The way out of the political morass in Congress remains elusive as the US government enters the second week of a partial government shutdown, with a potential debt default just 10 days away.
Three possible routes out of the deadlock present themselves: the Senate jam, in which that chamber forces the House of Representatives to accept a bipartisan compromise, the complete cave, where one party buckles under public pressure, and the fig leaf, where one side accepts a partial defeat while claiming a symbolic victory.
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In the second week of the partial US government shutdown, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid renews calls for House Republicans to pass clean budget resolution.
''There is a path out of everything,'' said Georgia Republican congressman Lynn Westmoreland. ''You just got to find it.''
The Senate jam was played out at the last fiscal deadline, which was the combination of expiring tax cuts and scheduled spending reductions at the end of last year.
Then, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Vice-President Joe Biden decided what taxpayers would have higher burdens and the Republican-controlled House accepted, with only a minority of Republicans voting ''yes''.
Repeat that bipartisan approach on the debt ceiling, and House Speaker John Boehner may be left with a debt-limit increase, none of the policy conditions he wants and the clock ticking towards a default he's already said he will not allow.
The Speaker's big decision, as the person who controls the House floor, is whether to allow a vote.
''When you get close to that deadline, you're really playing with fire,'' Democratic senator Charles Schumer said. ''It's not like the government shutdown.''
The second potential path is the complete cave.
Republicans say they think they can move US President Barack Obama off his no-negotiations stance in two ways.
First, they're passing separate bills to fund parts of the government, trying to force Democrats to choose between the programs they champion, such as national parks and infant nutrition, and Mr Obama's insistence that the entire government be reopened.
Second, Republicans are pointing out flaws in the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. They've been bolstered by the computer problems that hampered the implementation last week.
For Mr Obama, caving in means engaging in the kinds of negotiations on entitlement programs he entered into with Mr Boehner in 2011 during the previous debt-ceiling fight.
So far he hasn't budged, insisting that avoiding default and reopening the government are not concessions to him because everyone wants them.
US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, who appeared on talk shows on Sunday, said the administration would negotiate only after the partial shutdown ended and the debt ceiling was increased.
''I've talked with John Boehner; I know he doesn't want to default,'' Mr Lew said on Fox News Sunday.
''He also didn't want to shut the government down. And here we are with a government shutdown.''
Democrats also point to at least 20 Republicans who have said they will vote for a bill to open the government without policy conditions related to the health law.
That, Mr Obama has said, is the ''only way out''.
One other possibility is the fig leaf. Martin Frost, a former Democratic congressman and veteran of the last shutdown in 1996, says he sees room for agreements such as a timeline for tax code changes, as long as they aren't negotiated against the risk of default.
Mr Boehner has been trying to package the debt limit with as many party priorities as possible, including TransCanada Corp's Keystone XL pipeline, limits on environmental regulations and cuts to entitlement programs.
Achieving any of those would mark a victory because Mr Obama and Senate Democrats have blocked them for years.
But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said last week he did not want to give Mr Boehner a face-saving way out.
''This isn't a date to the prom,'' he said. ''This is our country.''