Speaking at a small business just outside of Washington on Thursday, Obama said Boehner is preventing a vote on a funding bill because he doesn’t want to anger “extremists” in his party.
“The problem we’ve got is that there’s one faction of one party, in one half of one branch of government that’s so far has refused to allow that yes or no vote unless they get some massive partisan concessions in exchange for doing what they’re supposed to do anyway,” Obama said.
The president is calling on Boehner to quickly hold a vote on a bill free of extra demands. The president met with Boehner and other congressional leaders at the White House for more than an hour Wednesday, but no agreement was reached.
“My simple message today is call a vote,” Obama said. “Put it on the floor and let every individual member of Congress make up their own minds.”
Obama said the longer the shutdown goes on, the worse the impact on the U.S. economy will be.
Meanwhile, a new CBS News poll shows that a large majority of Americans disapprove of the shutdown and more are blaming Republicans than Obama and the Democrats for it.
Seventy-two percent of Americans disapprove of shutting down the federal government over differences on the Affordable Care Act; just 25 percent approve of this action.
Republicans are divided: 48 percent approve, while 49 percent disapprove. Most tea party supporters approve of the government shutdown at 57 percent.
Disapproval of the shutdown is high among Democrats and independents.
The CBS News poll was conducted by telephone Oct. 1-2, 2013 among 1,021 adults nationwide.
SMALL BUSINESS WOES IN THE BIG APPLE, GARDEN STATE
As lawmakers bicker over the shutdown, their inaction is already affecting Main Street.
Maria Luis is a long-time employee of Ward’s Coffee Shop in Newark.
“It’s packed all the time, but now it’s very, very, very bad,” Luis said.
Steps away from the federal building, the shop relies on government workers for business. But with thousands of them off the job, times aren’t so sweet.
“Since this happened, we’ve lost a lot of customers, over a thousand customers,” Luis said.
In Manhattan, restaurants around Federal Plaza are also feeling the pinch. The lunch line at one food stand normally stretches down the block, but not anymore, CBS 2’s Don Champion reported.
“Nobody is coming to eat. It’s hitting us hard,” a food stand worker said.
Champion then went to Foley Square during lunch time, but even during beautiful fall weather it wasn’t even filled. Business owners in the area said part of the problem with the shutdown and lack of foot traffic is every day they have such a short window of opportunity to make money.”
Mario Martone runs Worth Cafe and estimated a 30-percent drop in sales. He said he’s now trying new ways of cooking up business.
“I’ve lowered my prices. I have a couple guys on the corner trying to promote business,” Martone said.
Martone called it all a double whammy, after already taking a hit in recent months during federal worker furloughs. It’s left him not only unsure about the future but also angered at lawmakers.
“It’s like two kids — two children – fighting. It’s terrible. It really is terrible,” Martone said.
“It’s bad for everybody. It’s bad,” Luis added.
The stalemate in Washington is creating a ripple effect of strain.
EX-N.J. GOVS SLAM LACK OF BIPARTISAN HARMONY
A 7-foot bronze statue of former New Jersey Gov. Brendan Byrne was unveiled Thursday at the Essex County Courthouse in Newark.
Many of the state’s former governors were on hand to honor the Democratic governor, who served from 1974 to 1982.
The former governors noted the irony of the timing of the dedication of the statue coinciding with the third day of the federal government shutdown.
Former Gov. Tom Kean, a Republican, said his Democratic colleague crossed the aisle to make his policies work.
“You look back at them, every single one of them was bipartisan,” Kean told WCBS 880’s Levon Putney.
He said members of Congress should find a way to compromise.
“He set the kind of an example that of course some of our friends in Washington should be looking at today,” said Kean. “We argue and argue and yet we’re the best of friends. And that’s how you should be in government.”
Former Democratic Gov. Jim McGreevey also lamented the federal government shutdown.
“It’s such a tragedy what’s happening in Washington, but it’s about the interests of the country. It’s not about the interests of our future or our children. It’s all about who’s winning debate points,” said McGreevey. “It’s wrong on so many levels.”
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