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Boehner Presses For Short-Term Debt Increase

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email
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Associated Press Release

Associated Press Release
By ANDREW TAYLOR

WASHINGTON (AP) -- House Speaker John Boehner says Republicans will advance legislation to temporarily extend the government's ability to borrow to meet its obligations.

Boehner said the measure would advance if President Barack Obama agrees to negotiate over reopening the government and to "start to deal with America's pressing problems."

Obama has said consistently that Republicans must reopen the government and prevent the threat of a first-ever government default before he'll negotiate over the budget and other conditions Republicans have sought.

Boehner also said he would appoint House negotiators to try to sort out differences between vastly different House- and Senate-passed budget blueprints.

Boehner said: "It's time for leadership. It's time for these negotiations and this conversation to begin."


Associated Press Release
By ANDREW TAYLOR

WASHINGTON (AP) -- GOP aides say House Speaker John Boehner will ask House Republicans to approve a short-term extension of the government's ability to borrow to meet its bills.

The Ohio Republican is slated to urge his staunchly conservative GOP colleagues to act before the government runs out of borrowing authority next week.

Republicans have been insistent that budget cuts and other measures be added to the so-called debt ceiling legislation but the aides wouldn't say whether he'll seek to add other material to the measure.

The aides required anonymity to reveal the information before Boehner makes an announcement after a closed-door meeting with his GOP colleagues.


Associated Press Release
By CALVIN WOODWARD and JENNIFER AGIESTA

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama and lawmakers must rise above their incessant bickering and do more to end the partial government shutdown, according to a poll Wednesday that places the brunt of the blame on Republicans but finds no one standing tall in Washington.

"So frustrating," Martha Blair, 71, of Kerrville, Texas, said of the fiscal paralysis as her scheduled national parks vacation sits in limbo. "Somebody needs to jerk those guys together to get a solution, instead of just saying `no."'

The Associated Press-GfK survey affirms expectations by many in Washington -- Republicans among them -- that the GOP may end up taking the biggest hit in public opinion from the shutdown, as happened when much of the government closed 17 years ago. But the situation is fluid nine days into the shutdown and there's plenty of disdain to go around.

Overall, 62 percent mainly blamed Republicans for the shutdown. About half said Obama or the Democrats in Congress bear much responsibility.

Most Americans consider the shutdown a serious problem for the country, the poll finds, though more than four in five have felt no personal effect. For those who have, thwarted vacations and a honeymoon at shuttered national parks, difficulty getting work done without federal contacts on the job and hitches in government benefits were among the complaints.

Asked if she blamed Obama, House Republicans, Senate Democrats or the tea party for the shutdown, Blair, an independent, said yes, you bet. All of them. She's paid to fly with a group to four national parks in Arizona and California next month and says she can't get her money back or reschedule if the parks remain closed. "I'm concerned," she said, "but it seems kind of trivial to people who are being shut out of work."

The poll found that the tea party is more than a gang of malcontents in the political landscape, as its supporters in Congress have been portrayed by Democrats. Rather, it's a sizable -- and divisive -- force among Republicans. More than 4 in 10 Republicans identified with the tea party and were more apt than other Republicans to insist that their leaders hold firm in the standoff over reopening government and avoiding a default of the nation's debt in coming weeks.

Most Americans disapprove of the way Obama is handling his job, the poll suggests, with 53 percent unhappy with his performance and 37 percent approving of it. Congress is scraping rock bottom, with a ghastly approval rating of 5 percent.

Indeed, anyone making headlines in the dispute has earned poor marks for his or her trouble, whether it's Democrat Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, or Republican John Boehner, the House speaker, both with a favorability rating of 18 percent.

And much of the country draws a blank on Republican Ted Cruz of Texas despite his 21-hour Senate speech before the shutdown. Only half in the poll were familiar enough with him to register an opinion. Among those who did, 32 percent viewed him unfavorably, 16 percent favorably.

Comparisons could not be drawn conclusively with how people viewed leaders before the shutdown because the poll was conducted online, while previous AP-GfK surveys were done by telephone. Some changes may be due to the new methodology, not shifts in opinion. The poll provides a snapshot of public opinion starting in the third day of the shutdown.

The poll comes with both sides dug in and trading blame while an unprecedented national default approaches if nothing is done to raise the debt limit. Obama plans to invite Republican lawmakers to the White House and meet senators of both parties in coming days. His meeting with congressional leaders last week produced no results. Obama is insisting Republicans reopen government and avert default before any negotiations on deficit reduction or his 2010 health care law are held.

Among the survey's findings:

-- Sixty-eight percent said the shutdown is a major problem for the country, including majorities of Republicans (58 percent), Democrats (82 percent) and independents (57 percent).

-- Fifty-two percent said Obama is not doing enough to cooperate with Republicans to end the shutdown; 63 percent say Republicans aren't doing enough to cooperate with him.

-- Republicans are split on just how much cooperation they want. Among those who do not back the tea party, fully 48 percent say their party should be doing more with Obama to find a solution. But only 15 percent of tea-party Republicans want that outreach. The vast majority of them say GOP leaders are doing what they should with the president, or should do even less with him.

