NEW YORK -- NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market is closing sharply lower as budget gridlock in Washington brings the U.S. closer to a default on its debt.

The impasse over the government shutdown and raising the country's borrowing limit showed no signs of breaking Tuesday.

House Republicans have insisted that any temporary funding bill contain concessions on President Barack Obama's health care law.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index closed down 20 points, or 1.2 percent, to close at 1,655.45. It was the 11th loss in the last 14 days, and the index's biggest drop in six weeks.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 159 points, or 1.1 percent, to 14,776.53.

The Nasdaq composite fell 75 points, or 2 percent, to 3,694.83, also the largest drop in six weeks.

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  • Warren Buffett, Chairman And CEO Of Berkshire Hathaway

    "The debt ceiling makes no sense anyway. If you're going to spend more than you take in, you're always going to have to be raising it," <a href="" target="_blank">Warren Buffett told Fortune</a> in an interview in early October.

  • Tim Geithner, Former Treasury Secretary

    "It would have been time a long time ago to eliminate it," <a href="" target="_blank">Tim Geithner told Bloomberg</a> TV in November. "The sooner the better."

  • Ben Bernanke, Federal Reserve Chairman

    "I think it would be a good thing if we didn’t have [the debt ceiling],” <a href="" target="_blank">Ben Bernanke said</a> while speaking at the University of Michigan.

  • Larry Summers, Former Treasury Secretary

    "I think that given that Congress has to approve all spending and all tax changes, there is not much logic to the debt ceiling," <a href="" target="_blank">Larry Summers</a> told Slate in an email.

  • Bruce Bartlett, Former Senior Policy Analyst And Treasury Official

    "The debt limit must be abolished," Bruce Bartlett <a href="" target="_blank">wrote in the New York Times in 2011</a>. "While that is extremely unlikely at this time, it is nevertheless necessary. As the computer eventually learned in the movie 'War Games,' the only way to avoid disaster in this sort of game is not to play."

  • Ezra Klein, Washington Post's Wonkblog Editor, Bloomberg View Columnist And MSNBC Contributor

    "We shouldn't suspend the debt ceiling for three months. We should suspend it forever, completely eliminating the threat that this hard, unpleasant, confusing vote could go wrong and unleash economic havoc," <a href="" target="_blank">Klein wrote</a> in a January piece entitled, "Suspending the debt ceiling is a great idea. Let's do it forever!"

  • Alan Greenspan, Former Federal Reserve Chairman

    "I have a more <a href="" target="_blank">fundamental question</a>. Why do we have a debt limit in the first place," <a href="" target="_blank">Greenspan</a> asked during a roundtable talk on Meet The Press back in April, 2011.

  • Richard Thaler, Economist And University Of Chicago Booth School Of Business Professor

    "The debt ceiling is a dumb idea with no benefits and potentially catastrophic costs if ever used,” Richard Thaler <a href="" target="_blank">wrote</a> in response to a poll, according to the Los Angeles Times.

  • Anil Kashyap, Economist And University Of Chicago Booth School Of Business Professor

    “Deciding whether or not to pay the debts incurred to fund the previously approved tax and spending is nuts,” Anil Kashyap commented when asked by the <a href="" target="_blank">University of Chicago</a> about the necessity of a debt ceiling.

  • Robert Rubin, Former Treasury Secretary

    "It's an anachronism," Robert Rubin said in reference to the debt ceiling <a href="" target="_blank">during a 2011 interview with Ezra Klein</a>.

  • Paul O'Neill, Former Treasury Secretary

    "It is hard to make a rational argument for the debt ceiling as it is now structured," Paul O'Neill said, <a href="" target="_blank">according to Slate</a>.