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Obama ‘receptive’ to GOP framework for solving government budget issues

October 11, 2013 at 12:00 AM EDT
After a meeting at the White House, Senate Republicans began work on a bipartisan plan to temporarily lift the debt ceiling and fund the government, while House GOP members updated their proposal. Congressional correspondent Kwame Holman reports on the shutdown’s toll on federal programs and poll numbers.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Our lead story tonight: The truce talks in Washington’s war over spending went into the weekend, with much of the government still closed. House and Senate Republicans bargained separately with President Obama on ways to raise the debt ceiling and end the shutdown.

NewsHour congressional correspondent Kwame Holman has our report.

KWAME HOLMAN: After nearly two hours at the White House, Senate Republicans returned to the Capitol this afternoon with a pledge to work on a bipartisan plan. A framework put forward by Maine Republican Susan Collins would include a short-term debt limit increase and funding to reopen the government.

It would also repeal the tax on medical devices, used to help finance the health care law. And it would give federal agencies more flexibility to manage mandatory spending cuts. Collins said President Obama listened and seemed receptive.

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS, R-Maine: He said that some of the elements were issues we could work on, but he certainly didn’t endorse them. There were many conversations on the long-term debt problem. Many members expressed concern about raising the debt limit without a specific plan to deal with our $17 trillion national debt.

KWAME HOLMAN: Meanwhile, House Republicans updated their proposal. Aides said it temporarily lifts the debt ceiling, ends the shutdown and replaces some of the spending cuts with curbs on benefit programs.

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At the White House, Press Secretary Jay Carney said the president telephoned House Speaker John Boehner this afternoon and welcomed his constructive approach. But Carney said the time frame is a problem.

JAY CARNEY, White House Press Secretary: You know, a proposal that puts a debt ceiling increase at only six weeks tied to budget negotiations would put us right back where we are today in just six weeks, on the verge of Thanksgiving and the obviously important shopping season leading up to the holidays.

KWAME HOLMAN: As lawmakers weighed their options, there were more warnings about the consequences of a shutdown, which stretched into an 11th day. There also was growing evidence congressional Republicans were paying the heavier political price as the long stalemate drags on.

A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found 53 percent of Americans blame Republicans for the shutdown, while 31 percent fault the president. Other surveys had similar findings. Adding to the pressure to act, the head of the National Transportation Safety Board, Deborah Hersman, told a Senate hearing she’s had to halt safety investigations.

DEBORAH HERSMAN, National Transportation Safety Board: These delays slow our determination of probable cause and the issuance of safety recommendations, essentially delaying safety to the American public, resulting in lost lives and injuries.

KWAME HOLMAN: There also were smaller signs of the shutdown’s toll. A Senate landmark, the Ohio Clock, stopped ticking this week because the workers who wind it have been furloughed.