President Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden on Friday afternoon visited a downtown Washington sandwich shop to grab some lunch and also, they said, to show support for federal workers off the job because of the government shutdown.
Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden walked from the White House to Taylor Gourmet Deli on Pennsylvania Avenue, according to a pool reporter traveling with the president.
The commander-in-chief said they visited the sandwich shop because “we’re starving,” and also because the establishment is giving 10 percent discounts to any furloughed federal employee.
Many government workers have been off the job since 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, when the last fiscal year ended.
Before he ordered, Mr. Obama again called on House Republicans to pass a “clean” spending bill and reopen the government, adding that he’s willing to sit down and talk about the nation’s larger fiscal challenges — after Washington is up and running again.
“I’m happy to have negotiations, but we can’t do it with a gun held to the head of the American people,” Mr. Obama said.
He also said that “no one is winning” as long as federal workers aren’t on the job, dismissing the notion that either side could be scoring political points as a result of the shutdown.
After leaving the shop, Mr. Obama shook hands and chatted with bystanders outside.