It has been nearly a week since the government shutdown began and there are no visible signs of a breakthrough.
On top of the budget arguments, there’s another major issue coming before Congress. There are just 11 days left to raise the nation’s borrowing limit or face the possibility that the United States could default on its debt obligations.
Some Republicans want to defund or delay Obamacare as a part of the negotiations to raise the debt ceiling and re-open the rest of the federal government.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said President Obama will reach for middle ground but that negotiations must take place after the government shutdown ends and the borrowing limit has been raised.
“The shutdown is harming people every day. I think we’re seeing that in the kind of ironic actions of those who chose to shut the government down item by item and then trying to re-open the government for things as they discover that there’s a real pain out there,” Lew said.
“If the shutdown ends quickly, we’ll recover from the damage. If it goes on for a longer period of time, it will do more harm,” Lew said.
Raising the debt ceiling does not allow the government to spend more, but merely allows the country to pay the bills it already owes, Lew noted last week in an op-ed article in USA Today.
An extended shutdown and looming debt ceiling issue could impact jobs and consumer spending. Congressman Loebsack came back to eastern Iowa for the weekend to talk with a business about the situation.
The owners of Reid’s Coffee Shop in West Branch met with the Congressman Sunday afternoon.
They said they have seen more than a 50 percent decrease in business since the shutdown.
The shop said it gets most of their business from tourists who come to visit the Herbert Hoover Library and Museum. With the library and museum closed from the shutdown, the coffee shop is seeing the effects.
“We work for ourselves, but now we’re going to have to spend our savings,” said shop owner Laura Rierson.
“This is unacceptable. It’s a manufactured crisis,” said Congressman Loebsack.
“If I were not in Congress I would be and I am extremely impatient. I would be doing exactly what people are doing and calling my office to tell me that this is unacceptable,” Loebsack said.
The House is on recess until Monday.