NEW YORK - Is Washington the Grinch who stole Christmas?
After bickering between Congress and the White House, President Barack Obama on Wednesday signed into law a plan that ended a partial 16-day government shutdown and raised the nation's debt limit until early next year.
But the measure, which comes a couple weeks ahead of the holiday shopping season, only temporarily averts a potential default on U.S. debt that could send the nation into a recession.
Retailers hope that short-term uncertainty won't stop Americans from spending during the year's busiest shopping period, but they're fearful it will.
They say Washington gridlock already has caused shoppers to spend less. Men's clothier Jos. A. Bank Clothiers and furniture chain Ethan Allen said customers cut back in recent weeks, while auto sales trailed off last week.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)