Zee Media Bureau
Washington: As the US government shutdown entered Day 9, with the added scourge of US default deadline of October 17 looming near, President Barack Obama reprimanded the Republicans for using ‘extortion’ tactics over solving the shutdown and the debt ceiling issue.
Speaking at a news conference, Obama said that he was ready to talk to the Republicans only after they reopened the government and raised the debt limit.
Accusing the Republicans of ‘extortion’, Obama said, " they (Republicans) don`t get to demand ransom in exchange for doing their jobs”.
"They don`t also get to say, you know, unless you give me what the voters rejected in the last election, I`m going to cause a recession," Obama added.
"We can`t make extortion routine as part of our democracy," Mr Obama said. "Democracy doesn`t function this way. And this is not just for me. It`s also for my successors in office, whatever party they`re from."
Obama said that any negotiations on the government shutdown or the debt limit "shouldn`t require hanging the threats of a shutdown or economic chaos over the heads of the American people".
Reacting to Obama’s statements, House Speaker John Boehner refused to surrender to the President’s demands saying, "What the president said today was if there`s unconditional surrender by Republicans, he`ll sit down and talk to us... That`s not the way our government works."
Repeating his stand, the Ohio Republican said, "Not next week. Not next month. The conversation ought to start today."
Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has said the deadline for Congress to act is Oct., 17, setting that as the day the government will exhaust its ability to borrow funds and will have to rely day-to-day on tax and other receipts to pay its bills.
Some Republicans have downplayed the significance of the Oct. 17 deadline, saying that even then, the United States would be able to pay China and other holders of U.S. debt and avoid widespread economic dislocation.
But Obama said they were badly misguided, warning that default would harm the economy, cause retirement accounts to shrivel and houses to lose value. Still other Republicans have made it clear in recent days they agree with the threat posed by default and are determined to prevent it.
With Agency Inputs