Obama: GOP Trying to 'Extort' Him on Budget

President tells business leaders Republicans are behaving irresponsibly over threat to defund Obamacare.

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President Barack Obama addressed budgetary concerns on Monday, Sept. 16. A CBO report out Tuesday says U.S. debt will increase to 100 percent of GDP by 2035 under current policy.
President Barack Obama addressed budgetary concerns on Monday, Sept. 16. A CBO report out Tuesday says U.S. debt will increase to 100 percent of GDP by 2035 under current policy.

As his confrontation intensifies with congressional Republicans over the budget and a possible government shutdown, President Obama and his allies are ratcheting up their attacks on the GOP for blocking compromise. This is part of a White House effort to get the upper hand in the blame game if the government does suspend some operations because of a budget stalemate.

It's the intransigence of majority Republicans in the House that threatens to cause a fiscal default and endanger an economic recovery, Obama told the Business Roundtable, a group of top business leaders, on Wednesday. He was referring to GOP opposition to raising the government's debt ceiling unless Obama's health care law is repealed or defunded.

[READ: Will Obamacare Affect Medicare? Myths and Facts]

"You have never in the history of the United States seen the threat of not raising the debt ceiling to extort a president or a governing party," Obama said. "It's irresponsible."

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters, "House Republicans have decided to pursue a path away from the center, away from compromise, in favor of voting on a piece of legislation that they know will not become law," a reference to voiding the health care law. Carney said the House GOP has a responsibility to "fund the government" and not to "inflict another unnecessary wound on our economy just as it's continuing to grow and continuing to create jobs."

President Barack Obama addressed budgetary concerns on Monday, Sept. 16. A CBO report out Tuesday says U.S. debt will increase to 100 percent of GDP by 2035 under current policy.
President Barack Obama addressed budgetary concerns on Monday, Sept. 16. A CBO report out Tuesday says U.S. debt will increase to 100 percent of GDP by 2035 under current policy.

Asked how much Obama will remain engaged on the issue, Carney said, "He'll be in the fray until Congress does the right thing."

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  • Ken Walsh covers the White House and politics for U.S. News. He writes the daily blog "Ken Walsh's Washington" for usnews.com and "The Presidency" column for the U.S. News Weekly. He is the author of the new book "Prisoners of the White House: The Isolation of America's Presidents and the Crisis of Leadership." Ken Walsh can be reached at kwalsh@usnews.com and on Facebook and Twitter.