WASHINGTON, Oct. 7 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday said he is willing to discuss the government budget with Republicans to end the partial government shutdown.
During a visit to the headquarters of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in Washington D.C., Obama said he is willing to engage with Republicans on talks involving any budget and fiscal issue.
"I have said from the start of the year that I'm happy to talk to Republicans about anything related to the budget. There's not a subject that I am not willing to engage in, work on, negotiate and come up with common sense compromises on," he said.
The U.S. federal government lurched into a shutdown after Congress failed to pass a funding bill before Oct. 1, the first day of the 2014 fiscal year. Republicans in the House were demanding changes to Obama's signature health care law, the Obamacare, in exchange for funding the government, which the White House opposes. The first government shutdown in 17 years has affected about 800,000 non-essential federal government workers.
However, Obama stressed that he cannot negotiate with Republicans under the threat of a debt default, urging Congress to reopen the government and raise the government's borrowing authority immediately. "What I've said is that I cannot do that under the threat that if Republicans don't get 100 percent of their way they're going to either shut down the government or they are going to default on America's debt, so that America, for the first time in history, does not pay its bills," Obama added.
Washington faces another fiscal deadline as U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has told Congress that the federal government will reach its debt ceiling of 16.7 trillion U.S. dollars by Oct. 17, and failure to raise it by U.S. Congress would lead to a catastrophic default. However, Democrats and Republicans have not found a way to end the fiscal logjam.
"We're not going to establish that pattern. We're not going to negotiate under the threat of further harm to our economy and middle-class families. We're not going to negotiate under the threat of a prolonged shutdown until Republicans get 100 percent of what they want," Obama said.
FEMA employees' jobs have been made "more difficult" and some government services have been interrupted due to the government shutdown, Obama noted.
WASHINGTON, Oct. 7 (Xinhua) -- As the fiscal stalemate over U.S. federal government's budget and borrowing authority lingers, there are positive signs on Monday that U.S. policy makers are mulling over a way out of the logjam.
U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday said he is willing to discuss the government budget and fiscal policy with Republicans to end the partial government shutdown. Full story