Obama: We Can't Make Extortion Routine as Part of Our Democracy

Posted: Oct 08, 2013 2:46 PM

Speaking to reporters Tuesday at the White House, President Obama revealed he called House Speaker John Boehner and said he is willing to negotiate as soon as Republicans end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling.

"If Congress refuses to raise what is called the debt ceiling, America would not be able to meet its financial obligations for the first time in 225 years," Obama said. "Raising our debt ceiling does not add to debt."

Obama took the opportunity in front of the press to berate Republicans and implied Tea Party Republicans want to default on debt. Obama also compared tax reform and compromise on a debt ceiling hike to Xboxes.

"They have decided to run out the clock resulting in a government shutdown," Obama said. "That is not how our government is supposed to run."

House Republicans have passed more than a dozen bills funding different aspects of the government, and all of them have been rejected by the Democrat-controlled Senate.

"Let's end this shutdown right now, let's put people back to work," Obama said. "A vote could take place today and then serious negotiations can proceed around every item in the budget."

Obama ended his prepared remarks by attempting to reassure Republicans he is willing to compromise and work with the House on entitlement reform. He also said he is open to the passing of short term continuing resolutions funding the government in its entirety.

"We can't make extortion routine as part of our democracy," Obama said. "We're not going to pay ransom on US paying bills."

During the questioning period, Obama gave a stern message to Boehner, urging him to allow a vote on the issue. "Put it on the floor. See what happens. At minimum, let every member of Congress be on record."

CBS News White House Correspondent Mark Knoller asked the president about the piecemeal funding bills, asking if he was "tempted" to sign bills that would return funding to programs such as FEMA. Obama responded that "If there's no political heat, then nothing happens," regarding the budget issue. He also claimed that less publicized agencies would left out of smaller funding bills.

Obama was not asked about any of the numerous issues with the roll-out of Obamacare.

Christine Rousselle contributed to this post.

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