WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — One top Republican is confident that they will get the Democrats to blink first in the government shutdown.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., was caught on a hot mic by WPSD-TV telling Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell that he believes Republicans are “gonna win this” fight over President Barack Obama’s health care law in the government shutdown battle.
“I just did CNN and I just go over and over again, ‘We’re willing to compromise. We’re willing to negotiate,’” Paul said. “I don’t think they poll tested we won’t negotiate. I think it’s awful for them to say that over and over again.”
McConnell responded: ‘Yeah, I do too … and I just came back from that two-hour meeting with them … and that was basically the same view privately as it was publicly.”
“I think if we keep saying, ‘We wanted to defund it. We fought for that and that we’re willing to compromise on this,’ I think they can’t, we’re gonna, I think … well I know we don’t want to be here, but we’re gonna win this I think.”
Speaking at a small business outside of Washington on the third day of the shutdown, Obama says House Speaker John Boehner is the only thing standing in the way of reopening the federal government.
He says Boehner is preventing a vote on a funding bill because he doesn’t want to anger “extremists” in his party.
The president is calling on Boehner to quickly hold a vote on a bill free of extra demands. The president met with Boehner and other congressional leaders at the White House for more than an hour Wednesday, but no agreement was reached.
Obama says the longer the shutdown goes on, the worse the impact on the U.S. economy will be.
Obama “refuses to negotiate,” Boehner told reporters after private talks at the White House Wednesday that lasted more than an hour. “All we’re asking for here is a discussion and fairness for the American people under Obamacare.”
But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said moments later, “We’re locked in tight on Obamacare” and neither the president nor Democrats will accept changes in the nation’s 3-year-old health care law as the price for spending legislation needed to end the two-day partial shutdown.
With the nation’s ability to borrow money soon to lapse, Republicans and Democrats alike said the shutdown could last for two weeks or more, and soon oblige a divided government to grapple with both economy-threatening issues at the same time.
The White House said in a statement after the meeting that Obama had made it clear “he is not going to negotiate over the need for Congress to act to reopen the government or to raise the debt limit to pay the bills Congress has already incurred.”
It added, “The president remains hopeful that common sense will prevail.”
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