Americans' Patience Wears Thin as US Nears Default

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President Barack Obama is meeting with congressional leaders Monday as a deeply divided capital looks for a way to end the partial federal government shutdown.

The shutdown is now in its third week. Just three days away from a possible default on U.S. debt, the stakes are getting higher.

Democrats added a new wrinkle over the weekend by trying to roll back the sequester spending cuts brokered months ago by the White House and Congress.

How is the crisis in Washington impacting the rest of the world? Loren Adler, with the Committee for a Responsible Government, explains more on CBN Newswatch, Oct. 14.

Republicans are no longer pushing to defund or change Obamacare, but the new Democratic proposal generated even more controversy over a budget deal.

"The plan would be to open up the government immediately for a period of time before the sequester hits and then have serious discussions where we might be able to undo the sequester," explained Senate Majority Whip Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

But Republicans say undoing the sequester would increase spending, which they consider to be a major step in the wrong direction.

"If you break the spending caps, you're not going to get any Republicans in the Senate," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., cautioned.

Meanwhile, the American people's patience is wearing thin over the politics of the shutdown. Hundreds of protesters calling themselves the Million Vet March removed barricades at several Washington memorials Sunday and then hoisted them over to the gates of the White House.

Chanting, "You work for us, you work for us," the veterans and their supporters vented their anger at the closure of the memorials by the Park Police.

"There's no middle ground, it seems like, that's the trouble. The left hand doesn't want to talk to the right hand," one veteran said.

Another exclaimed, "Fire 'em all!"

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz joined the crowd. He asked why the government was spending money during the shutdown to erect barricades to keep veterans out of memorials.

"Our veterans should be above politics, enough games!" Cruz said.

Several protestors carried signs reading, "Impeach Obama." Police got involved, pushing the crowds back, away from the White House gate.

Also on the weekend, a group of truckers slowed down traffic around the Washingon, D.C., beltway to protest against the capital's heavy hand.

"I can't afford this, but I've got to do it. I've got to do it for me, my family and the country," one trucker explained.

Another driver lamented the federal intrusion.

"We don't need the Feds running every little burg between here and California. They can run their own lives," the driver said.

Some state governors are reopening several national parks and monuments with state money. Among them: the Grand Canyon and the Statue of Liberty.

"We are committed, but we wish that the Feds would move along and do their job," Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who is keeping the Grand Canyon running, said.

Polls show that voters are angry at both parties for the protracted shutdown, and that means an agreement may come soon.

But neither the White House, nor their Republican opponents can predict what kind of fallout they'll see in election year 2014.

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John Waage

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John Waage has covered politics and analyzed elections for CBN News since 1980, including primaries, conventions, and general elections. 

He also analyzes the convulsive politics of the Middle East.