Republicans hang tough in standoff over U.S. gov’t shutdown

WASHINGTON,  (Reuters) – House Republi-cans held their ground yesterday in a standoff with President Barack Obama over the U.S. government shutdown, accusing him of intransigence and not caring about the impact on the American people as the crisis dragged into a fourth day.

As Republicans and Democrats remained deadlocked over the shutdown, which was triggered by a dispute over the president’s healthcare reforms, the two sides also dug in over a measure to raise the nation’s borrowing authority. It must be approved by Congress by October 17 to avoid a government default.

House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner tried to squelch reports that he would ease the way to a debt ceiling increase, stressing that Republicans would continue to insist on budget cuts as a condition of raising the borrowing authority.

“This isn’t some damn game,” said an exasperated Boehner, responding to a Wall Street Journal article that quoted an unnamed White House official saying Democrats were “winning” the shutdown battle.

Obama reiterated that he was willing to negotiate with Republicans, but said, “We can’t do it with a gun held to the head of the American people….”

“There’s no winning when families don’t have certainty over whether they’re going to get paid or not,” Obama told reporters when he paid a visit to a downtown Washington lunch spot that was offering a discount to furloughed workers.

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