after what Obama characterized as “manufactured crises” over similar brinkmanship in recent years.

“Our position is only that it ought not to be a political football, because it’s a dangerous political football,” Carney said. “And you know, fumbling that football can cost you a lot more than seven points. It can tank the economy.”

Economists warn of dire fiscal impacts from failing to raise what is called the debt ceiling, such as a reduced U.S. credit rating that would spike borrowing costs. The economic blow and questions about America’s fiscal fidelity could bring a global slowdown, Obama has warned.

Boehner and Republicans kept up the pressure on Obama to negotiate with them over the debt ceiling, characterizing it as an unprecedented unwillingness by a U.S. president do so.

“There’s never been a president in our history that did not negotiate over the debt limit. Never. Not once,” Boehner said Tuesday, adding that Obama negotiated with him over the debt ceiling in 2011.

On Monday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell later said divided government means the two parties have to negotiate solutions.

“Until Senate Democrats accept that reality, these crises will only be harder to resolve,” McConnell, R-Kentucky, said.

However, one of Obama’s top economic advisers, Gene Sperling, told a Politico breakfast on Monday that “the era of threatening default has to be over.”

“If you sanction through negotiation the legitimacy of somebody threatening default, then that is going to happen over and over again,” Sperling said. “So sanctioning negotiations with someone threatening default is not going to end the risk of default. It is likely to increase the chances that we as a country eventually default or even perpetually threaten our full faith and credit.”

Debt ceiling ‘like the smoke alarm’

At issue is how to reach an agreement to fund the government in the newly started fiscal year and raise the $16.7 trillion debt limit.

Conservative Republicans intent on shrinking the government while trying to weaken Obamacare demand that any agreement on funding and raising the debt limit include their priorities.

“The debt ceiling is there for a purpose. It’s like the smoke alarm,” said House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas. “Democrats want to unplug the smoke alarm, and Republicans want to go out and fight the fire.”

Boehner has insisted that a deal to raise the debt ceiling must include deficit reduction steps that would lower costs of entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

However, he appeared to move away from the demand of the tea party conservative wing of his GOP caucus to dismantle or defund the health care reforms passed by Democrats in 2010 and upheld by the Supreme Court last year.

Obama and Democratic leaders want what are known as “clean” measures to fund the government for a short period and increase the debt limit, with no accompanying provisions involving contentious deficit reduction measures or GOP efforts to weaken Obamacare.

Once such measures are passed, they say, negotiations can take place on a full budget for fiscal year 2014 that began on October 1 and other issues such as reducing spending on entitlement programs.

Last week, a House Republican said on condition of not being identified that Boehner told GOP colleagues in private meetings he would not allow a government default to occur. But Boehner has remained adamant that an increased debt limit requires accompanying spending cuts.

On the shutdown, Obama and Democrats say the House would pass a Senate spending plan to end it if Boehner allowed a vote.

A CNN survey shows that 18 Republicans would join all 200 House Democrats in supporting the plan, exceeding the 217 majority needed for it to pass. At the same time, the CNN survey showed that fewer Republicans were willing to join Democrats in a procedural move called a discharge petition that would force Boehner to hold a vote.

Cole said Tuesday that Boehner told his caucus at a morning meeting that no such vote would take place.

“He basically said we’re going to have a negotiation” instead of caving to Democratic calls to vote on the Senate version, Cole said.

Anti-Obamacare effort fades

Tea party conservatives forced Boehner to add anti-Obamacare amendments to the Senate spending plan that would end the shutdown, and the Senate and Obama rejected them.

According to Cole, the effort to dismantle Obamacare through the budget negotiations appeared dead.

“I think it’s been overtaken by the debt ceiling,” he said, adding that one specific proposal to repeal a tax on medical devices under Obamacare could be part of the broader negotiations by the special committee being proposed by House Republicans.

Reid suggested Monday that the Senate measure would pass the House if put to a vote, and Americans would realize the government was shut down “for no apparent reason.”

Both Obama and Reid said Democrats were open to negotiate “anything” — with the president specifically mentioning health care — once the government shutdown ends and the debt ceiling gets increased.

House Republicans, however, fear losing their leverage in any talks by giving up those two points without any concessions.

In a new national poll released Monday, most respondents said the government shutdown was causing a crisis or major problems for the country.

While the CNN/ORC International survey also indicated that slightly more people were angry at Republicans than Democrats or Obama for the shutdown, both sides were taking a hit.

According to the poll conducted over the weekend, 63% of respondents said they were angry at the Republicans for the way they have handled the shutdown, while 57% expressed anger at Democrats and 53% at Obama.

“It looks like there is more than enough blame to go around, and both parties are being hurt by the shutdown,” said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

If Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling, borrowing money to meet the nation’s obligations won’t be possible, CNNMoney’s Jeanne Sahadi reported Monday.

