President Obama expressed optimism that Congress would pass a bill to reopen the federal government and raise the nation's debt limit two days before the Treasury Department is slated to hit its borrowing limit.
“My expectation is it does get solved, but we don't have a lot of time,” said Obama in an interview with New York City's WABC-TV, one of three local television interviews he conducted on Tuesday.
Senators this weekend were close to a bipartisan agreement to end the three week fiscal fight which shut down the federal government and has brought the U.S. to the brink of a default.
But those talks appear to have slowed after the House GOP on Tuesday said they would pass their own bill to end the shutdown and raise the debt limit.
The floated Senate proposal would fund the government until Jan. 15 and raise the debt ceiling to Feb. 7. The current House plan would fund government until Dec. 15th and hike the debt limit to Feb. 7.
The Senate proposal would also provide an exemption for union members buying insurance on the Obamacare exchanges and also implement an income test for some health care law benefits.
House Republicans will also have provisions addressing Obamacare in their bill.
Obama praised the Senate effort to broker a compromise.
“The real good news is Democrats and Republicans were really close to agreement in the Senate and what we've seen is a recognition from a number of Senate Republicans that this whole strategy that they pursued of trying to extract ransom for keeping the government open or making sure America pays its bills is bad strategy,” said Obama.
But the president criticized House Republicans.
“The problem in the House right now is that House Republicans still believe that they can get concessions for doing their job and making sure the American people aren't hurt,” Obama said.
“We’ll see how that plays itself out.”
The House is expected to vote on their bill tonight.
Obama said he had warned congressional leaders that they were running short of time to end the fiscal crisis.
He said he told them “Let’s not do any posturing, let’s not try to save face, let’s not worry about politics. Do what’s right, open the government and make sure we are still paying our bills.”
Obama added that he was not worried about repeating this crisis when the nation nears the debt limit again in February.
Obama said Republicans had seen that their plan to force concessions from him “is not a good strategy and [they] see the horrible reaction from the American people.”
“They are not going to run this play again,” predicted the president.
Brian Hughes contributed to this report.