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Obama: US Has Always Paid Its Bills

President Barack Obama tried to reassure the world Tuesday that the United States has always paid its bills, as the country faces a deadline to raise the debt ceiling.

Mr. Obama told journalists Tuesday that remarks from Congress indicating a debt default may not damage the world economic recovery make investors nervous. He called on Congress to hold a clean vote on raising the debt ceiling -- a vote with no other issues attached.

Mr. Obama also appealed to Congress to pass a clean spending bill and reopen the government -- now in its second week of a shutdown.

Republican House Speaker John Boehner said he is disappointed the president is refusing to negotiate on the debt limit or a spending bill. He said this is not the American system of government.

Boehner said the debt limit has always been fair game for bargaining, and he said the United States cannot keep spending money it does not have.

Mr. Obama said again he will not negotiate under threat.

The president said the economic consequences of defaulting on the debt would be "dramatically worse" than the government shutdown. He said it would disrupt markets and undermine the world's confidence in the United States as the bedrock of the global economy.

The U.S. Treasury expects to exhaust its remaining borrowing capacity under the current $16.7 trillion limit by October 17.

The U.S. government shut down all but essential services on October 1 when Congress could not pass a funding bill. House Republicans insist on defunding the president's signature health care initiative. Hundreds of thousands of government workers are still furloughed and many important services remain unavailable.


"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.'"


"So the president's position that 'Listen, we're not going to sit down and talk to you until you surrender' is just not sustainable. It's just not our system of government. When it comes to the debt limit, I agree with the president. We should pay our bills. I didn't come here to shut down the government. I certainly didn't come here to default on our debt."

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