As the federal government shutdown drags on, President Obama on Thursday held a campaign-style event at a suburban Maryland construction company, excoriating House Republicans for what he said was a "reckless" failure to negotiate a deal.
"Right now, hundreds of thousands of Americans, hardworking Americans, suddenly aren't receiving their paychecks. Right now they're worried about missing the rent or their mortgage or even making ends meet," Mr. Obama said, speaking from the M. Luis Construction Co. in Rockville. "The worst part is, this time it is not because of a once-in-a-lifetime recession. This isn't happening because of some financial crisis. It's happening because of a reckless Republican shutdown in Washington. ... The longer this goes on, the worse it will be."
Mr. Obama used the construction firm as an example of how ordinary Americans could be hurt by the shutdown, which is now in its third day.
In years past, the company relied on assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration, an arm of the federal government that provides nearly $2 billion in capital each month to small companies.
As a result of the shutdown, the SBA's 68 district offices across the country have been shuttered.
But Mr. Obama spent only a few moments on that subject. Much of his speech was designed to increase the pressure on House Republicans — and on GOP Speaker John A. Boehner in particular.
He again called on Mr. Boehner to defy the tea party members in his caucus and put on the House floor a "clean" spending bill, one that doesn't include measures to defund, repeal or delay the president's signature health care reform law.
Such a bill, Mr. Obama argued, could pass the House with bipartisan support.
"The only thing that is keeping the government shut down, the only thing preventing people from going back to work ... is that Speaker John Boehner won't even let the bill get a 'yes' or 'no' vote because he doesn't want to anger the extremists in his party. That's all. That's what this whole thing is about," Mr. Obama said.
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