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Government Shutdown Nears as Republicans Huddle on Course

September 30, 2013

The U.S. Congress headed into the final hours before the first partial government shutdown in 17 years with neither side budging or negotiating before a midnight deadline.

House Republicans, led by Speaker John Boehner, plan to meet during the early afternoon  in the Capitol basement to plot their next move. The House is urging the Senate to link a delay of the 2010 health law to a short-term extension of government funding. Senate Democrats planned to strip that language, leaving the House only a few hours to act.

President Barack Obama said he’s "not at all resigned" to a shutdown and he will speak with congressional leaders today.

Obama will meet with his cabinet today as agencies prepare for a shutdown and he plans to reiterate to reporters that he won’t give in to Republican demands over the health law, according to an administration official who asked for anonymity to discuss strategy. Hanging in the balance are 800,000 federal workers who would be sent home if Congress fails to pass a stopgap spending bill before funding expires tonight.

"I’m afraid, based on what Speaker Boehner has said so far, that we are going to look at a shutdown," Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, said today on Bloomberg Television.


Stocks Fall


Concern that a shutdown would stunt economic growth sent stocks lower today, trimming the biggest quarterly gain since the start of 2012, while Treasuries rallied and the Japanese yen strengthened before a potential shutdown.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 fell 0.5 percent to 1,683.74 at 1:14 p.m. in New York. All 10 main industries in the S&P 500 dropped, with financial, telephone and energy shares falling the most.

Crude oil traded near its lowest level in three months. West Texas Intermediate oil fell as much as 1.8 percent. Treasury 10-year note yields were little changed at 2.63 percent at 12:07 p.m. in New York, according to Bloomberg Bond Trader prices.

The fallout in U.S. government services would be far- reaching: national parks and Internal Revenue Service call centers probably would close. Those wanting to renew passports would have to wait and the backlog of veterans’ disability claims could increase.

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