The government shutdown is in its fourth day, but already lawmakers are shifting at least some of their attention to the debt limit, which will be reached Oct. 17.
House Speaker John A. Boehner has said he cannot get the votes necessary to raise the debt limit -- and avoid a U.S. default -- by the deadline without help from Democrats.
He indicated in a meeting with fellow Republicans on Thursday that conservative members of the party would be unlikely to support a shift from their current strategy of hammering away on Obamacare to trying to use the debt limit to cajole Democrats into budgetary concessions.
“The speaker’s trying to get a broad budget deal. Obamacare’s just part of it,” Rep. Charles Boustany Jr. (R-La.) told The Times. “We’re going to try to get what we can, but we understand that’s the president’s legacy.”
The debate over the shutdown was interrupted Thursday by a fatal car chase and shooting that put the Capitol on lockdown and sent lawmakers, congressional staff and tourists scrambling for safety.
Law enforcement officials later confirmed that the driver of the pursued car had been shot and killed outside the building. Soon after the lockdown ended, the legislators shifted their attention back to the shutdown stalemate.
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