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White House: No decision on budget, debt limit

WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House says President Barack Obama and Republican leaders reached no specific determination on how to end the partial government shutdown or raise the nation's debt ceiling. 

White House condemns Libyan official's abduction

WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House says it's pleased that Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zidan is again a free man after his abduction at gunpoint earlier Thursday.

Obama spokesman Jay Carney said the U.S. condemns the kidnapping, which was carried out at dawn from the hotel where Zidan lives in the Libyan capital of Tripoli. The abduction appeared to be retaliation for a weekend raid by U.S. special forces that seized a Libyan al-Qaida suspect in Tripoli.

Carney said the U.S. supports Libya's efforts to fulfill the aspirations of the 2011 revolution that toppled longtime authoritarian leader Moammar Gadhafi.

Carney adds Libyans deserve a democracy based on the rule of law and respect for human rights. He says the U.S. will work closely with the Libyan government as it continues down that path.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Senate OKs bill to pay military death benefits

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate has approved legislation to provide benefits to the families of fallen troops.

The Senate backed the measure Thursday, after the House approved it unanimously a day earlier.

The Pentagon typically pays out $100,000 within three days of a soldier's death. But officials say the shutdown means there's no authority now to pay the money.

That's a point of dispute with members of Congress who argue that the benefits should not be affected.

Facing controversy, the Obama administration announced Wednesday that a charity called the Fischer House Foundation would pick up the costs of the payments during the government shutdown.

Boehner presses for short-term debt increase

WASHINGTON (AP) - House Speaker John Boehner says Republicans will advance legislation to temporarily extend the government's ability to borrow to meet its obligations.

Boehner said the measure would advance if President Barack Obama agrees to negotiate over reopening the government and to "start to deal with America's pressing problems."

Obama has said consistently that Republicans must reopen the government and prevent the threat of a first-ever government default before he'll negotiate over the budget and other conditions Republicans have sought.

Boehner also said he would appoint House negotiators to try to sort out differences between vastly different House- and Senate-passed budget blueprints.

Boehner said: "It's time for leadership. It's time for these negotiations and this conversation to begin."

 

President Obama, lawmakers talk shutdown, debt limit

 

WASHINGTON - President Obama is stepping up his personal engagement with lawmakers over the government shutdown, setting up private meetings at the White House in an effort to make progress in deadlocked budget negotiations.

The president "believes Congress will do the right thing" and vote to end the partial government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling by the Oct. 17 deadline, White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

Obama met with House Democrats on Wednesday and is scheduled to meet separately with House Republicans and Senate Democrats on Thursday.

DC mayor confronts Senate majority leader at Capitol

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- "We're on your side don't screw this up." That's what Senate Majority Harry Reid told DC Democratic Mayor Vincent Gray today as the capitol city's Mayor pressed him on the steps of the US Capitol to free up DC tax dollars from a federal appropriations bill at the center of the federal government shutdown.

Gray says there are about six billion local tax dollars in the federal appropriation that he needs to keep some 32,000 city workers on the job after a contingency fund runs out early next week.

Gray has been outspoken about the need for budget autonomy in D.C. On Tuesday afternoon, Gray sent out a series of tweets lashing out about the federal government shutdown before releasing a letter to President Obama, House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. 

READ THE LETTERhttp://1.usa.gov/16PPDpq

Police arrest 8 House members at DC immigration rally

WASHINGTON (AP) - At least eight Democratic members of the House are among about 200 people arrested after blocking a main street near the Capitol during a massive rally seeking to push Republicans to hold a vote on a stalled immigration reform bill.

Representatives of other groups whose members attended the Tuesday rally, such as United Farm Workers and Farmworker Justice, confirm that several of their members have been arrested.

Capitol Police estimate that 200 have been taken into custody.

Representatives of the social policy organization Center for Community Change and The Associated Press witnessed the arrests of House members John Lewis of Georgia; Luis Gutiérrez and Jan Schakowsky of Illinois; Raúl Grijalva of Arizona; Keith Ellison of Minnesota; John Crowley and Charles Rangel of New York; and Al Green of Texas.