Day 12: US stays 'shut'

President Barack Obama and his Democrats and opposition Republicans have yet to reach a deal on how to end the government shutdown, now in its 12th day, or raise the debt limit, but they have agreed to keep talking.

Barack Obama

“We’re obviously in a better place than we were a few days ago in terms of the constructive approach we’ve seen,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said after a series of meetings this week between Obama and lawmakers of both parties.

Obama and John Boehner, Speaker of the Republican controlled House, spoke on the phone after a meeting with Senate Republicans at the White House following one with House Republicans.

“The two of them agreed all sides need to keep talking on the issues here that -- have led to the shutdown of the government and the situation that has put us on the precipice of potential default,” Carney said.

Obama reiterated that ongoing budget negotiations could and would cover all potential Republican concerns -- but only after the default and shutdown issues were resolved.

Cannot pay ransom
Obama “appreciates the constructive nature of the conversation and the proposal that House Republicans put forward,” said Carney. However, “he has some concerns with it”.

“The president’s position is that the US should not, and the American people cannot, pay a ransom in exchange for Congress doing its job remains as true today as it has throughout this period,” he said.

Meanwhile, the finance ministers and central bankers of the Group of 20 world’s largest economies pressed the US to head off a potentially devastating default. The US “needs to take urgent action to address short-term fiscal uncertainties”, the group, which accounts for 90 per cent of world output and two-thirds of its population, said a communiqué issued at the end of a meeting here.

Solving the impasse is crucial for a global economy that is showing signs of improvement but still facing “downside risks,” the G20 said.

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