Furloughs called off: Speaking on television on Sunday, Secretary of the Treasury, Jacob Lew, and the leader of the Republicans in the House of Representatives, John Boehner, remained in their positions on the sixth day of the government shutdown in Washington. As NJ.com noted on Oct. 6, "as the shutdown enters its sixth day today, tensions in the nation’s capital and New Jersey alike are fraying."
The Democratic administration renewed its call for Republicans in Congress to unconditionally lift the public debt limit before the Oct. 17 budget vote.
“Congress is playing with fire if they don't extend the debt limit,” Lew said on CNN . “We've never gotten to the point where the United States government has operated without the ability to borrow. It's very dangerous. It's reckless, because the reality is, there are no good choices if we run out of borrowing capacity and we run out of cash.”
Without an agreement, the U.S. could go into default for the first time in its history. The debt ceiling, which was reached in May, is 16.7 trillion.
Asked about the possibility of a unilateral decision by President Barack Obama to prevent the cessation of payments, Lew responded that "The president does not have the authority to take action in that kind of a way. The president consulted with his lawyers, and that's the conclusion that he's reached."
The president's message is clear: Congress needs to do its job. They need to open the government, they need to make it so we can pay our bills, and then we need to negotiate, " he added.
For its part, the Republican chairman of the House told ABC that the underlying problems must be addressed before increasing the debt limit.
He noted that during the presidency of George HW Bush and Bill Clinton budgetary commitments in exchange for increasing the legal debt ceiling were achieved.
The U.S. federal government has been partially closed since Tuesday because of this political wrangling, which has not allowed the approval of the 2014 budget.
Republicans demand budget cuts affecting the health reform passed in 2010 by President Obama, who refuses to "pay ransom" in exchange for increasing the debt legal limit.
On Saturday, lawmakers reached an agreement to limit the effects of the blockade and that 900,000 federal employees required to take forced leave without pay get paid retroactively.
Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, announced that the UTC furloughs were called off and the return of the majority of the 400,000 civilian Pentagon employees forced to take unpaid leave.
Hagel said in a written statement that the Pentagon and Justice Department lawyers concluded the law permits the return of workers "whose responsibilities contribute to the morale, well-being, capabilities and readiness of service members."
Thanks to this, Sikorsky, maker of Black Hawk helicopters UH-60, has scrapped plans to give unpaid leave to several thousand employees, said a spokesman for the company Sunday.
Following the announcement that the furloughs were called off, President Barack Obama decided not to attend the summit of the Asia Pacific Forum Countries which begins Monday on the Indonesian island of Bali to discuss growth and trade. He has also canceled a tour of the region.
"The absence of Obama is a big disappointment for us," acknowledged the Singapore Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loo.