Fox News on October 8, 2013, reported that House Speaker John Boehner dismissed President Obama’s position on the fiscal crisis as “not sustainable”, only hours after Obama held a non-press conference to say he was willing to compromise but not negotiate. Excerpts below:
“What the president said today was, if there’s unconditional surrender by Republicans, he’ll sit down and talk with us. That’s not the way our government works,” Boehner said.
The speaker said he wants conversations about spending cuts to start “now,” not “next week” or “next month.”
[The Republicans] demand is that they get some concessions — like spending cuts — in exchange for passing a spending bill and raising the debt ceiling.
Boehner’s appeal was for Democrats to simply come to the negotiating table.
“It’s time for us to just sit down and resolve our differences,” Boehner said. “There’s no boundaries here. There’s nothing on the table, there’s nothing off the table.”
Obama said he’s willing to talk with Republicans about “almost anything” — once the impasse is over.
The remarks showed Obama digging in on his position that he will not negotiate until the current pair of fiscal stand-offs is over.
Earlier in the day, Obama called Boehner merely to “reiterate” that he will not negotiate. “The president called the speaker again today to reiterate that he won’t negotiate on a government funding bill or debt limit increase,” Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck.
A statement from the White House clarified that Obama “is willing to negotiate” — once Republicans approve the budget and debt-ceiling increase.
House Republicans are introducing a bill that would create the negotiations Boehner is calling for. The bill would set up a team of House and Senate lawmakers from both parties to immediately start talks on the debt ceiling and other fiscal issues. The bill would also ensure pay for so-called “essential” government employees who are working through the partial shutdown.
“In a divided government, the American people expect us to work together,” House Republican Leader Eric Cantor said.
The White House threatened a veto of both measures.
Though the partial shutdown was initially triggered by disagreements over a budget bill — and Republicans’ demand that it include changes to ObamaCare — lawmakers are shifting their focus to an Oct. 17 deadline to raise the debt ceiling.
Boehner and other GOP leaders are demanding spending cuts in exchange for raising that limit. But on this, as well as the budget, Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid say they will not negotiate.
Reid, though, said he would negotiate down the road.
Democrats controlling the Senate, meanwhile, plan to move quickly toward a vote to allow the government to borrow more money, challenging Republicans to a filibuster showdown as the time remaining to stop a first-ever default on U.S. obligations ticks by.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.