WASHINGTON, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- With a government shutdown looming, U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday urged Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives to quickly approve a spending bill passed by Senate and raise the nation's debt ceiling to avoid a historic debt default.
"My message to Congress is this: Do not shut down the government. Do not shut down the economy. Pass a budget on time. Pay our bills on time. Refocus on the everyday concerns of the American people," Obama said at a White House press conference Friday hastily arranged after the Senate passed a short-term funding bill.
"If the government shuts down on Tuesday, military personnel -- including those risking their lives overseas for us right now -- will not get paid on time. Federal loans for rural communities, small business owners, families buying a home will be frozen," he told reporters.
Earlier Friday, U.S. Senate passed a stopgap spending bill to fund the federal government's operations from Oct. 1 to Nov. 15, which strips out a controversial provision that would defund Obama 's signature healthcare law, the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.
The bill has a shorter government funding length than the one passed by the House of Representatives last week, and it now moves to the Republican-led House for passage. The House passed on Sept. 20 a stopgap spending bill, which was championed by the conservatives to fund the government through Dec. 15 while prohibiting funding to implement Obamacare.
The House is scheduled to meet on Saturday to deliberate the Senate bill. The two chambers of Congress have until the end of Monday to pass legislation to avoid a government shutdown.
If the House takes up and passes the amended Senate bill this weekend, a government shutdown can be avoided. If the House alters the Senate bill significantly and attaches some controversial conditions to that, it's likely that the Senate will not have time to amend it again, increasing the likelihood of a government shutdown.
"The United States Congress has two pressing responsibilities: pass a budget on time, and pay our bills on time," Obama said.
The federal government will run out of cash on Tuesday unless Congress approves a spending bill to keep it open, and will default on its debts if the U.S. borrowing limit is not extended by Oct. 17.
As the deadlines to pass a government funding bill and raise the government's borrowing capacity draw near, GOP leaders decided to tie the implementation of Obamacare with the fiscal wrangle. Conservative Republican lawmakers aimed at using the must-pass spending bill as a vehicle to kill or weaken Obamacare.
"The House Republicans are so concerned with appeasing the tea party that they've threatened a government shutdown or worse unless I gut or repeal the Affordable Care Act," Obama said.
Failure to raise the debt limit will be "far more dangerous" than a government shutdown which will have global negative repercussions, Obama warned.
"The dollar is the reserve currency. The debt that is issued by the Treasury is the foundation for our capital markets. That's why you don't fool with it," Obama said.
U.S. stocks lost ground Friday amid mounting worries about a government shutdown.
"I will not negotiate over Congress's responsibility to pay the bills that have already been racked up. Voting for the Treasury to pay America's bills is not a concession to me. That's not doing me a favor. That's simply carrying out the solemn responsibilities that come with holding office up there," Obama said.
WASHINGTON, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday urged Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives to quickly approve a spending bill passed by Senate to avert a government shutdown. Full Story
WASHINGTON, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama Thursday defended his signature healthcare law as his Republican rivals endeavored to defund and delay the implementation of the law at the risk of a government shutdown, and the public remained wary of the law's impact. Full Story