WASHINGTON–President Barack Obama called House Speaker John Boehner on Tuesday morning–with the partial government shutdown one week old–to repeat his vow that he will not negotiate over raising the debt limit or passing a funding measure.
With no end-game in play, Obama added a 2 p.m. ET press conference to his schedule. This comes as Congress faces two looming deadlines: On Oct. 17, to raise the debt limit and a few days before Oct. 15, when the next round of federal paychecks are due.
The GOP and Democrats have boiled down their approaches to telling hashtags: the Democrats are promoting #LetsVote; the Republicans are pushing #LetsTalk.
“The President called the Speaker again today to reiterate that he won’t negotiate on a government funding bill or debt limit increase,” Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said.
From the Oval Office, Obama called Boehner about 10:45 a.m. following a meeting of the GOP House members in the Capitol. The latest plan for the GOP is to pass a measure to form a “special committee” of House and Senate members to cut a deal to end the two crises.
The White House provided a “read-out” of the Boehner call, stating Obama “repeated what he told him when they met at the White House last week: the President is willing to negotiate with Republicans — after the threat of government shutdown and default have been removed – over policies that Republicans think would strengthen the country.
“The President also repeated his willingness to negotiate on priorities that he has identified including policies that expand economic opportunity, support private sector job creation, enhance the competitiveness of American businesses, strengthen the Affordable Care Act and continue to reduce the nation’s deficit.
“The President urged the Speaker to hold a vote in the House of Representatives on the Senate-passed measure that would re-open the federal government immediately. Citing the Senate’s intention to pass a clean, yearlong extension of the debt limit this week, the President also pressed the Speaker to allow a timely up-or-down vote in the House to raise the debt limit with no ideological strings attached. He noted that only Congress has the authority to raise the debt limit and failure to do so would have grave consequences for middle class families and the American economy as a whole.”
Boehner, at a press conference after meeting with his GOP House members said, “You know, Americans expect us to work out our differences, but refusing to negotiate is an untenable position. And frankly by refusing to negotiate, Harry Reid and the president are putting our country on a pretty dangerous path.”
“The end game is to negotiate,” Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) told me after the GOP meeting. “You can’t get a deal if you are not willing to negotiate. Right now the President and (Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid have both said they will not negotiate. The American people do not accept that. With divided government, you have to negotiate to get a solution.”
House Democratic leaders, speaking after their House members met this morning, dismissed the GOP “special committee bid.” A Democratic Senate source said the Senate will not agree to create a special committee.