GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN: When Is It Going To Be Over? - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN: When Is It Going To Be Over?

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WASHINGTON (AP) - House Speaker John Boehner's office says the Ohio Republican spoke by phone with President Barack Obama Friday afternoon.
    
Spokesman Michael Steel said Obama and Boehner agreed "that we should all keep talking." But he said no additional details of their call would be released.
    
Obama met with Boehner and other GOP leaders at the White House on Thursday. Their staffs continued to talk into the night after the meeting on a possible deal to break their stalemate.
    
House Republicans are offering to pass legislation to avert a default and end the 11-day partial government shutdown as part of a framework that would include cuts in benefit programs.
    
Republicans also seek changes in Obama's health care law.

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NBCNEWS.COM - The government shutdown isn't over, but an end to the stubborn fiscal impasse could finally be in sight.

House GOP and White House negotiators worked behind closed doors late Thursday to try to hammer out a deal that could potentially reopen the government in the coming days and delay an Oct. 17 deadline to raise the nation's debt limit. The midnight-oil talks – held primarily at the staff level – were the most serious negotiations since government funding ran out on Oct. 1, leaving hundreds of thousands of federal workers furloughed and many more facing the possibility of delayed paychecks.

The outlines of a deal that could end the shutdown and raise the nation's debt ceiling before the Oct. 17 deadline are still murky, and it's not clear that House Speaker John Boehner would have the support of his divided Republican caucus to support any compromise legislation.

After conservatives in his party shot down previous compromise plans as too lenient regarding the president's health-care law, lawmakers on Boehner's right flank are almost sure to demand concessions from Obama to delay or scale back his 2009 health-care plan.

But compromise-oriented Republicans also have some new ammunition for arguing against hard-liners: polling data that shows the standoff has badly damaged their party. A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll out Thursday found that just over half of Americans blame Republicans for the shutdown, compared to just 31 percent who say Obama is at fault.

Even more striking is the GOP's approval rating. Just 24 percent of respondents had a favorable opinion of the Republican Party, and just 21 percent gave a thumbs up for the Tea Party.

Those figures represent all-time lows for the both groups in the history of the NBC/WSJ poll.There's also worry that a proposed six-week increase in the debt limit – teeing up another showdown right before the holiday season -- could shake the nation's economy even if default is avoided, especially if the government shutdown has dragged on.

Republican leaders appeared cautiously optimistic late Thursday, saying that a 90 minute meeting with the president was fruitful, even though both sides did not come to an agreement about a temporary hike in the debt ceiling.

"I left thinking I believe it is possible for us to get it all done," House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Texas, said, adding that the overnight negotiations would be "critical to the success" of a deal. 

"The president didn't say yes, he didn't say no," House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan told NBC News of the House proposal to raise the debt ceiling for six weeks. "It was a useful conversations. We're now going to negotiate." Rep. Lynn Jenkins of Kansas, the vice chairman of the House GOP Conference, told CNBC that House leaders hope to have the government reopened by Monday.

If negotiators from the White House and the House Republican leadership team reach an agreement, Boehner may need Democratic votes to pass it and send it on to the Senate. On Thursday, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said that she was reluctant to accept the six-week raise in the debt ceiling, arguing that markets may be spooked by the brief timeline for further negotiations.

"I think a six-week lifting of the debt ceiling is not the right way to go," Pelosi said after House Democrats met with President Barack Obama. "I think we should go at least one year so that there's some certainty in the markets and that every six weeks people don't have to wonder if the United States of America is going to stand by its full faith and credit."

But, she added, Democrats would wait to see a full package of ideas from House Republicans on how to address the ongoing fiscal fight. "Let's see what it is," she said of a GOP proposal. "Give it a chance if it has any value."

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