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Politicians unsure when gov't shutdown will end

By Richard Piatt | Posted - Oct 11th, 2013 @ 9:29pm


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SALT LAKE CITY — Meetings at the White House have continued in an effort to resolve the government shutdown, but Utah Republicans aren't sure when the shutdown will end.

At a White House meeting with Senate Republicans Friday, Orrin Hatch reported that progress was being made because the parties are finally "talking."

"We had a constructive meeting," Hatch said. "And while we may disagree on many things, there is unanimous agreement that we need to reopen the federal government and prevent a default."

As the talks progress, the shutdown hinges less and less on the Affordable Care Act. Hatch said it's more about dealing with raising the debt ceiling and larger spending issues.

Former Utah Congresswoman, Enid Greene Mikelsen, said everyone on Capitol Hill is feeling the pressure of the government shutdown, and she predicts the prospect of defaulting on the nation's financial obligations is now a priority.

"This needed to be about spending from the beginning," Mikelsen said. "And the reason they're now starting to make progress is no one is talking about defunding Obamacare. That was a wild overreach from the beginning."

Hatch said the new health care law is not any more popular with Republicans, but that a shutdown isn't the way to resolve the issue.

"This fight cannot be won by taking our government hostage," he said.

That growing sentiment in Washington has put Utah's Senator Mike Lee in an uncomfortable spot.

"Those who have held that position, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and others, are finding their supporters dwindling in number," said Hinckley Institute of Politics representative, Tim Chambless. "They're losing the business communities."

President Obama also echoed Senator Hatch's sentiment that the White House talks were "constructive."

Calls to Sentor's Lees office on Friday about the topic were not immediately returned.

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Richard Piatt

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