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September 27, 2013

Obama Calls on House to Keep Government Open

by VOA News

U.S. President Barack Obama is urging the House of Representatives to pass a budget to fund the government without cuts to his health care law.

Obama told White House reporters Friday that Republicans in the House should stop what he called "political grandstanding.''

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Republican John Boehner, accused the president of "grandstanding" himself, saying Obama has refused to even be part of the process.

The comments came hours after the Senate passed a temporary government spending measure that funds the health care law.

The House has passed its own version of a spending bill which defunds the law, known as the Affordable Care Act.

If the two houses of Congress cannot reach an agreement by Monday at midnight, there will be a partial government shutdown starting Tuesday, October 1.

Another deadline also looms - October 17 - when Congress must vote to increase the government's borrowing authority.  If no agreement is reached by the then, the United States could default on its debts for the first time ever.

Obama said Friday that a failure by Congress to increase the so-called "debt ceiling" would have a "profound destabilizing effect" on the U.S. and world economies.
 
Some Republican leaders fear a partial shutdown of the federal government would hurt the party's standing heading into next year's congressional elections.  A government shutdown in the mid-1990s, when Republicans controlled both houses of Congress, was followed by the re-election of then-president Bill Clinton in 1996.