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article imageObama to GOP: End 'threats' before we will negotiate

By Yukio Strachan     Oct 8, 2013 in Politics
Washington - President Barack Obama on Tuesday said he is more than willing to negotiate on budget issues but not until Republicans agree to re-open the federal government and eliminate the threat of default — with no strings attached.
Standing his ground, Obama said Congress had two basic jobs — passing a budget and "making sure that America's paying its bills."
"You don't get to say 'Unless you give me what the voters rejected in the last election I will cause a recession,'" he said in the 14 minute White House press conference (watch the video above).
"Imagine if a Democratic Congress threatened to crash the global economy unless a Republican president agreed to gun background checks or immigration reform. I think it's fair to say that Republicans would not think that was appropriate," Obama added.
"I'm ready to head up to the Hill and try. I'll even spring for dinner again," he quipped. "But I'm not going to do it until the more extreme parts of the Republican Party stop forcing John Boehner to issue threats about our economy. We can't make extortion routine as part of our democracy.... And this is not just for me. It's also for my successors in office. Whatever party they're from, they shouldn't have to pay a ransom either for Congress doing its basic job. We've got to put a stop to it."
Boehner "disappointed" by Obama
According to ABC, shortly after Obama's press conference, Boehner responded with one of his own saying he was "disappointed" by the president's approach.
"What the president said today was, if there is unconditional surrender by Republicans, he'll sit down and talk to us. That's not the way our government works," said Boehner
At the same time, according to CNN, Boehner said he's "hopeful" top Republicans and Democrats could soon begin a "conversation."
"There's going to be a negotiation here," the Ohio Republican said. "We can't raise the debt ceiling without doing something about what's driving it to borrow more money and live beyond our means."
While Boehner didn't indicate any points of agreement, a senior House Republican told CNN that GOP members may be willing to go for a short-term debt ceiling hike -- lasting four to six weeks -- as long as the president agrees negotiations will take place during that time.
In the new ABC News/Washington Post poll 70 percent disapprove of the way Republicans are handling these negotiations, up 7 points from a week ago.
Obama spoke a day after China, which is sitting on a vast pile of US Treasury bonds, warned that the time was running out for the United States to prove its creditworthiness and the credibility of the world's reserve currency, AFP reported.
If the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling is not raised by October 17, the United States will be unable to borrow more money and will begin defaulting on its obligations, in a scenario that could tip the economy back into recession and trigger global chaos, AFP writes.
The president said that a default would be, in the words of economists he quoted, "insane, catastrophic, chaos."
'There's no way to default'
But not everyone is convinced about the prospect of a first-ever default.
"There's no way to default. There is enough money coming into the Treasury to pay interest and roll over principal," said Representative Justin Amash of Michigan, a favorite of the smaller-government Tea Party wing of the Republican Party, according to Reuters.
Asked about warnings of catastrophic consequences if the debt limit is not increased, Amash told reporters: "I say it's patently not true what they are saying."
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