President Barack Obama said Monday that he is ready to negotiate with Republican lawmakers on any aspect of the federal budget but not under the threat of a U.S. default or the now-week-old partial government shutdown.
"There's not a subject that I am not willing to engage in, work on, negotiate and come up with common-sense compromises on," he said at the headquarters of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The government went into partial shutdown at midnight on Sept. 30 after the Republican majority in the House of Representatives refused to pass a temporary funding measure - known as a continuing resolution - without a delay in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, Obama's signature domestic initiative.
"We're not going to negotiate under the threat of further harm to our economy and middle-class families. We're not going to negotiate under the threat of a prolonged shutdown until Republicans get 100 percent of what they want," the president said Monday.
"We're not going to negotiate under the threat of economic catastrophe that economists and CEOs increasingly warn would result if Congress chose to default on America's obligations," Obama told FEMA workers, including some who were furloughed last week only to be recalled after the formation of what was Tropical Storm Karen.
Most of those recalled workers will now be re-furloughed, the president noted in his remarks.
Obama emphasized the loss of services that citizens are having to endure and called on House Speaker John Boehner to bring a continuing resolution without conditions to a vote.
"My suspicion is - my very strong suspicion is that there are enough votes there" to pass a so-called clean CR, the president said.
Obama emphasized the need to raise the debt ceiling, which will be reached on Oct. 17, and he insisted that this is a routine procedure that has been undertaken more than 40 times since 1981 and "has never before been used in the kind of ways that the Republicans are talking about using it right now." EFE