Saying a government shutdown would have a "very real economic impact on real people," President Barack Obama said in a White House statement before the press on Monday that the Republican Party shouldn't bring the "entire economy" to a halt just because it didn't like the outcome of an election.
A shutdown of the government, looming at midnight, would "throw a wrench into the gears of our economy at a time when those gears have gained some traction," Obama said.
The president said he is willing to talk to anybody to make sure Obamacare works better, or for any other purpose, "but one faction of one party in one house of Congress in one branch of government doesn't get to shut down the entire government just to fight the results of an election."
Obama said his hope and expectation was that lawmakers would still do the right thing and prevent a shutdown.
He accused Republicans of pandering to the "extreme right wing" of their party and holding Americans hostage in a budget dispute threatening to shutter the US government.
Just over six hours before government services grind to a halt and thousands of federal workers are furloughed, Obama said time was running out for a last-minute compromise.
Republicans in the House of Representatives are seeking to force Obama to delay or defund his signature health insurance reform law in return for funding government operations.
They are using a similar tactic as Obama also asks Congress for a lifting of the $16.7 trillion US debt ceiling. If no deal is reached, the United States may begin defaulting on its debts by the middle of October.
"Congress needs to keep our government open, needs to pay our bills on time, and never, ever threaten the full faith and credit of the United States of America," Obama said. "Time is running out. My hope and expectation is that in the 11th hour once again, that Congress will choose to do the right thing and that the House of Representatives in particular will choose the right thing.
"Unfortunately, right now, House Republicans continue to tie funding of the government to ideological demands like limiting a woman's access to contraception or delaying the Affordable Care Act, all to save face after making some impossible promises to the extreme right wing of their party."
Obama also warned that the imminent shutdown would have real and dramatic economic consequences for thousands of Americans and said it was not fair that people who had dug out of the worst recession in decades were again facing economic uncertainty.
Obama said that if government does shut down Social Security checks will be sent, Medicare patients can still see their doctors and mail service will continue. But federal office buildings and national parks will be closed. Those who keep working will have their paychecks delayed, while others are furloughed without pay.
Communities that rely on tourist income from national parks and monuments "will be outta customers and outta luck," Obama said.
The federal government is the nations largest employer, with 2 million civilian workers and 1.4 million members of the military.
A shutdown, Obama said, is "entirely preventable if the House chooses to do what the Senate has already done, and that's the simple act of funding our government without making extraneous and controversial demands in the process."
Information from AFP and Reuters was used to compile this report.
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