US Secretary of State John Kerry has warned that a prolonged political crisis in Washington would weaken the country at a global level as a political stalemate in the US has forced the federal government shutdown to stretch into its fifth day.
“If it were prolonged, or repeated, people would begin to question the willingness of the United States to stay the course and its ability to,” Kerry told reporters at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) forum in Bali, Indonesia, on Saturday.
Kerry is heading the US delegation at the meeting as President Barack Obama had to cancel his trip to Asia and miss two summits including the Apec summit due to “difficulty in moving forward with foreign travel in the face of a shutdown.”
On October 1, large functions of the US government shut down as congressional Republicans and Democrats refused to agree on a temporary spending bill that would keep the government funded.
Five days into the shutdown, it seems that Congress is not able to resolve the impasse which has led to the closure of large swathes of government offices and forced hundreds of thousands of federal workers to leave their work.
During a speech on Thursday, Obama blamed congressional Republicans for the government shutdown and urged Congress to “pass a budget that funds our government with no partisan strings attached.”
US lawmakers also face a mid-October deadline for increasing the federal government’s ability to borrow more money. According to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, the nation’s current debt ceiling of $16.7 trillion will be reached by October 17.
However, republicans are demanding the defunding or delaying of Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, in return for increasing the federal government’s debt limit.
The US Treasury has warned of catastrophic effects if the political stalemate over raising the government’s debt limit forces a US default on its obligations.
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