GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN: Stalemate enters week 2 - KMSP-TV

GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN: Stalemate enters week 2

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Flickr/Creative Commons/Kevin Burkett Flickr/Creative Commons/Kevin Burkett

Sunday saw lots of finger-pointing -- but no signs of progress -- as the partial-government shutdown enters its second week of budget brinkmanship in Washington, D.C.

Without any deal in place, the United States may soon default on the government's debt for the first time. Yet, neither side showed any sign of blinking as the political stalemate crossed the one-week milestone.

"We're not going to pass a clean debt limit increase," House Speaker John Boehner told George Stephanopoulos. "I told the president, 'There's no way we're going to pass one. The votes are not in the House to pass a clean debt limit.'"

In a Sunday-morning interview on ABC's "This Week," Boehner made it clear that his caucus does not intend to budge without serious talks on spending cuts.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration has warned that, without any congressional action, the government will lose its ability to borrow on Oct. 17 and could default on the country's $16.7 trillion debt.

"We're on the verge of going into a place we've never been and not have any cash to pay our bills," Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Although default may not occur on that day, Lew's grim prediction is that the country won't have anything left in the coffers if that deadline is passed.

"On Oct. 17, we will exhaust our borrowing capacity," he said.

Lew explained that President Barack Obama remains opposed to coupling a bill to re-open the government and raise the debt limit by accepting Republican demands to change the Affordable Care Act and include spending cuts. Even so, GOP leaders appeared adamant that Obama must negotiate to end the shutdown and avert default.

"The president said he won't negotiate on the continuing resolution, and now he says he won't negotiate on the debt -- but what he needs to do is roll up his sleeves and get to the table," Sen. John Cornyn, of Texas, said on "Face the Nation."

Although the pundits and interviews suggest gridlock, however, some have publicly challenged Boehner's claims that there are not enough votes to address the debt limit. Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer, of New York, used his time on "This Week" to issue a "friendly challenge."

"Put it on the floor on Monday or Tuesday," Schumer urged. "I would bet there are the votes to pass it. We have just about every Democrat. Twenty-one Republicans have said they would vote for it. Many more Republicans have said privately they would. So, Speaker Boehner, let's vote. Put it on the floor and let's see if you're right."

Both the House and Senate are scheduled to return to work on Monday afternoon, but hundreds of thousands of federal workers remain furloughed as they wait for Congress to strike a compromise. In the interim, the national parks will remain closed and many government services are grinding to a halt.

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