Washington: As the government shutdown entered its fourth day, US President Barack Obama on Friday said that no one is winning with this shutdown - the first in 17 years - which has resulted in some eight lakh federal employees without any work.
"Nobody`s winning. And that`s the point. We should get this over with as soon as possible," Obama told reporter as he and Vice President Joe Biden walked out of the White House to a nearby sandwich shop for their afternoon meal.
Obama said he is willing to negotiate with the Republicans leadership and John Boehner, Speaker of House of Representatives, on a whole range of issues.
"But we can`t do it with a gun held to the head of the American people,” he said.
A day earlier, Obama announced to cancel his trip to Asia in view of the government shutdown.
"This furlough or this shutdown could be over today. We know there are the votes for it in the House of Representatives. If Speaker Boehner will simply allow that vote to take place, weekend the shutdown, a whole bunch of families not just here in Washington, but all across the country will have the certainty that a paycheck will be coming," he said.
"That they`ll be able to make their mortgage, they`ll be able to pay their expenses that they`ll be able to look after their families. We can get backing to what we should be focused on every single day, and that`s how we make sure we`ve got a strong middle class in this country that anybody willing to work hard can get ahead," said the US President.
Later at his daily news conference, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney accused the Republicans of holding the government hostage.
"It is categorically our position that the government should be re-opened today, now, in half-an-hour, whenever Speaker of the House John Boehner sees fit to put on the floor of the House a bill that would re-open the government, extend funding at levels Republicans claim they were delighted with, and allow people to go back to work, with no partisan strings attached. Put it on the floor now. Vote now," he said.
"A majority of the House of Representatives, as is the custom in democracies, would therefore support it, and it would become law because the president would sign it. That is our position: End the shutdown now. Reopen the government now," Carney said.
Carney said as a result of the shutdown hundreds of thousands of Americans, both here in the Washington area and across the country, who are sitting at home wonder if they`ll ever get paid, wondering when the shutdown will end, wondering how they`re going to make ends meet.