Washington (AFP) – President Barack Obama said Monday he was not giving up hope for a deal to avert a shutdown of the federal government in a matter of hours.
“I am not at all resigned” to a shutdown, Obama told reporters when asked about it.
But Obama, speaking as he met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said he would not negotiate under the threat of the US government shutting down or defaulting on its debt.
“There’s not a world leader, if you took a poll, who would say that it would be responsible or consistent with America’s leadership in the world for us not to pay our bills,” Obama said.
“We are the foundation of the world economy and the world financial system. And our currency is the reserve currency of the world. We don’t mess with that,” he said.
Obama said he expected to speak later Monday to leaders of Congress, where his Republican opponents are pushing to strip his signature health care reform program in exchange for keeping the government running.
“There’s a pretty straightforward solution to this. If you set aside the short-term politics and you look at the long-term here, what it simply requires is everybody to act responsibly and do what’s right for the American people,” Obama said.