White House press secretary Jay Carney on Monday said it was “up to the House” to avoid a looming government shutdown, calling on Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to pass a clean spending bill.
“We are at a moment where the House of Representatives have to decide,” Carney told reporters. He said the speaker needed to address “whether roughly 60 members of his caucus, the Tea Party faction, will dictate to the American people whether the government shuts down.”
Time though is short for lawmakers to pass a spending bill before their midnight deadline, with the GOP-controlled House and Democratic Senate deadlocked. The Senate is expected to reject the latest House continuing resolution which extends funding until Dec. 15, while delaying Obamacare for a year.
The White House and Senate Democrats have said they will reject any spending bill that defunds or delays the president’s signature healthcare reform law.
"None of this is acceptable," Carney said of tying government funding to any portion of Obamacare. "This is just blatant extortion."
Carney, though, added that President Obama “is not resigned to a shutdown” and would speak with congressional leaders.
Carney said that a shutdown would leave the White House functioning with a "skeletal staff."
"It will be an extremely lean operation," he added.
Carney also said that as of now the president's trip to Asia was still on the schedule.
"We have this trip scheduled and we intend to take it," he said.