by Matthew Rusling
WASHINGTON, Oct. 8 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. government entered its 8th day of partial closure on Tuesday, with no end in sight amid bitter division between Republicans and the White House.
Last week saw the first government shutdown in 17 years and nonessential U.S. government employees sent home after House Republicans made passing a budget contingent on delaying the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, for a year.
The issue has now shifted to the debt ceiling. Democrats plan to introduce a bill later this week that would increase the country's 16.7 trillion U.S. dollar borrowing limit in a bid to prevent a default that could have major economic consequences.
Oct. 17 is the next crucial deadline -- the last day that the U.S. Treasury Department estimates that the federal government is certain to have enough money to pay its bills.
The legislation does not include the deficit-reducing measures Republicans want. And with less than two weeks before the deadline, the stage could be set for yet another showdown.
Some experts believe the U.S. may fail to meet the deadline to pay interest on the massive U.S. debt, but emphasized that Washington is unlikely to completely blow off its debt responsibilities.
"Could they go past the default deadline? It's possible. Are they going to actually default? No," Republican Strategist Ford O'Connell told Xinhua.
SHUTDOWN SPARKS CONSUMER CONFIDENCE NOSEDIVE
While many experts contend the shutdown will have few real economic consequences, a Gallup poll released Tuesday found that Americans' confidence in the economy plunged this week.
Indeed, it has deteriorated more over the past week than in any week since Lehman Brothers collapsed on Sept. 15, 2008, which sparked a global economic nosedive, the survey found.
Gallup's Economic Confidence Index tumbled 12 points to minus 34 last week, the second-largest weekly decline since Gallup began tracking economic confidence daily in January 2008.
While the U.S. economy is stronger than during the 2011 debt ceiling crisis, the current budget debate and government shutdown clearly show that partisan brinksmanship and the uncertainty it causes on Wall Street can negatively affect consumer confidence, Gallup found.
What's more, Congress' inability to reach a compromise to end the shutdown and raise the debt ceiling could negatively affect U.S. stock prices, the country's credit rating and ultimately, the nation's economic recovery, Gallup argued.
U.S. SHUTDOWN COULD SHAKE ASIA'S CONFIDENCE IN WASHINGTON
Many experts say the shutdown underscores the level of dysfunction in U.S. Congress. And if such drama in Washington becomes a regular occurrence, it could rattle Asia's confidence in the U.S. as a reliable trading partner.
Indeed, the shutdown brouhaha caused President Barack Obama to cancel his travel plans to Southeast Asia over the weekend. Top agenda items included moving forward with the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement with Malaysia.
Some analysts argue the U.S. could lose credibility with the region if leaders there view U.S. Congress as out of control, as it must ratify most trade agreements with foreign countries.
"These negotiations will most likely go in favor of the U.S., (but) repeated delays could undermine the region's (Southeast Asia) sense of American reliability," the global intelligence group Stratfor said in an article.
Obama urges Democrats, Republicans to work on budget differences
WASHINGTON, Oct. 8 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday urged Democrats and Republicans to work on their budget differences to end the fiscal logjam, saying he is willing to talk with Republicans only after the threats of government shutdown and debt default are removed.
Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives do not get to demand ransom for doing their basic jobs of funding the government, Obama said at a press conference in the White House. Full story
U.S. House speaker presses Obama to negotiate over budget, debt limit
WASHINGTON, Oct. 8 (Xinhua) -- U.S. House Speaker John Boehner on Tuesday urged President Barack Obama to sit down with Republicans as soon as possible to negotiate over government budget and the debt ceiling to solve the fiscal deadlock.
Speaking hours after Obama's press conference at the White House, Boehner reiterated the message that an increase of the government's borrowing authority must be tied with fiscal reforms to reduce the government's budget deficits. Full story
U.S. policy makers seek way out of gov't shutdown, debt default crisis
WASHINGTON, Oct. 7 (Xinhua) -- As the fiscal stalemate over U.S. federal government's budget and borrowing authority lingers, there are positive signs on Monday that U.S. policy makers are mulling over a way out of the logjam.
U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday said he is willing to discuss the government budget and fiscal policy with Republicans to end the partial government shutdown. Full story