As the federal government shutdown enters its 10th day, President Barack Obama has taken an increasingly aggressive stance in demanding House Republicans pass a budget bill to end the ongoing crisis. Wednesday (Oct. 9), Obama and House Democrats met to discuss an end to the shutdown and raise the looming debt limit that threatens to put the country into default.
Several outlets reported on the first face to face meetings with House members with Obama at the White House, who has kept firm with his stance of not negotiating with House Republicans until the bill is passed in both chambers to reopen the government and the debt ceiling is raised.
House Speaker John Boehner has sided with the extreme conservative faction of Tea Party members within the House in asking for a list of demands before passing the budget, including delaying the Affordable Care Act and measures that serve the GOP’s interests. The president told House Democrats in the meeting Wednesday that the demands are mounting.
“The only thing not on their list is my own resignation,” said the president, according to one unnamed lawmaker. Speaking with Richmond, Va.’s WTVR station, Obama went on the offensive against the Boehner and his allies.
“The reason we’re where we are right now is because Speaker Boehner, the House Republicans, thought that they could get leverage in budget negotiations or defund the Affordable Care Act — Obamacare — by taking us to the brink,” said the president.
After Boehner declined an invitation the 232 House Republicans to meet Thursday (Oct. 10), the speaker instead handpicked 18 “negotiators” comprised of committee chairmans and leaders in what appears to be an attempt to sidestep any potential for Obama to sway House GOP members to break away from the Tea Party’s hard-line views.
However, a meeting with the conservative Republican Study Committee, helmed by House Budget Committee Paul Ryan, may show that the GOP is willing and ready to yield on at least getting the debt ceiling raised before the Oct. 17 deadline.
“If we cannot get an agreement with the president at some point in time in the next few days, we’ll look at something short term,” said Louisiana congressman Steve Scalise.
Photo: New York Times