Bloomberg by the Numbers: -32

Photograph by Jewel Samad/AFP via Getty Images

Protesters demonstrate in front of the Capitol in Washington, DC, on October 3, 2013, urging congress to end the federal government shutdown.

That’s Gallup’s U.S. Economic Confidence Index for Sept. 30-Oct. 2.

Gallup’s index, which is based on Americans’ assessments of current economic conditions and perceptions of whether the economy is getting better or worse, fell 13 points from minus 19 on Sept. 20-22.

Americans are less sanguine about the economy as lawmakers clash over how to reopen the federal government and raise the $16.7 trillion federal borrowing limit.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell to minus 29.4 from minus 28.1 in the week ended Sept. 29, as the government was about to begin its first partial shutdown since 1996.

“The first partial closure of the government in 17 years risks further rattling consumers’ moods at the same time the U.S. nears a deadline to raise the debt limit and avoid default,” Bloomberg’s Ben Schenkel reported yesterday.

President Barack Obama yesterday said that the “one way out” of a partial government shutdown is for Republican House Speaker John Boehner to allow a vote on a stopgap spending bill without restrictions, Bloomberg’s Roxana Tiron, Lisa Lerer and Heidi Przybyla reported.

Boehner and most House Republicans have resisted scheduling a vote on a so-called “clean” continuing resolution, even as more than 20 House Republicans now say they would vote for it if such a measure reached the floor. Efforts by House Democrats to force a vote on a clean stopgap spending bill have been unsuccessful.

The House this week has passed a series of piecemeal stopgap spending bills, including one yesterday that would fund the Veterans Affairs Department through Dec. 15, according to a BGOV Bill Summary by Timothy R. Homan. Thirty-five Democrats joined all Republicans in voting for that bill. The Republican strategy is designed to pick off a few dozen Democrats and put pressure on Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat.

Lawmakers must raise the debt ceiling by Oct. 17, according to the Treasury Department. If Congress doesn’t raise the limit, the Treasury would have to either “prioritize payments on government debt and other obligations” or “delay payments,” according to a BGOV Insight by Bloomberg Government’s Nela Richardson.

“The debt ceiling impasse would lead to a fork in the road for the U.S. Treasury’s debt payment policy,” Richardson wrote. “Either path is bad.”

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