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POLITICS: PennAve

Obama phones congressional leaders

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Politics,White House,Barack Obama,John Boehner,PennAve,Government Shutdown,Meghashyam Mali,Spending

President Obama on Monday evening called congressional leaders to urge them to pass a funding bill to avoid a government shutdown at midnight.

“This evening, the President placed separate calls to Senate Majority Leader Reid, Senate Minority Leader McConnell, Speaker Boehner and Democratic Leader Pelosi,” according to a readout provided by the White House.

“The President made clear that Congress has two jobs to do: pay the bills on time and pass a budget on time. Failure to fulfill those responsibilities is harmful to our economy, small businesses and middle class families across the country,” the White House added.

If lawmakers are unable to pass a spending bill by midnight, the government will shut down.

Conservative House Republicans are using the bill to defund or delay Obamacare, but those measures have been rejected by the Democratically-controlled Senate. Obama has also vowed to veto any bill that blocks his healthcare reforms.

The White House said that Obama made it “clear to the Republican Leadership that they must act, as the Senate has, to pass the bill that funds the government for six weeks that doesn’t include any extraneous ideological riders.”

Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said the president and speaker spoke for 10 minutes.

“The president called the speaker this evening to discuss funding for the government and Obamacare,” said Buck in a statement. “The speaker told the president that Obamacare is costing jobs and that American families are being denied basic fairness when big businesses are getting exemptions that they are not.”

The White House said that Obama also “expressed his gratitude to the Democratic Leaders for their efforts to support and pass a clean bill that funds the government at current levels, and made clear that leaders in Washington have a responsibility to do more than just avert disaster.”

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