Faced with the looming prospect of a debt default, President Barack Obama today 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.
In his weekly address to the nation, Obama outlined details of his meetings with Republican lawmakers over the past few days to resolve the unprecedented crisis.
"I know you're frustrated by what you see in your nation's capital right now. But because it's easy to get lost in or give up on the political back-and-forth, I want you to remember: this is not normal," he said.
Meanwhile, the Republicans today 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 today said he wanted a long-term deal.
"It wouldn't be wise, as some suggest, to just kick the debt ceiling can down the road for a couple of months, and flirt with a first-ever intentional default right in the middle of the holiday shopping season," Obama said.
"Our government is closed for the first time in 17 years. A political party is risking default for the first time since the 1700s. This is not normal. That's why we have to put a stop to it. Not only because it's dangerous, but because it saps everyone's faith in our extraordinary system of self-government. And that hurts us all," Obama said.
Obama blamed the Republican Party leadership for the current situation, saying "constant brinkmanship" does not let his government do a lot of things.
"Whether it's the work of creating jobs, growing the economy, or getting our fiscal house in order for the long haul, we've got a lot of work to do – and constant brinkmanship doesn't let us do it," he said.
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.
"This bill would have taken the threat of default off the table, and given our nation's businesses and the economy the certainty we need," he said.
"With five days until the government runs out of borrowing authority, Congress needs to move forward with a solution that reopens the government and allows us to pay our bills so we can move on to the business of achieving a broader budget deal that creates jobs, grows the economy and strengthens the middle class," Carney said in a statement.
Obama, in his address, said that America's said the crisis was threatening America's credit and standing in the world.
"It inflicts real pain on real people. It creates spasms of uncertainty for business owners. It threatens our nation's credit and standing in the world," Obama said.
"And the longer it goes on – the more frequently this brinkmanship is inflicted – the more we'll see markets react, businesses put off plans to spend and hire, and unemployment claims tick up," he said.
"The hundreds of thousands of hardworking civil servants who go even longer without pay will worry that they won't be able to cover their bills, and that their own creditworthiness will be ruined for no good reason at all," Obama said.
In a sign of a possible thaw in the crisis, popular tourist sites like the Statue of Liberty, the Grand Canyon and Mount Rushmore, closed till now, will re-open enabling some workers to get back to work.
The funding will be provided by the states of New York, Arizona and South Dakota, however, with other national parks and monuments remaining closed due to the political deadlock.
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