Little appetite for another shutdown, but alternative elusive

WASHINGTON (AP) - Key figures in both parties are insisting that a sequel to the government shutdown must be avoided.

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew says the impasse pushed the nation to the brink of default and tells NBC, "This can never happen again." On CBS, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said: "There'll not be another government shutdown, you can count on that."

Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain told CNN that he's "very confident the American people will not stand for another repetition of this disaster."

But so far, there's no plan for avoiding a repeat.

The clock is running for a bipartisan group of House and Senate negotiators tasked with finding common ground on divisive issues such as spending levels, deficit reduction and entitlement reforms. The deal that ended this month's standoff gives them until Dec. 13 to produce a report.

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