President Obama spoke in a news conference from the White House today and urged the Republicans to end the threats and “get down to work”.
While House Speaker John Boehner has urged Obama to negotiate on a spending plan, the president is trying to get a House vote on a budget that has no conditions. Republicans, however, are standing firm and say they won’t make the first move. Meanwhile, the federal government will come to its borrowing limit next week.
“I am happy to talk with him and other Republicans about anything,” Obama said of Boehner, “not just issues I think are important but also issues that they think are important. But I also told him that having such a conversation, talks, negotiations shouldn’t require hanging the threats of a government shutdown or economic chaos over the heads of the American people. Think about it this way. The American people do not get to demand a ransom for doing their jobs.”
There is talk that the Republicans are considering drafting two bills: one to ensure that all essential government employees get paid on time, and one to put together a negotiating team to raise the debt ceiling. President Obama reiterated that he would be open to talking about a plan, but only if the shutdown is lifted.
“If they want to do that, reopen the government, extend the debt ceiling,” Obama said. “If they can’t do it for a long time, do it for the period of time in which these negotiations are taking place. Why is it that we’ve got hundreds and thousands of people who aren’t working right now in order for what you just described to occur? It doesn’t make any sense.”