Obama to Republicans: Pass a budget

Anita Kumar

President Barack Obama sought to put pressure on Republican lawmakers to come to a deal to keep the federal government running in an impromptu speech at the White House Friday afternoon.

Obama accused Republicans of just trying to appease the tea party and of playing politics because they are opposed to the new federal health care law, which goes into effect next week.

"So far the Republicans in House of Representatives have refused to move forward," Obama said.

"No one gets to hurt our economy….just bcause there are some laws you don’t like," he said.

Obama said his message is: "Do not shut the government, do not shut down the economy...Pay our bills on time."

Obama's made his brief remarks from the White House after it became increasingly clear that the Democratic-controlled Senate and Republican-controlled House are heading toward a showdown just days before the end of the fiscal year.

The House last week approved a stopgap budget that defunds the 2010 health care law, one of Obama's signature policies from his first term term. The Senate on Friday passed a budget that would keep the government open past while restoring health care funding.

Obama praised the Senate for its vote. He did not answer reporters' questions.

If Congress and the White House fail to agree on a deal to pay the nation’s bills after Monday, the government would partially shut down Tuesday.

That could mean Social Security payments and passport and visa applications could be delayed. The National Institutes of Health could stop accepting patients for research. National parks, museums and monuments could close.

"If Congress chooses not to pass a budget by Monday, the end of the fiscal year, they will shut down the government along with many vital services that the American people depend on," he said.

He urged Republicans "to think about who you're hurting" by letting the government shut down, and said "it would throw a wrench into the gears of our economy at a time when those gears have gained some traction."

Shutting down the government, Obama said, would have a "profound destabilizing effect on the economy, the world economy and world investment...That’s why you don’t fool with it."

"I am willing to work with anyone who wants to have a seriously conversation about our fiscal future," he said.

Anita Kumar
McClatchy Washington Bureau