Washington, Oct 7: US Republican House Speaker John Boehner said Sunday that the lower chamber would not pass bills to end government shutdown or raise debt limit until President Barack Obama chooses to negotiate.
“There are not the votes in the house to pass a clean continuing resolution,” Xinhua reported Boehner as saying on ABC’s “This Week” programme.
His comments came despite the fact that some centrist Republicans have indicated willingness to join the Democrats in passing a stopgap measure to end the shutdown.
Holding firm the GOP demand for concessions from Obama and the Democrats, Boehner also said the house is not going to pass a bill without conditions on debt limit increase.
“I don’t want the United States to default on its debt. But I’m not going to raise the debt limit without a serious conversation about dealing with problems that are driving the debt up.”
Boehner said the nation’s credit is at risk because of the Obama administration’s refusal to sit down and have a conversation. “We’re interested in having a conversation about how we open the government and how we begin to pay our bills. But it begins with a simple conversation.”
Charles Schumer, the No. 3 Senate Democrat, responded that his party is willing to talk but not in a hostage-taking way. “The kind of negotiation you have is one with a gun held to your head. And you just can’t do it. And it will lead to a future negotiation like that and a future one.”
Obama has urged lawmakers to reopen the government and raise the debt limit with no conditions attached. He reiterated in Wednesday’s meeting with congressional leaders that he would not negotiate over the debt ceiling.
The first government shutdown in 17 years entered the sixth day with no sign of being resolved quickly. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives Saturday unanimously approved a bill to pay back about 800,000 furloughed government workers once the government reopens.
US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, speaking on CNN programme “State of the Union” Sunday, urged the Congress to quickly pass legislation to reopen the government and raise the nation’s 16.7 trillion dollars debt limit as the deadline looms.