Obama to Boehner: ‘Stop The Excuses’

'Let's end this shutdown right now, let's put people back to work'

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Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

President Barack Obama speaks about the continuing government shutdown during a news conference from the White House Briefing Room in Washington, October 8, 2013.

In a marathon news conference designed to emphasize the dire consequences of failing to raise the debt ceiling, President Barack Obama upped the pressure on congressional Republicans Tuesday to lift the borrowing cap and reopen the government without conditions or delay.

Democrats, Obama said from the White House briefing room, “have shown more than ample willingness to talk about any issues that the Republicans are concerned about. But we can’t do it if the entire basis of the Republican strategy is, ‘we’re going to shut down the government or cause economic chaos if we don’t get a hundred percent of what we want.’ So my suggestion to [House Speaker John Boehner] has been and will continue to be, ‘let’s stop the excuses, let’s take a vote in the House, let’s end this shutdown right now, let’s put people back to work.'”

Obama quoted financial experts saying that failure to raise the debt limit is “insane, catastrophic, chaos,” adding, “these are some of the more polite words.” Obama added for the skeptics, “this is real.” If Congress doesn’t act, the government will not be able to pay all of its bills beginning Oct. 17, according to the Treasury Department.

(MORE: Obama and Boehner Have a Phone Chat, But No End To Shutdown Impasse)

Speaking for more than an hour and taking questions from 11 reporters, Obama expressed openness to a House Republican proposal to create a new fiscal negotiating committee, in exchange for a short-term agreement to raise the debt limit and reopen government.

“If there’s a way to solve this, it has to include reopening the government and saying America is not going to default; it’s going to pay our bills,” Obama said, reiterating what has been his position for the past several weeks. “[Republicans] can attach some process to that that gives them some certainty that in fact the things they’re concerned about will be topics of negotiation, if my word’s not good enough. If they want to specify all the items that they think need to be topic of conversation, happy to do it.”

In a statement after Obama’s remarks, Boehner said that Obama will have to budge from his no-negotiating position if he wants the government to reopen and the debt limit raised. “The long and short of it is, there is going to be a negotiation here,” he said.

Senate Democrats have come out against the GOP proposal, with Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray saying Tuesday in a statement that “this Republican gimmick is intended to keep two crises going while they again refuse to make any concessions.”

But Obama emphasized that he won’t act until Boehner reopens the government, saying “extortion” can’t be made “routine.”

“And this is not just for me; it’s also for my successors in office,” Obama said. “Whatever party they’re from, they shouldn’t have to pay a ransom either for Congress doing its basic job. We’ve got to put a stop to it.”

(MORE: Democrats’ Secret Weapon: Ted Cruz)

Obama said that the Treasury Department is “exploring all contingencies” if Congress doesn’t act by next Wednesday, the day extraordinary borrowing measures run out and the government is left to pay its bills with only its day-to-day cash. “But let me be clear — no option is good in that scenario,” Obama added. “There is no silver bullet. There is no magic wand that allows us to wish away the chaos that could result if, for the first time in our history, we don’t pay our bills on time.”

The president admitted that he is “tempted” to sign House Republicans’ piecemeal approaches to reopen narrow swaths of the federal government, which has been partially shutdown for a week now, but said he’s decided against it because “if there’s no political heat, if there’s no television story on it, then nothing happens.”

“You don’t do a piecemeal approach like that when you’re dealing with a government shutdown, OK,” he said.

Boehner said earlier in the day that it’s past time for Obama to negotiate in good faith. The two spoke by phone on Tuesday morning.

“All we’re asking for is to sit down and have a conversation,” Boehner said. “There’s no reason to make it more difficult to bring people to the table. There’s no boundaries here, there’s nothing on the table, there’s nothing off the table. I’m trying to do everything I can to bring people together and have a conversation.”

79 comments
j45ashton
j45ashton

Wait.  Don't worry,  They're going to meet & discuss now.  Yeah...dat's nice.  They're meeting to discuss things 'cause they never discussed  these things before 'cause of the democrats.  And really...those democrats...you can't trust  them 'cause...'cause....oh, wait, wait.  Check out this link to a clip from the Jon Stewart show.  Can't be but maybe something about the Republicans just don't smell right: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNMWh_m2mtQ



anthonyrivera008
anthonyrivera008

Because Boehner is playing childish politics, encouraged by the Tea Party.

daridekas
daridekas

they play with fire and the catastrophe of a whole nation and nobody looks as if he really cares about that.

admin2 http://invetrics.com

Paul,nnto
Paul,nnto

Boehner just looks weaker and weaker and it would be amusing if it wasn't so damaging.

