Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Obama pressures Boehner over shutdown

09 October 2013, 09:01

Washington - President Barack Obama stepped up pressure on Tuesday on the top House Republican to hold votes to reopen the federal government and prevent a potentially disastrous US government default.

Obama spoke to reporters at the White House a few hours after calling House Speaker John Boehner and urging him to drop demands that the votes be tied to Republican demands for dismantling Obama's health care law and cutting federal spending.

The US government has been partially shut for eight days because of Congress' failure to pass a normally routine temporary spending bill. Obama also wants Congress to extend the government's borrowing authority, warning that if it fails to do so by 17 October, the United States will not be able to pay its bills.

Obama said he is willing to negotiate with Republicans, but not under the threat of "economic chaos".

The separate issue of a possible US default on its loan obligations has begun to overshadow the dispute that has partially shut down the government.

Although nothing concrete has been offered, House Republicans did float broad hints on Tuesday that they might be willing to pass short-term legislation to reopen the government and avert the default in exchange for immediate talks with the Obama administration on reducing deficits and changing the three-year-old health care law.

At the White House a few hours later, President Barack Obama said he was "absolutely willing" to hold talks on those terms.

"If reasonable Republicans want to talk about any of these things again, I'm ready to head up to the Hill and try," he said.

Democrats in the Senate planned to unveil a measure as early as Tuesday that was expected to permit $1 trillion or more in new borrowing above the current $16.7 trillion debt ceiling that the administration says will be hit on 17 October.

But Republicans have said they want changes to Obama's signature health care law in exchange for reopening the government. They have said they want spending cuts in exchange for raising the debt limit.

Meanwhile, some 350 000 civilian Defence Department workers were summoned back to work on Monday as the result of legislation Congress passed and Obama signed after the shutdown began. Other agencies, like Nasa and the Environmental Protection Agency, remain mostly shuttered.

An estimated 450 000 federal workers are idled at agencies responsible for items as diverse as food inspection and national parks, although all employees are eventually expected to receive full back pay.

That left an estimated 450 000 federal employees idle at agencies responsible for domestic programs, ranging from the Departments of Education to Energy, and including Labor, Health and Human Services, Interior, Transportation and more.

The events unfolded as the stock market sank for the second day in a row. And in the latest in a string of dire global warnings, the International Monetary Fund said failure to raise America's $16.7 trillion borrowing limit later this month could lead to a government default that might disrupt worldwide financial markets, raise interest rates and push the U.S economy back into recession.

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has said that on 17 October, the government will exhaust its ability to borrow funds and will have to rely day-to-day on tax and other receipts to pay its bills.

Some Republicans have downplayed the significance of the deadline, saying that even then, the United States would be able to pay China and other holders of US debt.

But Obama said they were badly misguided, warning that default would harm the economy, cause retirement accounts to shrivel and houses to lose value.

Other Republicans have made it clear in recent days they agree with the threat posed by default and are determined to prevent it.

"I suspect we can work out a mechanism to raise the debt ceiling while a negotiation is under way," said Republican Tom Cole, who is close to Speaker John Boehner.

The shutdown began more than a week ago after Obama and Senate Democrats rejected Republican demands to defund "Obamacare", then to delay it, and finally to force a one-year delay in the requirement for individuals to purchase health care coverage or face a financial penalty.

It was not a course Boehner and the leadership had recommended - preferring a less confrontational approach and hoping to defer a showdown for the debt limit. Their hand was forced by a strategy advanced by Texas Senator Ted Cruz and conservative tea party-aligned House members determined to eradicate the health care law before it fully took root.

- AP


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...