U.S. President Barack Obama is criticizing Republican lawmakers for allowing a government shutdown and threatening to let the U.S. default on its debts, saying such actions hurt the nation's credibility around the world.
Speaking to reporters Tuesday at the White House, President Obama said he reiterated to House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner he is happy to negotiate with Republicans, but only after the shutdown and debt default threats are removed.
"The point is I think not only the White House, but also Democrats in the Senate and Democrats in the House, have shown more than ample willingness to talk about any issues that the Republicans are concerned about. But we can not do it if the entire basis of the Republican strategy is, 'we're going to shut down the government or cause economic chaos if we don't get 100 percent of what we want.'"
Mr. Obama says the economic consequences of defaulting on the debt would be "dramatically worse" than the government shutdown.
President Obama said such a decision would disrupt markets, undermine the world's confidence in the United States as the bedrock of the global economy. But he said his "message to the world is the U.S. has always paid its bills and will do so again.
Now entering its second week, the partial U.S. government shutdown began when Congress could not pass a bill to extend government funding. House Republicans insisted on attaching a provision to the budget to repeal or reform President Obama's signature health care law.
Hundreds of thousands of government workers are still furloughed and many important services remain unavailable.
After a meeting with House Republicans Tuesday, Boehner said they would insist on deficit-reduction negotiations with Mr. Obama as a condition for raising the federal debt limit. Boehner said the talks would be "wide open," saying, "There is nothing on the table, there is nothing off the table."
President Obama called Boehner later, urging him to allow a vote on legislation to end the shutdown. The president called for a vote to raise the debt limit with what the White House describes as "no ideological strings attached."
The U.S. Treasury expects to exhaust its remaining borrowing capacity under the current $16.7 trillion cap by October 17.