Government shutdown: Talks continue between Obama, GOP

Photo: Phil Roeder via Flickr

WASHINGTON (WJLA) - Beneath the gloomy skies above the Capitol, there may be rays of hope for the hundreds of thousands of area residents impacted by the government shutdown. For the second day in a row, there are talks underway between Republican leaders and the White House.

The world is watching for any sign of progress in Washington. On Friday, finance ministers from the 20 largest economies said they are worried that the stalemate will hurt the world economy, but both Democrats and Republicans promise they are making progress. Still, there is no actual deal on paper.

Once again, the stock market closed up on the hope that Washington will reach some kind of agreement.

It was probably not a coincidence that the White House waited until the market closed to say anything, postponing the daily briefing by two hours.

“It’s obviously been a long afternoon,” White House Spokesman Jay Carney said Friday.

Carney only had this as his positive spin on a phone call this afternoon between President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner.

“The two of them agreed that all sides need to keep talking.”

Senate Republicans took a soaking as they left, but said they were encouraged by meeting with the president. The two sides met for nearly two hours, but still failed to reach any actual framework for agreement.

“It was a good exchange, but it was an inconclusive exchange," said Maine Republican Susan Collins.

Collins is pitching a proposal to reopen the government for six months or one year and raise the debt ceiling, plus repeal a medical device tax included in the Affordable Care Act.

But some conservatives still want to defund Obamacare entirely.

“Obamacare is really, I think, the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery,” said Dr. Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins.

Carson drew applause and whistles at Friday’s gathering of conservatives at the Values Voter Summit in Washington. Another speaker who was a big hit was Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, who continued to push to defund Obamacare.