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Shutdown Impacts Consumers' Spending, Says Sales Report

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WASHINGTON (10/16/13)--Consumers are cutting back on expenditures due to the government shutdown and lower income Americans are more likely to be exercising caution, according to a study by the International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs.

Two out of five consumers reported that they scaled back spending as a result of the dysfunction in Washington. But while only 32% of those making $100,000 or more said they've been budgeting for the shutdown, 47% of consumers who make $35,000 or less reported a reduction in spending (Rapaport Oct 15).

Of respondents who reported a reduction in spending, 70% said that they've only decreased outlays by "a little"--the rest said the reduction was "considerable."

The poll was conducted between Thursday and Sunday.

Another survey conducted by the ICSC and Goldman showed that their Retail Chain Store Sales Index--a measure of seasonally adjusted comparable-store sales from the previous year--fell by 0.7% in the week ending Oct. 12, despite largely favorable weather and stable gas prices throughout the country last week.

The index's year-to-year growth dropped to 1%, down from 2.3% on year-to-date growth (Moody's Economy.com Oct. 15). However, ICSC research predicts that comparable-store sales will increase between 3% and 4% in October.

House Fails To Vote On GOP Debt Limit Proposal

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WASHINGTON (10/16/13)--House Republicans Tuesday canceled a planned Tuesday night vote on their revised budget proposal to reopen the government and temporarily raise the debt ceiling.

Postponing the vote on the plan, which had been unveiled earlier in the day, is an indication that Republicans do not have enough votes to pass the proposal, said MarketWatch and FoxNews.com (Oct. 15).

The canceled vote in the House brought the focus back to the Senate, whose leaders are negotiating a bipartisan plan. Tuesday night spokesmen for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said their talks had resumed and they were optimistic that an agreement was within reach.

The Senate adjourned at 10:08 p.m. ET, with Reid and McConnell close to a deal on a Senate bill that, if passed, would then go to the Republican-led House of Representatives. The Senate was slated to reconvene at noon today.

The House Republicans' plan would have opened the government through Dec. 15 and extended the debt limit to Feb. 7. Reid and McConnell had discussed extending the debt limit for the same amount time, but would keep the government open until Jan. 15.

Meanwhile, Fitch Ratings Service put the U.S. credit rating on a negative watch. Treasury's deadline for raising the borrowing limit is Thursday.