Instead, Sahadi reported, lawmakers would have a few options to choose from that would have to be implemented right away — cut government spending for the military and other discretionary programs by up to 33% every month; cut mandatory spending such as entitlement programs by 16% every month, and raise taxes by up to 12% every month.

TM & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

1. We don’t have to default – unless you count a lot of important stuff.

The U.S. government has more than enough tax revenue to make all of its interest payments on Treasuries. So we won’t “default” in that sense. But there are all the other government obligations that we won’t have enough money for.

2. Those other obligations include Social Security, Medicare and military pay. Good luck “prioritizing” what to pay — and what to skip.

3. Government spending cuts would be severe. If we don’t raise the debt ceiling, spending would drop by about a third very quickly, and the resulting recession and stock market crash would be devastating.

4. The debt ceiling is about paying for past spending decisions. Political negotiations should focus on future spending decisions.

5. Oct. 17 is not “default day,” and missed payments wouldn’t happen until a few days later. Rather, Oct. 17 is the day Treasury Secretary Jack Lew thinks he’ll be out of tricks — he will still have about $30 billion in cash and incoming tax revenue.

6. Politicians and the media don’t do well with squishy deadlines. Our countdown clocks are probably wrong. And politicians will feel emboldened if nothing bad happens when the clock strikes midnight on what may turn out to be the wrong day.

7. Government tends to do whatever it wants in a crisis. That means if it really came to it, I bet we’d just pay everything anyway. Remember the way the Fed abruptly decided that Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley were bank holding companies so it could lend them money.

8. The shutdown is a different issue and not as big a risk to the economy as the debt ceiling. But beneath the surface, people are starting to feel the shutdown’s impact, especially small businesses, furloughed workers in the private sector and military families. And a few thousand preschoolers staying home.

9. Before too long, everything will go back to normal and we’ll start talking about slowing corporate profits and when the Fed will start to taper. But we still won’t be having the meaningful debate we need to have about the long-term debt.

10. Forecasters will be wrong: Financial markets won’t behave like the consensus expects them to.

11. But there will be one investment guru who calls it exactly right and becomes a star. And he or she will lose a lot of money next year.

12. Stories about Apple will always get more page views than stories about dysfunction in Washington.

 

 

 

TM & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

By Jim Acosta, Senior White House Correspondent

Is it a glimmer of hope, or more rhetoric as the deadline for possible government default gets closer?

After weeks of near silence without any hint of a potential compromise between the Obama administration and congressional Republicans over raising the nation’s debt ceiling, the White House may be offering some conciliatory language that could help lead to a deal to prevent a potential default on October 17.

As recently as Friday, White House officials declined to specify any demand for the length of a deal to increase the nation’s debt ceiling.

Then on Monday, a White House official said it was up to Congress to decide how long the debt ceiling increase should last.

“It is up to Congress to pass a debt limit increase, and up to them for how long and when they want to deal with this again,” the official told CNN. “We have been super clear we think longer is better because it lends more certainty.”

With parts of the government shut down for a week and counting, the focus of ending a deepening political stalemate is shifting to the upcoming deadline to increase how much the federal government can borrow. The reference to the length of a debt ceiling deal caused speculation that the White House might be signaling flexibility on the issue to legislators.

However, President Barack Obama reiterated Monday that he will not negotiate with Congress while the country was under threat of a possible debt default.

“We’re not going to establish that pattern,” Obama said, adding that “we’re not going to negotiate under the threat of a prolonged shutdown until Republicans get 100% of what they want” or under the threat of “economic catastrophe.”

White House spokesman Jay Carney later told reporters that “I’m not ruling out” a debt ceiling increase of any particular length of time. But he said he believed a longer one was better, because it would provide certainty after what Obama characterized as “manufactured crises” over similar brinksmanship in recent years.

“Our position is only that it ought not to be a political football, because it’s a dangerous political football,” Carney said. “And you know, fumbling that football can cost you a lot more than seven points. It can tank the economy.”

Economists warn of dire fiscal impacts from failing to raise what is called the debt ceiling, such as a reduced U.S. credit rating that would spike borrowing costs. The economic blow and questions about America’s fiscal fidelity could bring a global slowdown, Obama has warned.

Analysts blamed concerns over the political impasse for another down day on Wall Street. All three major stock indexes fell, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average losing 136 points, or nearly 1 percent.

House Speaker John Boehner said Sunday there will be no debt limit increase and no end to the partial government shutdown that began October 1, unless Obama and Senate Democrats negotiate a broader agreement with House Republicans.

On Monday, he repeated his accusation that Obama was refusing to hold talks with Republicans, even with the looming threat of a default.

“The American people expect that when their leaders have differences and we are in a time of crisis that we will sit down and at least have a conversation,” Boehner said, adding that “it is time to have that conversation before our economy is put further at risk.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell later said divided government means the two parties have to negotiate solutions.

