Obama On Government Shutdown: ‘It Does Not Have To Happen’
WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork/AP) – The White House’s budget office said just before midnight Monday night that it was notifying federal agencies that the government will shut down Tuesday.
Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, said late Monday in a memorandum to agency heads that there was no indication Congress would approve a short-term funding measure before the midnight deadline. She said federal agencies should execute their plans for an orderly shutdown.
Earlier, President Barack Obama warned that a government shutdown would have a devastating effect on the nation’s economy, and would be detrimental to “all of us.”
“The idea of putting America’s hard-earned progress at risk is the height of irresponsibility, and it doesn’t have to happen. Let me repeat this – it does not have to happen,” Obama said.
He said the House only has to fund the government without including “extraneous and controversial” conditions such as delaying the Affordable Care Act.
Obama noted that the provisions of the Affordable Care Act will take effect on Tuesday regardless of whether the government shuts down. He said it is already in place, and “you can’t shut it down.”
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He said he is always willing to work with anyone of any party to improve the economy and make government work better, but “one faction of one party in one house of Congress, in one branch of government, doesn’t get to shut down the entire government just to re-fight the results of an election.”
He said part of Congress’ job is to fund government and keep it running, and the House needs to do so.
“You don’t get to extract a ransom for doing your job,” Obama said.
But if no agreement is reached, the effects will be felt by every American, Obama said.
Social Security checks will still be cut, and Medicare patients will still be allowed to see their doctors, Obama said. Mail will still be delivered, and national security will go on.
But paychecks will be delayed for troops, air traffic controllers, prison guards, and border patrol agents. Office buildings will close, services to seniors, women, children and businesses will be “hamstrung,” and business owners will be furloughed, he said.
“They will be hurt greatly, and by consequence, all of us will be hurt greatly should Congress choose to shut the government down,” Obama said.
He added that a shutdown would “throw a wrench into the gears of our economy as the economy is gaining traction.”
Obama followed up his public remarks with phone calls to House Speaker John Boehner and the three other top leaders of Congress, telling Republicans he would continue to oppose attempts to delay or cut federal financing of the health care law.
Boehner (R-Ohio) responded a few hours later on the House floor. “The American people don’t want a shutdown and neither do I,” he said. Yet, he added, the new health care law “is having a devastating impact. Something has to be done.”
Not all Republicans are on board with allowing a shutdown. Late Monday, Long Island U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said he would not be going along with his GOP colleagues.
“I’m gonna vote against it. I have to vote against it. All we’re doing is leading ourselves into a government shutdown for no good reason,” King said. “We’ve been hijacked by Ted Cruz, and by a segment of this party that has prevented us from keeping the government open.”