President Barack Obama is acting like a high school girl who calls her boyfriend to tell him she's not talking to him, Rep. Mick Mulvaney contends in an exclusive Newsmax interview.
That is what the president sounded like when he called House Speaker John Boehner to tell him he would not negotiate on defunding Obamacare, the South Carolinian said.
"He called John Boehner yesterday to tell him he wasn't negotiating with him," Mulvaney said Wednesday. "I had a girlfriend call me in high school and tell me that she was giving me the silent treatment; that's sort of what it sounded like.
"The president calls John Boehner to say, 'By the way, I'm still not negotiating with you' — that's not a discussion."
Mulvaney represents South Carolina's Rock Hill-based 5th Congressional District, in the north of the state. He is now in his second term. Before his election, he served as a member of the South Carolina Senate.
He said during the interview that Republicans are not shifting their focus to the debt ceiling at the expense of the government shutdown.
"We're concerned about a lot of different things. You've got a country that's $16 trillion in debt . . . and we've got a country that's just starting into the first phases of Obamacare. You worry about that as well," he said, adding, "We'll bump up against this debt ceiling sometime towards the Oct. 17, and it's certainly an added issue, another thing to discuss."
He maintained that even as the country gets closer to reaching the debt ceiling, there is still time to get concessions on Obamacare.
"There's a chance you make an advance on that in the next week. It may be part and parcel of the larger discussion, but I don't think it's a foregone conclusion that the Obamacare discussion is finished," he said.
In the meantime, Mulvaney, the first Republican to represent his district since 1883, called on Obama to sit down at the negotiating table over the shutdown.
"What the president can do right now to help things is sit down,” he said. “People ask me all the time, 'How is this going to end?' And my answer is very simple. I don't know when it's going to end, but I know how it's going to end.
“It's going to end the same way that the other 17 government shutdowns have ended. It's going to end the same way 70-odd debt ceiling increases have ended, which was when both sides sat down and talked about how to work this thing out . . . but it's entirely up to the president to come and sit down."
Asked whether that would be sufficient, Mulvaney responded, “You have to sit down like adults and work it out the same way that the Democrats did when Jimmy Carter was president, that the Democrats and the Republicans did when Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton were president, the same place we are now.”
"We know how to do this,” he said. “Everybody seems to know how to do this except the president. He needs to come and sit down and have a discussion."
Turning to the looming debt crisis, Mulvaney acknowledged that avoiding default could involve some difficult choices, but he argued that increasing the debt ceiling is not an acceptable option.
"It's hard to prioritize your spending, and this government has not had to do it ever. If we have to do it now, yes, it's going to be difficult, and yes, you're going to have to face circumstances of paying this group but not that group, but that's the hole we dug for ourselves," he said.
"This is not going to be easy to do. But to simply say, oh, all of these problems will simply go away by raising the debt ceiling, it's childish, it's not right. We have to sit down and prioritize our spending. We're going to either do it now or later, but we have to admit to ourselves that we're going to do it. So, if you asked me if it's going to be uncomfortable, yes. But it's our own fault. We've done it to ourselves."
Asked where he drew the line between compromise and capitulation, Mulvaney said, "That's a great question, and it's probably the number-one discussion we have within our own groups right now.”
“What are we trying to get to? And the answer, it's quite simple. We've set down some rules for ourselves as Republican members of the House. And we decided that the infighting of last year, the fiscal cliff, Sandy, a couple of the other things that we dealt with last year that sort of divided the party, we want to put that behind us.
"What could we rally behind? What could we stand for as a party, conservatives and moderates of the party alike? And the answer was a 10-year balanced budget, something that gets us on a path to balance this federal budget within 10 years."
"If we can move the needle in that direction as part of these discussions, then it would have been a success, and you can go home and tell people, look, I didn't capitulate, I didn't compromise my principles, I didn't get everything that we needed, but we moved the needle in the right direction."
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