-- People seem conflicted or confused about the showdown over the debt limit. Six in 10 predict an economic crisis if the government's ability to borrow isn't renewed later this month with an increase in the debt limit -- an expectation widely shared by economists. Yet only 30 percent say they support raising the limit; 46 percent were neutral on the question.

In Mount Prospect, Ill., Barbara Olpinski, 51, a Republican who blames Obama and both parties for the shutdown, said her family is already seeing an impact and that will worsen if the impasse goes on. She's an in-home elderly care director, her daughter is a physician's assistant at a rural clinic that treats patients who rely on government coverage, and her husband is a doctor who can't get flu vaccines for patients on public assistance because deliveries have stopped.

"People don't know how they are going to pay for things, and what will be covered," she said. "Everybody is kind of like holding their wallets."

The AP-GfK Poll was conducted Oct. 3-7 and involved online interviews with 1,227 adults. The survey has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points for all respondents.

The survey used GfK's KnowledgePanel, a probability-based Internet panel designed to be representative of the U.S. population. Respondents to the survey were first selected randomly using phone or mail survey methods, and were later interviewed for this survey online. People selected for KnowledgePanel who didn't have online access were given that access at no cost to them.

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Online:

AP-GfK Poll: http://www.ap-gfkpoll.com


Associated Press Release

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama says he told House Speaker John Boehner he's willing to negotiate with Republicans on their priorities, but not under the threat of "economic chaos."

Obama spoke to reporters at the White House Tuesday in the midst of the eighth day of a partial government shutdown and a few hours after calling Boehner.

Obama says he urged Boehner to hold a vote immediately to reopen the government.

The White House says Obama also urged Boehner to hold a vote that would allow the government to borrow more money.

Senate Democrats are planning a vote this week to provide new borrowing, without new spending cuts Republicans want.


Associated Press Release
By CONNIE CASS

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Across America the government's work is piling up, and it's not just paperwork. It's old tires and red Solo cups littering a stretch of river in Nebraska. Food poisoning microbes awaiting analysis in Atlanta. The charred wreckage of a plane in California, preserved in case safety investigators return.

And it's the dead eagle in Wendi Pencille's freezer.

Pencille tends to injured birds in her upstate New York home. When a bald eagle dies, she sends the federally protected remains to a special eagle repository near Denver that ships feathers and carcasses to Indian tribes for their sacred ceremonies.

But the federal bird shippers are on furlough while much of the U.S. government, like her fallen eagle, is on ice.

"I couldn't send it, because it would just rot in a mailbox somewhere," said Pencille. So the volunteer wildlife rehabilitator put the 9-pound bird in the freezer alongside food for the owls, hawks and two live eagles recovering at her Medina home.

"I'd like to get it out of there," Pencille said. "We definitely need the space."

A week into a partial government shutdown, some messy stuff is stacking up.

Toxic waste is on hold at the Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund sites, although work continues at those deemed an imminent threat to human life. The federal shutdown is fouling up some state and local clean-ups, too. For example, volunteers ready to pick up trash on sandbars and islands along 39 miles of the Missouri River in northeast Nebraska were told to stand down when they lost the use of federal boats.

The Labor Department delayed its monthly count of how many people are looking for work, which was due Friday and highly anticipated by stock traders. The Agriculture Department stopped cranking out tallies of livestock auctions and crop yields, which are vital numbers to farmers and buyers. The Centers for Disease Control isn't tracking the nation's flu cases, just as the season is getting started.

Other diseases are going unmonitored, too, such as microbes that could signal a multi-state outbreak of food poisoning.

The staff of 80 that normally analyze foodborne pathogens sent by states has been furloughed down to two. They are concentrating on looking for the biggies, such as possible salmonella, E. coli or listeria outbreaks. Other germs, including shigella and campylobacter, go ignored for now.

"The blind spots are getting bigger every day as this goes on," said CDC spokeswoman Barbara Reynolds in Atlanta.

Timber will wait to be felled if the shutdown lasts much longer, since the Forest Service is starting the shutdown of logging operations this week. IRS refunds and farm subsidy checks are backing up. The future is on hold for some immigrants, because hearings that could lead to their deportation have been postponed.

The somber work of federal safety investigators has nearly come to a standstill.

In California, the wreckage of a private jet that crashed into a hangar at Santa Monica Airport, killing four people, is being preserved off-site for National Transportation Safety Board investigators who packed up and left when the shutdown began Oct. 1.

Almost all of the board's 400 employees were furloughed, said NTSB spokeswoman Kelly Nantel. Investigators examining a train collision in Chicago were kept on the job, however, because of urgent safety concerns raised by that accident.

Compared with what furloughed federal workers must deal with, the eagle in her freezer is just an inconvenience, Pencille, president of the Bless the Beasts Foundation, said Friday.

A bigger worry for her: What will happen to wounded eagles and ospreys in the nearby Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge while the shutdown keeps hunters and birdwatchers out?

"Without people over there," Pencille said of the birds, "if they get injured, nobody is going to find them."

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Associated Press writers Mary Claire Jalonick and Joan Lowy in Washington and Justin Pritchard in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

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Online: Bless the Beasts Foundation: http://blessthebeastsinc.webs.com


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