WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — House Speaker John Boehner lashed out at the White House and Democrats over the stalemate in the continuing government shutdown.
“This isn’t some damn game!” Boehner said, his fiery response coming from a Wall Street Journal story where an Obama administration official said that the Democrats were “winning.”
“The American people don’t want their government shut down and neither do I,” he said.
Boehner met with President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders at the White House earlier this week, but no momentum was gained during the meeting to end the partial shutdown.
“I was at the White House the other night and listened to the president some 20 times explain to me why they don’t negotiate,” Boehner said. “I sat there and listened to the majority leader in the United States Senate describe to me that he’s not going to talk until we surrender.”
Boehner concluded: “All we’re asking for is to sit down and to have a discussion … to reopen the government and to bring fairness to the American people under Obamacare. It’s as simple as that, but it all has to begin with a simple discussion.”
To get the government up and running again, “it will take some coming together on the Republican side,” said the House’s lead Democrat, Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California.
“It’s very hard to negotiate with the Republicans when they can’t negotiate with themselves,” Pelosi told CBS “This Morning” on Friday.
Senate Chaplain Barry Black opened Friday’s business with a plea for God to “give our lawmakers the vision and the willingness to see and to do your will.”
“Remove from them that stubborn pride which imagination itself to be above and beyond criticism. Forgive them for the blunders they have committed, infusing them with the courage to admit and correct mistakes,” Black said.
Obama criticized Boehner for not bringing up a vote to finance the full reopening of the government without conditions.
“Speaker John Boehner won’t even let the bill get a yes-or-no vote, because he doesn’t want to anger the extremists in his party. That’s all. That’s what this whole thing is about,” Obama said Thursday at a campaign-style event at a Rockville, Md., construction company.
Lawmakers said the shutdown that began Tuesday when the government began its new budget year seemed to be quickly merging with a more critical showdown over the nation’s expiring line of credit, raising the stakes for the still-fragile economy.
Obama and his Treasury Department said failure to raise the nation’s borrowing limit, expected to hit its $16.7 trillion cap in mid-October, could precipitate an economic nosedive worse than the recent Great Recession. A default could cause the nation’s credit markets to freeze, the value of the dollar to plummet and U.S. interest rates to skyrocket, according to a Treasury report.
Obama cataloged a litany of troubles that could be caused by the failure to raise the debt ceiling, from delayed Social Security and disability checks to worldwide economic repercussions.
“If we screw up, everybody gets screwed up,” he said.
The speaker’s office reiterated Boehner’s past assertion that he would not let the government default on its debt. “But if we’re going to raise the debt limit, we need to deal with the drivers of our debt and deficits,” his spokesman, Michael Steel, said. “That’s why we need a bill with cuts and reforms to get our economy moving again.”
Obama is pushing hard against expectations that he needs to give concessions in exchange for a normally routine stopgap funding bill. And on the separate debt limit increase, needed to make sure that the U.S. can pay all of its bills on time and in full, Democrats pointed to the debt ceiling increases they gave to former President George W. Bush without any strings attached.
(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)