*After speaking with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) by phone earlier today, President Barack Obama repeated his position that he wanted the House to pass a clean continuing resolution to fund the government and a debt limit hike before negotiating over the deficit.
In a White House press conference Tuesday afternoon, the President said he is willing to negotiate with Republicans over health care or any other topic, but only after Congress passes a short-term government funding measure and increases the debt limit. “What I’ve said is that I will talk about anything,” he said, after declaring in his opening statement, “We can’t make extortion routine as part of our democracy.”
He then broke it down like this: “Think about it this way: The American people do not get to demand a ransom for doing their jobs. You don’t get a chance to call your bank and say I’m not going to pay my mortgage this month unless you throw in a new car and an Xbox.”
Obama also pointed out that the shutdown had occurred as a result of Republicans’ strong opposition to the health care law he passed. “The way we got to this point was one thing and one thing only: this Republican obsession with dismantling the Affordable Care Act,” he said. “Most Americans — Democrats and Republicans — agree that health care should not have anything to do with keeping our government open or paying our bills on time.”
At one point, Obama looked directly into the camera and apologized to the American people for the continuing cycle of partisan brinksmanship over budget and deficit issues.
“We’ve got to stop repeating this pattern. I know the American people are tired of it,” the president said, adding: “I apologize you have to go through this stuff every three months, it seems like. And Lord knows, I’m tired of it. At some point we’ve got to break these habits.”