House Speaker Boehner: Still No Deal

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Wednesday, 02 Oct 2013 09:04 PM

By Todd Beamon

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House Speaker John Boehner left talks with President Barack Obama late Wednesday complaining that Democrats would not negotiate to end a government shutdown.

"We entered into negotiations to try to find ways to resolve our differences," the Ohio Republican said outside the White House. "The president reiterated, one more time, that he wouldn't negotiate.

"We've got divided government," Boehner continued. "Democrats control the White House and the Senate. Republicans control the House. We sent four different proposals to our Democratic colleagues in the Senate. They rejected all of them.

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"All we're asking for here is a discussion and fairness for the American people under Obamacare," Boehner said. "I would hope that the president and my Democratic colleagues in the Senate would listen to the American people and sit down and have a serious discussion about resolving these differences."

The continued stalemate guaranteed that the federal government would remain shut down for a third day on Thursday. The shutdown took effect at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, furloughing as many as 800,000 federal employees, though others remained on the job to provide essential services.

The shutdown is the first for the federal government in 17 years. The last time was for a total of 28 days intermittently between November 1995 and January 1996.

Moments after Boehner left, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi left the White House talks, which lasted slightly more than an hour.

Both charged that Boehner remained insistent on using the shutdown and budget crisis to try to delay or defund Obamacare.

"Obamacare is another Social Security program, another Medicare program," Reid said outside the White House. "We are locked in tight on Obamacare."

Pelosi said it was important to take the coming discussions about raising the nation's borrowing capacity "off the table" in any discussions linked to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

"For the good of order, for the confidence of the American people, we should take the debt ceiling off the table," the California Democrat said. "Let's just take that off the table, because that's just dangerous."

Obama summoned the congressional leaders to the White House to try to negotiate a solution to ending the government shutdown. The impasse over Obamacare, whose individual mandate took effect Tuesday, continued to divide the parties.

Democrats also have blasted — calling them "piecemeal" — efforts by House Republicans to fund specific parts of the government during the shutdown, including providing pay for military personnel and financing the National Institutes of Health so cancer patients could continue getting specialized treatment.

ObamaCare: You Can Win With The Facts

Reid said after the session that Obama was "strong, strong, strong" in declaring that the United States would not default on its credit obligations in the fight to defund or dismantle his signature healthcare law.

"The president of the United States was very strong, strong, strong," Reid said. "He said, 'This has never happened before.' The president said that he would not stand for that. We are where we are."

Though Boehner did not take questions outside the White House, he later said: “Republicans continue to listen to the American people and take steps to keep critical parts of the government running. There’s nothing ‘piecemeal’ about making sure Americans have access to all of their national parks, or continuing lifesaving cancer research."

"Instead of threatening to veto these bills as part of a scorched-earth strategy, the president should back them just as he did our military pay bill," Boehner added. "We will pass additional emergency measures in the coming days as we wait for President Obama and Senate Democrats to drop their refusal to negotiate.

"The sooner they do, the sooner we can resolve our differences and address our country’s challenges," the speaker said.

Though it would do relatively little damage to the world's largest economy in the short term, global markets could be roiled if Congress also fails to raise the debt limit before borrowing authority runs out in coming weeks.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has said the United States will exhaust its borrowing authority no later than Oct. 17.

The government could have difficulty paying pension checks, interest charges and other bills after that point.

Just hours before the White House meeting, Obama told CNBC that he was "exasperated" by the shutdown, but he reiterated that he would not negotiate with Republicans until they passed legislation to reopen the government without affecting Obamacare.

"Am I exasperated?" he asked in the interview. "Absolutely. I'm exasperated. Because this is entirely unnecessary. I am exasperated with the idea that, unless I say to 20 million people, 'You can't have health insurance,' these folks will not reopen the government. That is irresponsible."

The U.S. Army's top general said the shutdown was significantly harming daily operations, and intelligence leaders say it is undermining their ability to monitor threats.

A Federal Reserve official said it could delay the central bank's ability to assess whether its monetary stimulus efforts are still needed.

The uncertainty in Washington has forced Obama to scale back a trip to Asia that was designed to reinforce U.S. commitment to the region.

Urgent: Do You Support Sen. Ted Cruz's Efforts to Defund Obamacare? Vote Here.

Obama scuttled two stops on a planned four-country tour, and left visits to two other countries up in the air. He was due to leave on Saturday and return a week later.

Secretary of State John Kerry instead will visit Malaysia and the Philippines. Obama is considering whether to attend diplomatic summits in Indonesia and Brunei, a White House official said.

Despite the shutdown, Republicans have failed to derail Obamacare, which on Tuesday began signing up uninsured Americans for subsidized health coverage.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.


 

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