WASHINGTON (AP) — Leaders from both parties insist a sequel to the government shutdown must be avoided although a plan to dodge it is still elusive.
"This can never happen again," Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said.
Added Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell: "There'll not be another government shutdown, you can count on that."
The 16-day partial shutdown ended last week although a possible repeat may be on the horizon. Lawmakers approved a budget that keeps the lights on through Jan. 15 and lets Treasury continue to pay its bills through Feb. 7.
That's not to say there is a solution at hand, and no one is rushing forward with alternatives to a potential repeat of the gridlock that shuttered parts of the government and pushed the nation toward a default on its debt. The political price has been high ahead of 2014's midterm elections, especially for Republicans.
"I think there was some ground lost from the political point of view," said former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a potential 2016 presidential contender for the GOP.
Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi of California reiterated the public's reaction to the partisan gamesmanship that played out over more than two weeks: "I join the American people in their disgust at what happened in terms of the shutdown of government."
But there's no real way forward to dodge a repeat and its chief architect, Republican Sen. Ted of Cruz, is urging one. Hundreds of thousands of government workers were sent home amid the shutdown and national parks were barricaded while politicians negotiated. The whole situation could be repeated — combined with economic consequences — early next year, perhaps with more severe consequences.
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