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October 10, 2013

All quiet on compromise front

(Continued)

“Insolvency and bankruptcy” would be worse, he said, warning that that would be the result of yet another increase in the debt limit without attaching measures to bring down the federal budget deficit.

The partial shutdown ground on, although an Associated Press-GfK poll suggested the impact was anything but uniform. Only 17 percent of those polled said they or their households had experienced any impact, while 81 percent said they had not.

Who’s fault? Some 62 percent said Republicans were mostly or entirely to blame for the partial shutdown, which began on Oct. 8, while 49 percent said as much for President Barack Obama.

There was widespread agreement on one point. The country is widely dissatisfied with elected lawmakers.

A new Gallup poll put approval for Congress at 11 percent, a mere one in every nine adults. The AP-GfK survey made it 5 percent approval — and only 3 percent among independents, whose votes are the main prize in next fall’s midterm elections. Nationally, a whopping 83 percent of adults disapprove of Congress’ actions.

Inside the Capitol, neither private meetings nor public votes offered any hint of progress toward ending the latest gridlock.

Republicans are seeking negotiations on budget, health care and other issues as the price for reopening the government and raising the debt limit. Obama and Democrats say no talks unless legislation is first passed.

The House voted 252-172 to reopen the Federal Aviation Administration. Democrats generally opposed the measure and the White House issued a veto threat, saying the government should be reopened all at once, not on a piecemeal basis.

There was a brief moment of unity when the House voted 425-0 to let the Pentagon pay death benefits to the families of fallen U.S. troops.

That was the topic that drew Black’s attention in his daily prayer at the opening of the Senate’s session. “When our federal shutdown delays payments of death benefits to families of children dying in faraway battlefields, it’s time for our lawmakers to say, ‘Enough is enough,” he said.

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