Critical day for negotiations over shutdown, debt ceiling

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MPR News reports two truths about Minnesota’s five Democrats in the U.S. House: One, they’re spectators in a GOP-controlled chamber to the deal-making (and lack of deal-making) that continues over the partial government shutdown and a looming U.S. debt default.

And two, it seems increasingly likely that their votes could be among those vitally needed to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling.

In any event, it appears the real action in the Capitol has shifted to the Senate, where Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, have led closed-door negotiations over one compromise that would reopen government.

Klobuchar talked with CBS News about that, and about the role women have played in the negotiating, which was the subject of a New York Times story this week.

All eyes seemed to fall on the Senate as dawn broke Wednesday in Washington after House efforts to end the fiscal crises collapsed, the Washington Post reported.

The Senate Wednesday was preparing for a last-ditch effort to avoid a historic lapse in the government's borrowing authority, Reuters reported. The top Democrat and Republican in the chamber were said to be close to agreeing on a proposal to raise the debt limit – and reopen the partially shuttered government.

The effects of the 15-day shutdown have been felt far and wide. A few small examples:

– Minnesota officials had considered whether to pay to reopen national parks in the state that were closed by the shutdown, but state officials had to struggle just to figure out who in the federal government was available to answer basic budgetary questions first.

– Hundreds of Twin City middle school students will have drastically reworked itineraries for visits to Washington, D.C., this week because many of the capital's popular tourist sites are closed, the Star Tribune reports.

– Minnesotans who rely on federal help for home heating subsidies will get that help, despite the government shutdown, state officials said. Low-income homeowners had feared that the payments might be in jeopardy.

Veterans in Minnesota protested in St. Paul over the closure national war memorials and the suspension of death benefits to military families.

– Some public lands are closed to Minnesota hunters during the shutdown, but many are open, the Department of Natural Resources reported.

South Dakota farmers who lost cattle last week in a snowstorm have had a hard time getting emergency aid because the U.S. Department of Agriculture is mostly closed.

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