President Barack Obama told Republicans Friday that it’s a fool’s errand for them to use the threat of a government shutdown to gut his signature healthcare law, decrying what he called “political grandstanding” that is hurting the American economy.
With Republicans seeing both the looming expiration of government funding and the need to increase the country’s borrowing limit as pressure points to extract political concessions on the healthcare law, the president said bluntly: “I said that yesterday and I’m gonna repeat it: that’s not gonna happen.”
“A lot of what is taking place right now is political grandstanding,” Obama told reporters at the White House, “but the grandstanding has real affects on real people. … It would throw a wrench in the gears of the economy, just as those gears are beginning to get traction,” he said.
The president also said that raising the debt ceiling is essential for maintaining American economic growth and global reputation.
“Raising the debt ceiling is simply authorizing the Treasury to pay for what congress has already authorized,” he said. “I will not negotiate over Congress’ responsibility to pay the bills that have already been racked up.
“Voting for the Treasury to pay America’s bills is not a concession to me,” he said. “Nobody gets to threaten the full faith and credit of the U.S. just to extract political concessions. … Knock it off, pass a budget, and move on.
Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, said in a statement that House Republicans would try to work to avert a government shutdown while still opposing the health care law.
“The House will take action that reflects the fundamental fact that Americans don’t want a government shutdown and they don’t want the train wreck that is Obamacare,” Buck said. “Grandstanding from the president, who refuses to even be a part of the process, won’t bring Congress any closer to a resolution.”
Zeke J Miller contributed