Washington, Oct 9: President Barack Obama Tuesday ruled out negotiations with Republicans to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling, saying the Republicans should not be demanding a ransom for letting the government function.
“Let’s lift these threats from our families and our businesses and let’s get down to work,” he said at a hastily arranged news conference at the White House as the stalemate over US federal government continued for the eighth day.
Criticising House Republican tactics in dealing with the twin issues with an Oct 17 debt default deadline looming, Obama said Congress should vote to raise the debt ceiling when it votes to reopen the government.
Failing to raise the debt ceiling “would be dramatically worse” than a government shutdown, he said and the country would see a “very significant risk” of a deep recession.
“Not only the White House but also Democrats in the Senate and Democrats in the House have shown more than ample willingness to talk about any issues that the Republicans are concerned about,” Obama said in a statement at the outset.
While the shutdown is already hurting the economy, “as long as we get this fixed, that’s not long term damage”, Obama said, and the same would be true if the debt ceiling is raised before the Treasury Department starts to struggle to pay its bills.
But, he added, “whenever we do these things, it hurts our credibility around the world. It makes it look like we don’t have our act together”.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at email@example.com)