“Until Senate Democrats accept that reality, these crises will only be harder to resolve,” McConnell, R-Kentucky, said.

However, one of Obama’s top economic advisers, Gene Sperling, told a Politico breakfast on Monday that “the era of threatening default has to be over.”

“If you sanction through negotiation the legitimacy of somebody threatening default, then that is going to happen over and over again,” Sperling said. “So sanctioning negotiations with someone threatening default is not going to end the risk of default. It is likely to increase the chances that we as a country eventually default or even perpetually threaten our full faith and credit.”

At issue is how to reach an agreement to fund the government in the newly started fiscal year and raise the $16.7 trillion debt limit.

Conservative Republicans intent on shrinking the government while trying to weaken Obamacare demand that any agreement on funding for the new fiscal year and raising the debt limit include their priorities.

“The debt ceiling is there for a purpose. It’s like the smoke alarm,” said House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas. “Democrats want to unplug the smoke alarm, and Republicans want to go out and fight the fire.”

Boehner insisted that a deal to raise the debt ceiling must include deficit reduction steps that would lower costs of entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

However, he appeared to move away from the demand of the tea party conservative wing of his GOP caucus to dismantle or defund Obama’s signature health care reforms passed by Democrats in 2010 and upheld by the Supreme Court last year.

“My goal here is to have a serious conversation about those things that are driving the deficit and driving the debt up,” Boehner said, noting that the retirement of the “baby boomer” generation will strain Social Security and Medicare beyond the breaking point if no remedial steps are taken.

“It is time to deal with America’s problems,” he said. “How can you raise the debt limit and do nothing about the underlying problem?”

Obama and Democratic leaders in Congress insist that such congressional responsibilities — to keep the government running and able to pay its debts — must be free of partisan political pressure to avoid the kind of collateral damage happening in the current stalemate.

They want what are known as “clean” measures to fund the government for a short period and increase the debt limit, with no accompanying provisions involving contentious deficit reduction measures or GOP efforts to weaken Obamacare.

Once such measures are passed, they say, negotiations can take place on a full budget for fiscal year 2014 that began on October 1 and other issues such as reducing spending on entitlement programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

Last week, a House Republican said on condition of not being identified that Boehner told GOP colleagues in private meetings he would not allow a government default to occur. But Boehner sounded more combative on Sunday, saying Obama and Senate Democrats refused to negotiate on either a spending plan to end the shutdown or the debt ceiling.

Senate Democrats are expected this week to take up a debt ceiling bill that would not propose any policy changes or spending cuts demanded by Republicans, according to a Senate Democratic leadership aide.

The aide said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid could introduce a “clean” bill as early as Monday that could bring a first key procedural vote on Friday.

On the shutdown, Boehner insisted Obama and Democrats were wrong in saying a “clean” short-term spending plan to reopen the government would pass in the House with support from some Republicans and most Democrats.

“There are not the votes in the House to pass a clean CR,” Boehner said.

Obama rejected Boehner’s contention on Monday, saying the speaker “should prove it” by holding the vote.

“My very strong suspicion is there are enough votes there,” Obama said, adding that Boehner “apparently doesn’t want to see the government shutdown end … unless he’s able to extract concessions that don’t have anything to do with the budget.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid suggested the measure would pass the House, and that Americans would realize the government was shut down “for no apparent reason.” Both Obama and Reid said Democrats were open to negotiate “anything” — with the president specifically mentioning health care — once the government shutdown ends and the debt ceiling gets increased.

House Republicans, however, fear losing their leverage in any talks by giving up those two points without any concessions.

In a new national poll released Monday, most respondents said the government shutdown was causing a crisis or major problems for the country.

While the CNN/ORC International survey also indicated that slightly more people were angry at Republicans than Democrats or Obama for the shutdown, both sides were taking a hit.

According to the poll conducted over the weekend, 63% of respondents said they were angry at the Republicans for the way they have handled the shutdown, while 57% expressed anger at Democrats and 53% at Obama.

“It looks like there is more than enough blame to go around and both parties are being hurt by the shutdown,” said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said on CNN’s State of the Union that the government risks more than its credit rating if the debt ceiling is not increased by October 17. He dismissed suggestions that the government could avoid default by making only interest payments, saying Social Security payments and veteran’s benefits could be endangered.

“It’s very dangerous, it’s reckless,” Lew said.

If Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling, borrowing money to meet the nation’s obligations won’t be possible, CNNMoney’s Jeanne Sahadi reported Monday.

Instead, Sahadi reported, lawmakers would have a few options to choose from that would have to be implemented right away — cut government spending for the military and other discretionary programs by up to 33% every month; cut mandatory spending such as entitlement programs by 16% every month, and raising taxes by up to 12% every month.

CNN’s David Simpson, Tom Cohen and Brianna Keilar contributed to this report.

TM & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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