Washington (AFP) – President Barack Obama said Wednesday he was “exasperated” by a government shutdown but would not negotiate with Republicans until they agree to fund federal operations with no conditions.
“Absolutely I am exasperated, because this is entirely unnecessary,” Obama said in an interview with CNBC.
Obama said the crisis could be solved quickly if House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner called a vote on a bill to fund the government, stripped of provisions designed to gut his health care bill which caused previous funding measures to die in the Senate.
He also called on Congress to vote to raise the US debt ceiling before the middle of the month, when the US government will run out of money to pay its bills in a scenario that could trigger a debt default.
“If and when … that vote takes place and the government reopens, and if and when they vote to make sure Congress pays our bills on time so America does not default on costs it’s already accrued, then I am prepared to have a reasonable, civil negotiation around a whole slew of issues,” Obama said.