Topics: Obamacare

Obama challenges GOP over shutdown: 'Stop the excuses'

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Politics,White House,Brian Hughes,Barack Obama,Obamacare,Republican Party,Democratic Party,Harry Reid,John Boehner,Debt Ceiling,PennAve,Susan Crabtree,Budgets and Deficits,Speaker of the House,Government Shutdown

President Obama on Tuesday said Republicans' refusal to reopen government or raise the debt ceiling without conditions could cause irreparable damage to the global economy and vowed not to negotiate.

"Stop the excuses," Obama said at a press conference at the White House, challenging Republican lawmakers. "Let's take a vote in the House. Let's end this shutdown right now."

"House Republicans don't get to demand ransom in exchange for doing their jobs," he added.

"You don't get to say, 'Unless you give me what voters rejected in the last election," Obama continued, "'I'm going to threaten to crash the global economy.'"

Obama said he told Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, he is "happy to talk" about any issues after the government is reopened and the debt ceiling is raised.

The president also opened the door to a potential resolution, saying that he would “absolutely” negotiate with Republicans if they passed a short-term continuing resolution and debt-ceiling hike.

But he said he warned the speaker he would not negotiate with a "government shutdown and economic chaos over our heads."

Obama said that a default if Congress failed to raise the debt limit by an Oct. 17 deadline would hurt all American families, painting the consequences in dire terms.

"America would not be able to meet all of our financial obligations for the first time in 225 years," said the president.

"Everyone in America could see their 401(k)s and home values fall," he added.

The president's comments come with the federal government shutdown in its second week. Both sides are closely watching its impact on the economy as Republicans and Democrats point fingers at each other and refuse to make concessions.

Lawmakers also face a second fiscal crisis, with ten days left to raise the nation's borrowing limit to avoid a default or possible credit downgrade.

Obama has sought to raise pressure on Boehner in recent days to pass a clean continuing resolution free of any GOP demands to block Obamacare or for deeper spending cuts.

But Boehner has refused to bring a clean CR to the House floor, claiming he lacks the votes and saying the only way out of the impasse is for Obama to sit down and talk with GOP lawmakers.

Obama said Boehner had failed to confront a minority of far-right members in his caucus and could reopen the government today.

Earlier Tuesday, Boehner was equally forceful in blaming Obama and Senate Democrats for putting the country on a dangerous path.

At a press conference with fellow GOP leaders, he pressed Obama to come to the table and try to hash out a compromise to reopen the government, raise the debt ceiling and "save Americans from Obamacare."

"You know, Americans expect us to work out our differences," he said. "But refusing to negotiate is an untenable position. And by refusing to negotiate, [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid [D-Nev.] and the president is putting our country on a dangerous path."

Boehner also said there has never been a president "in our history" who did not negotiate over raising the nation's borrowing limit.

"Never — not once," he said. "As a matter of fact, President Obama negotiated with me over the debt limit in 2011. He also negotiated with conservative Blue Dog Democrats to raise the debt ceiling in 2010.

"The way to resolve this is to sit down and have a conversation to resolve our differences," Boehner said, though he declined to specify what Republicans are seeking in talks.

Obama phoned Boehner earlier Tuesday, and the White House said the president reiterated his stance that he would not negotiate on fiscal issues until Republicans ended the government shutdown and raised the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling.

Republicans have tried to delay or defund the president's signature health care law and win a host of deeper spending cuts as part of a short-term government funding bill and debt-ceiling hike.

Obama is insisting on a debt-ceiling bill unencumbered by “partisan attachments.”

House Republicans on Tuesday proposed forming a special committee of House and Senate members to work on the two fiscal issues. The House could vote on the measure as early as this week. Democrats, though, dismissed the idea.

The House has also passed piecemeal bills restoring funding to some government agencies and services, but Reid has refused to move these in the Senate, saying he will only accept a comprehensive, lone continuing resolution.

This story was published at 2:39 p.m. and has been updated.

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