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Nation & World

Debt limit becoming U.S. crisis focus

In this Oct. 4 file photo, Marcelo del Canto (right), a budget analyst for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, participates in a federal union workers' demonstration against the shutdown in the U.S. Capitol in Washington.
In this Oct. 4 file photo, Marcelo del Canto (right), a budget analyst for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, participates in a federal union workers' demonstration against the shutdown in the U.S. Capitol in Washington.

WASHINGTON (AP) – A possible national default loomed closer on Monday as the partial government shutdown lingered, rattling markets in the U.S. and overseas. A gridlocked Congress betrayed little or no urgency toward resolving either of the threats.

Stocks got a case of the jitters on Wall Street, and halfway around the world China stressed the importance for the international economy of raising the U.S. debt limit.

“Safeguarding the debt is of vital importance to the economy of the U.S. and the world,” Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao said, according to the official Xinhua News Agency. China holds $1.277 trillion in U.S. Treasury bonds, second only to Japan.

At home, the political rhetoric was unchanged – and generally uncompromising – while a new poll suggested Republicans are paying a heavier price than Democrats for the deadlock.

President Barack Obama said the House should vote immediately on ending the partial closure of the federal establishment. He accused House Speaker John Boehner of refusing to permit the necessary legislation to come to the floor because he “doesn’t apparently want to see the ... shutdown end
at the moment, unless he’s able to extract
concessions that don’t have anything to do
with the budget.”

Boehner, in rebuttal, called on Obama to agree to negotiations on changes in the nation’s health care overhaul and steps to curb deficits, the principal GOP demands for ending the shutdown and eliminating the threat of default.

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