Fiscal talks pick up, but route to end government shutdown still murky (+video)
The House may vote to raise the debt limit as soon as this weekend, but that doesn’t guarantee reciprocal action in the Senate. Meanwhile, the government shutdown is putting a damper on already-weak economic growth.
After days of congressional inaction on a pair of urgent fiscal deadlines, this week draws toward a close on a positive note: Washington politicians are talking more often, more substantively, and more respectfully than they had been.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Shutdown! Government closed
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The sobering follow-up: Despite progress, the fiscal quagmire may linger for a while.
That’s the case even though the House could vote as soon as this weekend on a bill addressing one of those fiscal deadlines: raising the government’s debt limit after the current borrowing cap is reached around Oct. 17.
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Still, both sides are seeking possible paths forward to raise the debt limit and to address the other deadline: ending an 11-day-old partial shutdown of the government, which began with the failure of Congress to pass a budget for the new fiscal year.
Mr. Obama met with Senate Republicans Friday. After all the recent clashing in Washington, that bears repeating: The Democratic president talked for more than an hour with a group of living, breathing Republican lawmakers. And he met with House Republicans the previous evening.
What’s more, Republicans didn’t rip into their rival in the Oval Office afterward.
“It is my hope that if both sides give a little, both sides can walk away [with an agreement of which] we can all be proud,” Sen. Roger Wicker (R) of Mississippi said at a hearing Friday focused on the shutdown’s negative effects on the US economy. He said it seems that both sides are “getting closer” to a negotiation process.
Mr. Carney also noted that Obama and House Speaker John Boehner had agreed Friday that “everybody should keep talking,” and Carney called this a “marked difference” from the political climate that had prevailed in recent days.