President Obama on Wednesday said that he is beginning to see the effects of the shutdown at the White House, as he took his case against GOP lawmakers outside the beltway.
"I’ve got young people here who are expecting their first child and aren’t sure whether they’re gonna be able to pay their mortgage," Obama told an ABC affiliate in Philadelphia, in one of four sit-downs with local television stations as he continued to press Republicans to pass a funding bill and raise the nation’s debt ceiling without any restrictions.
"I’ve got folks who get in a car accident but aren't sure whether they can pay the deductible," he added.
Obama also sat down for interviews with WRC in Washington, D.C., WTVR in Richmond, Va., and WFLA in Tampa, Fla.
The interviews came as the federal government shutdown entered its ninth day, with a deadline to raise the nation’s debt ceiling by Oct. 17 rapidly approaching.
Obama sought to take his message that the shutdown, and a possible default if the U.S. fails to extend its borrowing limit, would wreak havoc on the fragile economic recovery and hurt American families to the public.
Republicans are seeking changes to Obamacare, deeper spending cuts or entitlement reforms in exchange for a funding bill and debt ceiling hike.
But Obama says he will only negotiate if they pass a clean continuing resolution and raise the debt ceiling first, even if for only a short extension.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, however, dismissed that as a call for “unconditional surrender” and said Republicans expected Obama to sit down with them first.
“We’re going to do everything we can to get this solved. And there’s a real simple solution. ... The Speaker of the House could solve this today by simply reopening the government. It doesn’t require the Speaker or Republicans to make any concessions,” said Obama to NBC Washington. “The Speaker yesterday said it would be ‘unconditional surrender’ to reopen the government. That doesn’t make sense to a lot of people.
“I mean, if we just go back to the point where the budget was before the shutdown occurred and both parties sit down and negotiate and people are put back on the job ... I don’t think anybody would consider that a concession to me or the Democrats,” he added. “I think that’s just common sense.”
Obama is slated to meet with House GOP lawmakers Thursday to talk about ways to break the fiscal deadlock. Obama met with House Democrats on Wednesday. But the White House insisted that Obama would push for Republicans to reopen government and extend the nation’s credit line before discussing broader fiscal issues.
The White House has pressed Boehner to bring a vote on a clean CR, claiming it could pass with the backing of Democrats and centrist Republicans. But Boehner has said he does not have the votes.