Reid: 'Bring it up for a vote'
In the second week of the partial US government shutdown, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid renews calls for House Republicans to pass clean budget resolution.PT0M0S 620 349
Washington: President Barack Obama has intensified pressure on Republicans with a hastily scheduled news conference, calling on them to fund and reopen the government and to raise the nation's borrowing limit as the federal shutdown entered a second week.
"Let's lift these threats from our families and our businesses, and let's get down to work," Mr Obama said in the White House briefing room before taking questions from reporters.
The American people do not get to demand a ransom for doing their jobs.US President Barack Obama
Obama said he was holding firm that he would not negotiate concessions to the Republican-led House for it to perform Congress' constitutional responsibilities.
US President Barack Obama tells a news conference in the White House briefing room that the US economy risks a "very deep recession" if Congress doesn't raise the $US16.7 trillion debt ceiling. Photo: Bloomberg
"I am happy to talk with him and other Republicans about anything," Mr Obama said of House Speaker John Boehner, "not just issues I think are important, but also issues that they think are important. But I also told him that having such a conversation, talks, negotiations shouldn't require hanging the threats of a government shutdown or economic chaos over the heads of the American people.
"Think about it this way," he added. "The American people do not get to demand a ransom for doing their jobs."
Mr Obama had phoned Mr Boehner earlier on Tuesday to urge him to allow a House vote on a budget bill without conditions, as Mr Boehner called on the president to come to the negotiating table to resolve a spending standoff that has shuttered the government for eight days.
The competing pushes by the President and Mr Boehner came after a closed-door meeting of House Republicans produced no new offers to resolve the spending stalemate and no plan for what to do about the fact that the federal government is set to hit its borrowing limit next week.
According to the White House, the president again told Mr Boehner that he was willing to negotiate, but only after the "threat of government shutdown and default have been removed." The White House said that areas the president would be willing to discuss included "how to strengthen the Affordable Care Act and continue to reduce the nation's deficit."
The speaker's office said the call broke no new ground. "The president called the speaker again today to reiterate that he won't negotiate on a government funding bill or debt limit increase," said Brendan Buck, a spokesman for Mr Boehner.
Even as Mr Boehner's office put out word of the call, Mr Buck declined to say how the speaker had responded to the president.
More than a week into the shutdown and nine days from a possible debt default, House Republicans emerged from their meeting with a united demand: They will make no move to resolve either crisis until Mr Obama extends an olive branch.
"Refusing to negotiate is an untenable position," Mr Boehner said.
Republican Kevin McCarthy of California, the number three House Republican, said: "Mr. President, give a call. We're ready to answer."
If that is meant to raise the political pressure on Democrats, they showed little sign of backing down on their position that to compromise over the basic functions of financing the government and preventing a default would only encourage more crises and more hostage-taking.
Complicating matters is a Republican contention that the October 17 deadline for a debt ceiling increase is fluid at best, and possibly mythical. Republican John Fleming said lawmakers "have plenty of time" to work out a broad deal to reduce the deficit and overhaul entitlement programs before the statutory borrowing limit must be raised.
"We're already living hand-to-mouth, and have for the last three years," he said. "Why do we want to make the problem even worse?"
Some Republicans continue to say the Treasury is receiving ample tax revenues every day to pay off creditors and avoid a default. Additional government services might close and contracts might be suspended as the administration prioritises debt servicing, they say, but an actual crisis is far off.
"It's like everything else here," said Republican Trent Franks. "People on both sides of every argument seem to employ hyperbole when they could just state the truth and it would still be of significant consequence."
New York Times