After a disagreeable phone call with Speaker John A. Boehner on the budget impasse, President Obama Saturday accused House Republicans of trying to “plunge this country back into a recession” in their battle with the president over Obamacare.
In his weekly address, Mr. Obama blamed the gridlock on “a faction on the far right of the Republican party who’ve convinced their leadership to threaten a government shutdown if they can’t shut off the Affordable Care Act.”
“Some are actually willing to plunge America into default if they can’t defund the Affordable Care Act,” Mr. Obama said. “Think about that. They’d actually plunge this country back into recession — all to deny the basic security of health care to millions of Americans.”
The president called Mr. Boehner Friday night after the House approved a stopgap funding bill to keep government open while blocking all funding for Obamacare. An aide to Mr. Boehner said the call was “brief” and the two men disagreed about House Republicans’ intention to link an increase in the nation’s borrowing limit with other budget issues, including health care.
“The president called the speaker … to tell him he wouldn’t negotiate with him on the debt limit,” the Boehner aide said. “Given the long history of using debt limit increases to achieve bipartisan deficit reduction and economic reforms, the speaker was disappointed but told the president that the two chambers of Congress will chart the path ahead.”
The House vote set up a showdown next week with Senate Democrats and the administration over a possible government shutdown on Sept. 30, when funding for the current fiscal year expires.
Mr. Obama said in the weekly address that he won’t allow the country to default on its obligations.
“That’s not happening. And they know it’s not happening,” he said of the GOP. “The United States of America is not a deadbeat nation. We are a compassionate nation. We are the world’s bedrock investment. And doing anything to threaten that is the height of irresponsibility. That’s why I will not negotiate over the full faith and credit of the United States.”
The president said Washington is “running out of time to fix this,” but said the solution is simple.
“We could fix it tomorrow,” Mr. Obama said. “Both houses of Congress can take a simple vote to pay our bills on time, then work together to pass a budget on time.”