House Speaker John Boehner drew the ire of President Barack Obama Thursday, during a speech in Rockville, Md., focused on the economic effects of the current federal government shutdown and the potential default if Congress doesn't agree to a debt ceiling increase soon before Oct. 17.
Obama and Boehner met Wednesday night at the White House, along with other Congressional leaders, but it's clear no movement was made in negotiating an end to the shutdown, now in Day Three.
"The only thing keeping the government shut down…is that Speaker John Boehner won't let the bill get a yes or no vote because he doesn't want to anger the extremists in his party," Obama said. "That's all. That's what this whole thing is about."
House Republicans have yet to agree to vote on a temporary funding bill that would open the doors of government while deeper negotiations on a more permanent budget measure take place because they insist on including a delay in funding for the president's signature domestic policy, the Affordable Care Act Democrats refuse.
Obama ramped up the rhetoric on Boehner, in a sign both sides remain entrenched in their positions. At this stage, it's unclear what will break the log jam, as some Republicans have acknowledged they just want to "get something out of it," though they're not sure what exactly that would be. Obama jumped on that statement, made by one House Republican and oft-repeated by Democrats, and mocked it.
"If you're being disrespected, it's because of that attitude you've got – that you deserve to get something for doing your job," he said, speaking at a small construction company. "If you're working here and in the middle of the day you just stopped and said, 'I want to get something, but I don't know exactly what I'm going to get, but I'm just going to stop working, I'm going to shut down the whole plant till I get something.' You'd get fired, right?"
Obama again made it clear not only is he declining to sign any legislation that attempts to dismantle Obamacare, he's not interested in negotiating on either re-starting the government or raising the debt ceiling, which has to be done by Oct. 17, according to the Treasury Department. He also warned the economic trauma from a default that could follow the government reaching its borrowing limit would far outstrip that of the current shutdown.
"I want you to understand the consequences of this – as reckless as a government shutdown is, as many people as are being hurt by a government shutdown, an economic shutdown that results from default would be dramatically worse," he said. He added that while Social Security and disability checks are still going out despite the shutdown, that would cease in a default. Pension and home values would also plummet and interest rates would increase – something he says the still fragile economy can't handle. Already, news outlets are reporting the stock market has taken a dive based on the congressional intransigence.
Following the White House meeting with congressional leadership Wednesday, Boehner painted Democrats as the side unwilling to negotiate a re-opening of the government.
"We've asked to go to conference to sit down and try to resolve our differences," he said. "They will not negotiate. We had a nice conversation, a polite conversation, but at some point, we have got to allow the process that our founders gave us to work out."
Boehner added, "All we're asking for here is a discussion and fairness for the American people under Obamacare."