Focus of shutdown negotiations shifts to US Senate
WASHINGTON (AP) - House talks with President Barack Obama over ending the partial government shutdown and preventing a federal default have stalled, Speaker John Boehner told fellow Republicans on Saturday, shifting the focus to Senate efforts to end the twin stalemates.
The closed-door Republican session came as the shutdown began its 12th day. Saturday also marked just five days from when administration officials have warned the government will deplete its ability to borrow money and risk a first-time federal default that could jolt the world economy.
There are two issues at play: The US government has been partially shut since Oct 1, idling about 350,000 federal workers, because of Congress' failure to pass a normally routine temporary spending Bill. Separately, Mr Obama wants Congress to extend the government's borrowing authority - another matter that usually had been routine - warning that if it fails to do so by Oct 17, the United States will not be able to pay its bills.
Across the Capitol, senators planned to vote on Saturday on a Democratic measure to lift the government's borrowing cap through the end of next year. Republicans were poised to reject it. But more importantly, a bipartisan group of senators, closely watched by Senate leaders, is polishing a plan aimed at reaching a compromise with Mr Obama.