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Shutdown over, President Obama surveys damage and blames GOP

Government spending was still front and center. Inside the Capitol, lawmakers charged with forging a post-shutdown deficit-cutting agreement in the next 60 days met privately. "We believe there is common ground," said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., chair of the Senate Budget Committee.

Privately, however, officials in both parties said the prospects for a major breakthrough were dim, given differences over taxes and spending that have proven compromise-proof throughout the current three-year era of divided government.

A few hours after Obama placed his post-midnight signature on legislation ending the long political showdown, Vice President Joe Biden was at the Environmental Protection Agency to greet returning employees. "I hope this is the end of this," he said, but he acknowledged "There's no guarantees."

That was a reference to the last-minute legislation that will fund the government only until Jan 15 and give Treasury the ability to borrow above the $16.7 trillion limit until Feb. 7 or a few weeks longer.

At the White House, Obama blended sharp criticism of Republicans with a plea for their cooperation over the remainder of the year and a call for less shrillness on both sides.


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