(Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)
By Paul Singer, USA TODAY
It's Day 11 of the partial government shutdown and the White House and Congress appear to have taken their first real steps toward resolving it. Staff-level negotiations were going on late into the night Thursday; Friday dawns with great anticipation. Can they get a deal? Here are five things to know about the government shutdown Friday:
Top level talks continue
House Republican leaders went to the White House on Thursday with a proposal for a short-term extension of the debt ceiling, which the nation is expected to run up against Oct. 17. Obama said he was interested but also wanted a deal to resolve the government shutdown. Both sides agreed to negotiate further, the first substantive talks since the stare-down began several weeks ago. Republican senators will be visiting the White House on Friday for their turn to discuss the options.
Dow soars on signs of progress
With word that Republicans and Democrats may actually be making progress toward a budget deal, the stock market seemed to rejoice. The Dow jumped 323 points Thursday to 15,126 in the stock market's second best day of the year. Of course, should talks falter Friday, the market could just as easily slow down again.
States move to reopen national parks
States, losing millions of tourism dollars with national parks closed, have been asking the Interior Department to allow them to reopen the parks with state money. The department agreed Thursday, but with conditions: the states would have to bring back the federal employees and reopen the parks entirely, not partially. Some states are grumbling about these conditions, and are worrying whether they will be reimbursed once the government reopens.
Parole hearings on hold
The shutdown has delayed parole hearings across the country, including one for Augustin Alvarez, who shot and killed an agent of the bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives more than 30 years ago. A federal office building was named for the victim, Ariel Rios, but that building was renamed this year in honor of former president Bill Clinton. Alvarez's scheduled parole hearing had generated a wave of opposition from current and former ATF agents.
Would you like cream and politics with your coffee?
Coffee behemoth Starbucks is inviting its customers to register their rage over the government shutdown. The chain is starting a petition drive and printing ads in newspapers nationwide describing the campaign. The petitions demand that "leaders in Washington" reopen the government, avoid a default and agree to a long-term budget deal by the end of the year.