WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) – President Barack Obama held a press conference Tuesday at the White House on the continuing government shutdown and the looming debt ceiling.
With both sides holding firm in their stances as the shutdown enters its second week, Obama told House Speaker John Boehner to stop the excuses within the Republican Party and vote a clean spending bill to fund the government.
“That vote could take place today,” Obama said.
Obama noted that he and other Democrats are willing to talk with Republicans that any issues they want to bring up.
“I’ve shown myself willing to go more than halfway in these conversations,” Obama said, joking that he’ll “even spring for dinner again” in talks.
Obama compared the government shutdown to someone burning their house down if they don’t agree on the price.
“If you don’t give me the price, I’m going to burn down your house,” Obama said as an example.
Obama also said if Congress does not raise the debt ceiling, it would cause an “economic catastrophe” worldwide, and that raising it “does not add a dime to our debt.”
Obama added that lawmakers are hesitant to vote on the debt ceiling because they feel it will hurt them politically.
“Preventing this should be simple,” Obama stated.
Obama said that he has already used a lot of his emergency powers in an effort for the U.S. to pay its bills, “[b]ut at certain point those emergency powers run out so the clock is ticking.”
Obama stated that he will not “roll out a big coin” in an effort to cover the debt.
He said, “Ultimately what matters is what are the people who are buying Treasury bills thinking.”
The shutdown caused Obama to miss the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference in Bali, but the president believes China doesn’t mind that.
“I’m sure that the Chinese don’t mind that I’m not there right now,” Obama said.
Earlier in the day, House Speaker John Boehner said he was willing to negotiate budget issues with Obama without any conditions.
The Ohio Republican told reporters Tuesday, “I’m not drawing any lines in the sand.”
Boehner spoke as the government’s partial shutdown entered the eighth day. An even bigger financial crisis looms next week when the government reaches the limit of its authority to borrow money.
Republicans have said they want changes to Obama’s signature health care law in exchange for reopening the government. They have said they want spending cuts in exchange for raising the debt limit.
During a phone call to Boehner Tuesday morning, Obama said he wouldn’t negotiate over reopening the government or raising the debt limit.
Boehner said, “All we’re asking for is to sit down and have this conversation.”
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