Oct. 14 - As U.S. lawmakers try to forge agreement to avoid default, one tourist in D.C. is asking:'' Why can't they come to an agreement?'' Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: U.S. senators said they were closing in on a deal Monday (October 14) that would reopen the government and push back a possible default for several months, though many hurdles remained as a Thursday deadline drew near. Now some visitors to the Washington, D.C., are sounding off. A Washington Post/ABC News poll released on Monday found that 74 percent of Americans disapprove of the way congressional Republicans have handled the standoff, compared with a 53 percent disapproval rating for Obama. Boone Porter, A New Hampshire resident visiting Washington D.C. told Reuters on Monday that he holds "all Republicans" responsible for the political stalemate. "Well, the right wing GOP members in the House of Representatives are primarily responsible, but I hold all Republicans responsible," said Porter. Maria Kirchner, who lives in Ohio, also said she blamed Republicans for "holding out." "Oh, I blame the Republicans, I do, I think that they're the problem," said Kirchner. "I have no idea, I'm not that big into the politics, but everything I'm seeing is, why are they doing this? Why are the holding out? Why can't they come to an agreement?" But James Armstrong, a Florida native, said he blamed Obama for his "lack of leadership." "I would have to say honestly I blame the president," said Armstrong. "I think there's been a general lack of leadership and a willingness to really sit down and negotiate." The White House postponed a planned 3 p.m. (1900 GMT) meeting with congressional leaders in order to give negotiators more time to work out a deal. The Treasury Department says it cannot guarantee that the U.S. government will be able to pay its bills past October 17 if Congress does not raise the debt ceiling by then. A default would likely come by November 1 as Treasury would not have enough tax revenue coming in to cover interest payments, retirement benefits and other obligations.