President Barack Obama reiterated Monday afternoon he will not accept a government funding proposal to avert a potential government shutdown Tuesday that would defund any of his health care reform law. House Republicans have similarly refused to approve legislation that does anything but.
Obama, however, used his bully pulpit to give a final warning about the dire impacts a shutdown could have on the still recovering economy and place the blame squarely on Republicans.
"It does not have to happen…if the House chooses to do what the Senate has already done and that's the simple act of funding our government without making extraneous and controversial demands in the process," Obama said.
Instead, the president said, conservatives elected in 2010 and 2012 on anti-Affordable Care Act promises are willing to risk the country's economic well-being to "save face after making impossible promises to the extreme right wing of their party."
"An important part of the Affordable Care Act takes effect tomorrow, no matter what Congress decides to do today," Obama said. "The Affordable Care Act is moving forward, that funding is already in place, you can't shut it down."
Obama detailed how the shutdown would be implemented, reassuring seniors that Social Security checks and Medicare services would continue, and that mail would continue to be delivered. National security would be at full capacity, troops would continue to serve as well as air traffic controllers, prison guards and border security. But their paychecks would be delayed and other vital services, such as veteran care, would be limited.
"Business owners would see delays in raising capital, seeking infrastructure permits or rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy," Obama warned. "A shutdown will have a very real economic impact on real people, right away. Past shutdowns have disrupted the economy significantly, this one would, too."
Republicans have argued Obamacare is a job killer than will have its own vastly detrimental effects on the economy, but Obama chastised them for their position.
"The idea of putting the American peoples' hard earned [recovery] efforts at risk is the height of irresponsibility," he said.
The last federal government shutdown took place 17 years ago and lasted 21 days. Recent polls show Americans splitting the blame for the Capitol Hill squabbling between Obama and Congress, but also in large agreement that a shutdown will be a bad thing.