Boehner: House will not pass bill to re-open government until Obama agrees to negotiate

Posted by Anita Kumar on October 6, 2013 

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Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), left, and President Barack Obama on good terms in 2011

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Speaker John Boehner said Sunday that the House of Representatives will not pass bills to re-open the federal government or raise the debt limit unless President Barack Obama comes to the negotiating table.

“He knows what my phone number is, all he has to do is call,” Boehner, R-Ohio said on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos.

In his first extended TV interview since shutdown Tuesday, a defiant Boehner placed the blame for the fiscal impasse firmly on Obama, who has refused to sit down with House Republicans until they re-open the government at current spending levels.

"The president just can’t sit there and say, ‘I’m not going to negotiate,' " Boehner said.

Boehner said that there aren't enough votes in the Republican-led House to simply re-open the government with no other strings attached.

"There are not votes in the House to pass a clean (continuing resolution)," he said.

But Democrats immediately called that claim false, arguing that 195 Democrats and 21 Republicans are ready to vote for that bill.

"Put it on the floor, and let's see if you're right," Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. said in an interview on ABC after Boehner spoke.

The speaker said he worked with members to come up with the strategy to tie government funding to a delay of the new health care law, dubbed Obamacare, large portions of which went into effect Tuesday. But some members of even his own party say that Boehner is moving forward on a path he opposes at the behest of conservative Republicans.

"I, in working with my members decided to this, in a unified way," he said.

Boehner called Obamacare "a law the American people do not want and cannot afford" and said House members decided to "take a stand."

"Providing fairness to the American people under Obamacare is all we’re asking for," he said.

Congress must raising the debt ceiling before an Oct. 17 deadline when the nation is expected to exhaust its borrowing authority. If it does not, the United States would default for the first time in history.

"That’s the path we’re on," Boehner said. "We are not going to pass a clean debt limit...The votes are not in the House."

Boehner said Obama must be willing to negotiate over the debt ceiling -- which he has said he will not do.

"His refusal to negotiate is putting our country at risk," he said. "The debt limit is right around the corner. The president is saying, 'I won’t negotiate, I won’t have a conversation.'

"The American people expect when we have a crisis in Washington their leaders to sit down," he said. "There may be a back room but there's no one in it."

Boehner accused Obama of saying "it's my way or the highway."

"It's time for us to sit down and have a conversation," he said.

How is the going to end?

"It's going to end with negotiation," Boehner said.

When is this going to end?

“If I knew, I’d tell you,” Boehner said.

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