News / USA

Obama: Willing to Negotiate When Government Reopens

President Barack Obama in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, Oct. 1, 2013.
President Barack Obama in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, Oct. 1, 2013.
President Barack Obama says he is prepared to negotiate on all issues only after he gets a clean spending bill -- one with no attachments -- that reopens the government.

Just before a planned White House meeting with Congressional leaders, Obama told CNBC television that he has bent over backwards to work with the Republicans.

He says he is exasperated because he says the government shutdown is totally unnecessary.

The president said no president can govern effectively if he allows extremists from either party to extort concessions. He appealed to House Speaker John Boehner to bring a clean spending bill to the floor for a vote, saying a majority is there.

The U.S. government shut down at midnight Monday after Democrats refused to pass Republican spending bills that would defund or postpone the president's signature health care program.

The House of Representatives is holding a series of votes on measures to restore funding to some parts of the government, while other services and offices stay closed. Even if the measures pass the Republican-led House, Senate Democrats likely will reject them.

More than 800,000 U.S. federal workers have been laid off and national parks and many federal agencies are closed. The government shutdown is not affecting Voice of America broadcasts, but it has closed Smithsonian museums and services like tax offices, help for veterans, and some food aid for the poor.

The U.S. government shutdown also is forcing President Obama to cancel stops in Malyasia and the Philippines during his trip to Asia starting Saturday. But VOA White House correspondent Dan Robinson says Mr. Obama still plans to visit Indonesia and Brunei for the APEC and East Asia summits.

Implementation of the Affordable Care Act, nicknamed "Obamacare," went ahead as scheduled Tuesday. It is intended to provide health insurance coverage to millions of Americans who otherwise cannot afford or get coverage.

Republican opponents of Obamacare say it forces people, including small businesses, to buy expensive insurance policies against their will, hurting the economy.

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