That screwing with the economy, and thus with millions of citizens lives, has become so hum-drum (sort of the rolling your eyes at the drunk uncle) may come home to roost in a terrible way. 

Guess we'll know next week. 

MrObvious
MrObvious

Stop the excuses.

But Mr President. It's their entire policy spectrum. That and faith.

Ohheck
Ohheck

Thank you everyone for your insite, good luck to you all. Look forward to listen to all of you again.

Apostate
Apostate

We can't go on forever borrowing to pay for all of our government services - or most of them, I suppose.

To quote a great thinker, Jerry Pournelle, if something can't go on forever, it will stop.

What will the GOP and Democrats do then? What will We the People, who are, after all, the final arbiters of power in the USA, do then?

jsfox
jsfox

And at Boehner's presser:  "What the president said today was if there's unconditional surrender by Republicans, he will sit down and talk to us. That's not the way our government works."


A couple of things John. One, what you have done is not the way our government works.

And two

You have lost and a decent leader would surrender before his country was destroyed. Then again I did say decent and leader those terms really don't apply to you.

Ohheck
Ohheck

What is so concerning to me is the Democrats, (and I am sure not all of them), are showing that they are not willing to sign off on a bill that will continue to fund children needs for cancer treatments just so they can have thing there way. Harry Reed said he speaks for the Democrats and that is what he told the world.

jsfox
jsfox

What an absurd comparison.

PaulDirks
PaulDirks

@Paul,nnto But everyone knows better than to let the uncle drive their kids home.


tom.litton
tom.litton

@Apostate The horrible part is, that the government shutdown will make the debt worse.  The debt ceiling even more so.

If your interested in solving the debt problem, the last thing you want is either of those 2 things to happen.

MrObvious
MrObvious

@Apostate 

No - but we're not there yet and it's definitely not an excuse to destroy our economy through first a minority without the political power to change legislation to extort for concessions and then run over the default line with the comical faith of 'ain't no big thang'.

Did you know that 60% of the newly minted 100 dollar bills are held outside this country? We are the reserve currency of the entire globe. Even dysfunctional nations like Somalia prefers the dollar.

This isn't just about some pig farmer that think he's isolated from the entire world around him - this is about our power position in the world and the implication what will happen when we're not willing to guarantee the full faith of that spot.

Ohheck
Ohheck

@Apostate As you indicated, Its not one party that is the problem, its all who want the power. What the Democrats are doing now is for there own benefit down the road, but when the GOP gets back into power, they to will use what the Democrats created. It just go on and on. Part of the problem is me for waiting 50 years to speak out. I am one that is not afraid to admit if I do something wrong.

PaulDirks
PaulDirks

@Apostate People get so hung up over Credit Card sized interest rates that they fail to understand arithmetic. If you can borrow money at 2 percent and can in turn invest it at 5 percent then you would be utterly irresponsible NOT to borrow the money. Not to suggest that the government can actually operate on leverage, but the point is that people seem utterly incapable of understanding the possibility.


bobcn
bobcn

@Apostate

"We can't go on forever borrowing..."

Then maybe we shouldn't be wasting $300 million a day on this idiotic republican shutdown.

jsfox
jsfox

@Apostate Sigh this is to pay for what has already been charged. Raising the debt limit takes care of current obligations. Next spending is at the lowest level it has been in decades and if the Republicans would just get the heck out of the way, stop obstructing maybe the economy would finally pick up steam and maybe  even speed up the debt reduction picture.  Speaking of debt our debt is far more manageable than republicans like to make out. Why? Because if they told the truth then they would have nothing to whine about.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@Apostate Why can't we? Look back at history Great Britain borrowed for 400 plus years. As long as we can make the interest payments.

outsider
outsider

@jsfox  

Not to mention that Obama has already copulated, and the current  spending is a result of the GOP doing this LAST TIME. 


They got Obama to bend over completely last time. Now they're stumped because he isn't doing it again. 


OH, and there is that whole, he got re-elected running on doing EXACTLY what he's doing now. 


All inconvenient facts.

tom.litton
tom.litton

@Ohheck Why don't they pair it with full funding for a democratic priority, like the EPA? 

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@Ohheck Yes that is what is concerning. Never mind the fact that the GOP pushed to have funding for these children reduced to begin with.

jsfox
jsfox

@Ohheck No they are not willing to say sure let a few of the hostages go and everything will be fine. if you can let a few go you can let them all go. 

Paul,nnto
Paul,nnto

@PaulDirks @Paul,nnto  We shall see. 

A Speaker this weak may be unprecedented. I believe Boehner knows the consequences but is too impotent to do anything. 

Anyone heard from Cantor, his "loyal" number two, lately? 

