President Barack Obama says Republicans tell him privately they would like to compromise on a budget to avoid a government shutdown but are fearful of conservative opposition.
"Sometimes they say to me privately, 'I agree with you, but I'm worried about a primary from somebody in the tea party back in my district,' or, 'I'm worried about what Rush Limbaugh is going to say about me on the radio. And so you've got to understand, it's really difficult.'" Obama told CNN's Chris Cuomo in an interview Friday
Congress and the White House must agree on a budget or a stopgap spending measure by Sept. 30 to avoid a government shutdown.
"If you are putting the American people first, if you are prioritizing them, then this shouldn't be that difficult," Obama said.
Some Republicans, including Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida, say GOP legislators should refuse to vote for any budget that includes funding for Obamacare, even if that leads to a government shutdown.
"Nobody thinks that's good for the middle class," Obama said, admitting that he is frustrated at the lack of progress on the budget front.
"I'm willing to do whatever it takes to get Congress — and Republicans in Congress in particular — to think less about politics and party and think more about what's good for the country," he said.
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