Shutdown enters Day 4 with no end in sight

The good news is President Barack Obama and Republican leaders had their first meeting since the budget impasse that shut down federal operations. The bad news is no progress has been made.

President Obama told the GOP during a one-hour meeting on Wednesday he will negotiate a budget only after government offices reopen without changes to healthcare reform and they agree to an increase in the nation's debt limit, according to the New York Times.

The meeting marks the first time the president linked healthcare reform and the debt ceiling limit, two issues that have divided Congress. Lawmakers have until Oct. 17 to raise the nation's debt limit. He said once Republicans agree to those terms, he will be willing to negotiate a long-term budget deal that addresses Medicare and Medicaid costs and the inadequacy of federal tax returns, the NYT reports.

"If we get in the habit where a few folks, an extremist wing of one party--whether it's Democrat or Republican--are allowed to extort concessions based on a threat of undermining the full faith and credit of the United States, then any president who comes after me--not just me--will find themselves unable to govern effectively," the president said on CNBC, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, the WSJ reports the House approved measures to extend funding for national parks and the National Institutes of Health, a strategy by GOP leaders to soften the effect of the shutdown on popular parts of the government. But Democrats claim the bills are distractions from reopening the entire government. They urged Republicans to bring forth a bill that extends government funding without scaling back the healthcare reform law.

In other government shutdown-related news:

  • The NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md., won't admit new patients into clinical trials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will no longer track seasonal flu and stopped lab work essential to detecting future updates, CMAJ reports.
  • On Thursday, the third day of the shutdown, the Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 180 points before finishing down 137 points and below 15,000, according to the Detroit Free Press.
  • Nearly three dozen small business owners may have to close up shop due to the closure of Yosemite National Park, NBC Bay Area reports.
  • The monthly job report will not be released today due to the government shutdown, USA Today reports.
  • President Obama cancelled plans to attend two economic summits in Asia next week due to the budget crisis, according to Bloomberg.
  • Advocates are beginning to worry they won't have enough funds to supply the Women, Infants and Children program to pay for infant formula, according to The Mercury-Nation World.

For more:
- here's the NYT article
- read the WSJ article
- here's the CMAJ article
- check out the Detroit Free Press report
- read the USA Today article
- here's the Bloomberg piece
- read the Mercury-Nation World article

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