« Debt Default 101: What Happens on Oct. 17? | Main | Senate Leaders 'Very Close' to Debt, Shutdown Deal »

Government Shutdown: Day 15 Recap

(WASHINGTON) -- As the partial government shutdown enters its 16th day, here are some of Tuesday’s highlights:

-- The Senate adjourned Tuesday night until Wednesday at noon after New York Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer said lawmakers were on "the right track" to get a deal done that would reopen the government and lift the nation's debt limit.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell were arranging technical legislative details that would fund the government through mid-January and extend borrowing power through mid-February.  One measure that will be added is giving the Treasury Department the authority to use extraordinary measures to avoid default if the next deadline is breached.  In order for a bill to be moved before the Oct. 17 deadline, the Senate would need unanimous consent, meaning no senator could object.

-- A vote initially scheduled to come Tuesday night on a House Republican plan that funds the government until Dec. 15 and increases the debt limit until Feb. 7 was called off after several conservative activists signaled they opposed the proposal.  It is unclear whether Republicans have enough votes within their own caucus to pass the measure, and Democrats have pledged not to provide any votes to help pass the latest Republican fiscal proposal.  The GOP plan -- the second they have floated in one day -- would end the partial government shutdown and raise the debt limit in exchange for eliminating the Treasury Department's ability to use "extraordinary measures" to temporarily extend the debt limit, and it would prevent congressional and administration staff from receiving government subsidies for health insurance premiums on the exchanges.

-- With debt limit talks in limbo, President Obama told WABC-TV’s Diana Williams that during the occasions when he and House Speaker John Boehner have agreed on an issue, Boehner goes back to Republicans "and it turns out that he can’t control his caucus."  Obama went on to say, “The one thing that I’ve shown is if I say I’m prepared to compromise on something, I can deliver votes and we can get it done.”  Meanwhile, the president was optimistic that a deal to avert default and reopen the government can be reached, and urged congressional leaders to “do what’s right” and “not do any posturing, let’s not try to save face, let’s not worry about politics.”

-- Thursday may come and go without a deal, and the U.S. won't technically default as long as the Treasury Department pays $6 billion in interest due at the end of the month.  But between now and Nov. 1, the government will owe Social Security recipients, retirees, members of the military and Medicare providers $70 billion.  But Uncle Sam's only got $30 billion in the bank and if he can't borrow more, the U.S. government will, for the first time, have to decide who won't get a check.

-- U.S. stocks ended Tuesday's session with steep declines as another day brought the government closer to default.  The deadline for a government default is Thursday.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average snapped a four-day winning streak and closed down 133 points at 15,168.01.  Investors were antsy about the prospects of no deal to end the shutdown in Washington.  The Dow plunged another 127 points in after-hours trading when Fitch Ratings placed the U.S. bond rating on a possible watch for default.  For now, it's leaving the credit rating at AAA.

-- A new Pew Research Center poll shows just over half of Americans -- 51 percent -- say it is essential to raise the debt ceiling by the Treasury Department’s Oct. 17 deadline to avoid an economic crisis.  That’s slightly more than the 47 percent of Americans who said the same thing last week.  Meanwhile, a majority of Republicans and many independents are just fine with the idea of not raising the debt limit.  The poll shows 52 percent of Republicans, 38 percent of independents and 36 percent of Americans overall say the country can go past that deadline without major economic problems.

-- One sector of the U.S. economy is thriving on the threat of a debt default apocalypse.  Survivalist industries -- from tactical training schools to doomsday bunker manufacturers -- are reporting an uptick in business over the past few days, as a first-ever U.S. default has inched closer to reality.  The trend is seen from Virginia to Florida, California to Indiana.  "We're not quite Greece, but there's a realization we're moving slowly toward it," said Robert Allen, owner of Sigma III Survival School in Huntington, Ark.  "Economic collapse is the most common cause of people wanting to start preparing."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio