Taking a hard line against congressional Republicans on the eve of a government shutdown, President Barack Obama said he won’t negotiate over budget issues while Republicans are “threatening” a shutdown that will harm voters.
“I am not only open to, but eager to have negotiations around a long term budget,” Obama told reporters in the Oval Office after meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “But the only way to do that is for everybody to sit down in good faith, without threatening to harm women and veterans and children with a government shutdown.”
Obama said he is “not at all resigned” to a shutdown, which would begin at 12:01 a.m., unless the White House and congressional leaders cut a last-minute deal to continue government funding.
“I expect I will be speaking to [congressional] leaders today, tomorrow and the next day,” Obama said.
Republicans want to delay implementation of Obama’s health care reform law in exchange for keeping the government running. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney reiterated Monday that the administration considers that demand to be “extortion.”
Zeke J Miller contributing reporting