Apostate
Apostate

@PaulDirks @Apostate People who have NOT become hung up about their credit card interest rates end up doing very badly indeed. Beyond that? All I can present is the fact that Economics is not a science, and thus trusting too far the word of Economists is not a good idea, and my gut instinct that we are headed for chaotic economic and political times.

BobJan
BobJan

@PaulDirks @Apostate  Uh, excuse me. I hope you're not trying to convince me that people elected to Congress are capable of making good decisions. They're being pulled in all directions to make decisions based solely what their wealthy donors want. They "never" do anything that would benefit the American taxpayer/voter/military personnel. They think first of the fat cats and them only. Why do you think they spend tens of MILLIONS getting reelected to a 176,400 a year job. 

Apostate
Apostate

@jsfox @Apostate I suspect your attitude or something close to it is the prevailing one among too many people and what will you do if my doom-and-gloom pessimism turns out to be right? And yes, should I turn out to be wrong, well, I will be very happy.

Apostate
Apostate

@mantisdragon91 @Apostate Considering the sad fate of Great Britain, that is nothing to be proud of or to base a rational, even semi-rational, fiscal policy on.

AlistairCookie
AlistairCookie

@Ohheck @mantisdragon91 I ask you, could they possibly be worse?  And I'm serious.  I'm not looking for some nonsense troll rant about Fascism and our freedoms.  I mean, would a Dem majority ever pull the same shenanigans that are being pulled now?  Hint:  The answer is no. 

tom.litton
tom.litton

@Apostate @PaulDirks Who else are you going to trust?  Trusting your own gut feeling on things as complicated as the US (and world) economy is a much worse idea.

At least economists can give you an educated guess based on data (well most economists anyways).  

People may not consider it a science, but it certainly behaves like a science in a field that is impossible to set up experiments.   In the spectrum of science purity, i would put it on the other side of quantum mechanics, but certainly more pure then social science.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@Apostate @bobcn A maybe we should raise revenues since we are at historically low levels in terms of taxes on Corporations and the rich. We aren't going to cut our way to a balanced budget, so what's plan B?

tom.litton
tom.litton

@Apostate @jsfox The problem isn't the debt.  As jsfox said it is currently very fixable.

The problem is the system, and human nature. 

First human nature.  Trying to drastically cut spending now would cause the economy to slow and revenues to go down.  Not a good way of fixing a debt problem.  It's like a software company to fix their debt problem by firing their programmers.  Not a good strategy.  A better strategy would be to wait until the economy recovers and then cut spending, even though the government will likely be running surpluses.

And that is when human nature screws us.  Instead of paying down the debt people will want some new shiny, and won't worry about the debt until the next recession when revenues drop and deficit skyrockets. 

The system is fundamentally broken because it requires (yes REQUIRES) politicians to extort and/or accept bribes from the richest people and corporations in order to get elected.  If you don't do that then you have no chance of getting elected.

jsfox
jsfox

@Apostate @jsfox No offense my attitude? What I wrote is based on facts not attitude. All you have to do is stop listening to folks who are actually pretty damn clueless on fiscal matters and look at the actual numbers. Good grief.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@Apostate @mantisdragon91 Britain rule the world for centuries and are still a world power with one of the highest standards of living in the world. Define sad fate again?

MrObvious
MrObvious

@Apostate @mantisdragon91 

In their sad state they have about the strongest currency in the world. Their entire fortune came from being a global empire, not because they lacked the ability to pay their bills.

The whole freedom thing was a real bummer tho. Some people just don't like to be serfs.

jsfox
jsfox

@Apostate @mantisdragon91 Sad fate of great Britain, what sad fate. What that they are no longer an empire. Good grief they are better off not being one.

BobJan
BobJan

@jsfox @Ohheck @AlistairCookie @mantisdragon91  What nation, in fact when has America gone into war/wars and then lowered taxes to boot? Talk about incompetence and we all went along with it just like the Germans got into line with the Nazis. Appears that republicans are "fascists" at heart.

jsfox
jsfox

@Ohheck @jsfox @AlistairCookie @mantisdragon91 Sure it matters if is an opinion based on fact and honesty. I am curious what you think is better under Republicans. From my vantage point they talk a good game but when in power do the complete opposite of what they talked about except lower taxes. And this last one always puts the lie to their fiscal responsibility claim.

jsfox
jsfox

@Ohheck @AlistairCookie @mantisdragon91 What few things are better when the GOP is in power? It can't be the debt and deficits they have increased every time they are in power. The Reagan administration even took us from a creditor nation to a debtor nation. It cannot be the economy as whole because that too has been historically better under Democrats than Republicans over the past half century. It cannot be the size of government because that has grown dramatically under Republicans. So what few things are better?