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The Way Out

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With the clock ticking, Sen. Bernie Sanders said Tuesday that "the wild people" and "the extremists in the House of Representatives" were blocking every effort to restart the government and avoid default. There had been a sense of optimism Tuesday morning that Senate leaders were near agreement on a plan to reopen the federal government after a 15-day shutdown and extend the debt ceiling so the country could pay its bills. But by midday, the Senate negotiations were derailed. House Republicans had hatched a new budget that still faced opposition from the right-wing Tea Party fringe.

"It pains me very much, it really does," Sanders said on CNN. "This country has enormous problems. We have a disappearing middle class. Poverty is at an all-time high. The gap between the rich and everybody else is growing wider. But we can't begin to address those problems because we're waiting for the House to say it's okay to pay our bills or reopen the government."

Thursday is when the Treasury Department expects to run out of funds to pay bills. "I passionately hope and pray that does not happen," Sanders said. As the deadline nears, Sanders said, Speaker John Boehner may "realize the danger" and "look his right-wing extremists in the eye and say, "Look, guys, I've gone as far as I can with you. I cannot allow a default to take place. I cannot allow this entire world's economy to go into recession. We're going to work with the Democrats. We're going to pass what the Senate has brought us.'

"That's the way out," Sanders said.

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