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White House Talks Fail To End U.S. Shutdown

  • RFE/RL

U.S. President Barack Obama has refused to negotiate with Republicans over Obamacare.

U.S. President Barack Obama has refused to negotiate with Republicans over Obamacare.

Talks between President Barack Obama and opposition Republican leaders have failed to end the partial U.S. government shutdown, which is entering its third day.

After the talks, Republican leaders and lawmakers from Obama's Democratic Party again accused each other of refusing to moderate their stands and negotiate a temporary budget agreement to end the crisis.

The White House later released a statement saying Obama remains hopeful that "common sense will prevail."

The shutdown -- which began at midnight on October 1, the start of the new fiscal year -- has sent hundreds of thousands of federal workers home without pay, and closed scores of U.S. agencies, landmarks, national parks, and other facilities deemed "nonessential."

Ahead of the October 2 talks with Republicans, Obama warned the financial community that it should be concerned about a prolonged shutdown. Analysts said the remark could influence markets.

Obama vowed on CNBC television that he would not negotiate with Republicans until they agree to fund the government and pass legislation to raise the $16.7 trillion U.S. debt ceiling.

Without a new, increased debt limit by the middle of October, the United States could default, potentially triggering global financial chaos.

Republicans who control the House of Representatives, mostly from the antitax Tea Party wing, are demanding changes to Obama’s universal health-care law, commonly known as Obamacare, in exchange for agreeing to a spending plan for the new fiscal year.

But Obama and the Democrats have stood firm in their position that the law, which was passed three years ago and is now being implemented, is not open for renegotiation.

The Democrats have also dismissed Republican attempts to pass legislation that would approve temporary funding for certain parts of the government, such as national parks or the National Institutes of Health.

Obama said he would not allow "extremist" factions of the two main U.S. political parties to extort concessions by threatening the creditworthiness and operating budget of the United States.

Obama also described himself as "exasperated," calling the crisis "entirely unnecessary."

The White House talks brought Obama together with Republican House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Republican minority leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, and House Democratic minority leader Nancy Pelosi.

With reporting from AP, AFP, and Reuters
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