An impassioned President Obama Thursday kept up the pressure on House Republicans to end the three-day-old government shutdown,appearing at a small construction company outside the capital to challenge Speaker John A Boehner to quit blocking a vote on federal spending.
This isnt happening because of some financial crisis. Its happening because of a reckless Republican shutdown in Washington, he said,to cheers and calls of Thats right! from the assembled construction workers at M Luis Construction,a company in Rockville,Md.,a suburb north of Washington.
Besides the well-publicized disruption of the shutdown for tourists,veterans,older people and children in Head Start,Obama added,Companies like this one worry that their businesses are going to be disrupted. The federal government provides $1 billion a month in loans to small businesses that now cannot be processed,he said.
The longer this goes on,the worse it will be, he said. And it makes no sense. The American people elected their representatives to make their lives easier,not harder.
He told his audience what even House Republicans have acknowledged: that if Boehner let the Republican-controlled House vote on a measure passed by the Democratic-controlled Senate to continue spending at current levels for two months,it would pass with support from most Democrats and some Republicans. But Republican leaders insist that Mr. Obama must agree to defund or delay his Affordable Care Act.
Speaker John Boehner wont even let the bill get a yes-or-no vote because he doesnt want to anger the extremists in his party, the president said. If the speaker allows a vote,Obama added,within minutes we can get back to the business of helping the American people.
Meanwhile,Boehner has told colleagues that he is determined to prevent a federal default and is willing to pass a measure through a combination of Republican and Democratic votes,according to one House Republican.
The lawmaker,who spoke on the condition of anonymity,said Boehner had said he would be willing to violate the so-called Hastert Rule if necessary to pass a debt-limit increase.
The informal rule refers to a policy of not bringing to the floor any measure that does not have a majority of Republican votes.
Other Republicans also said Thursday they got the sense that Boehner would do whatever was necessary to ensure that the country did not default on its debt.