SEATTLE — It’s Day 8 of the federal government shutdown, with the deadline to raise the country’s debt ceiling looming next week. And both sides dug in even further Tuesday.
President Obama took to the airwaves Tuesday morning with the same message he has been giving for several days: End the shutdown and raise the debt ceiling, and then we’ll talk.
At the same time that he was being firm, the president clearly wanted to appear soft and reasonable when it comes to the long-term bargaining he’s willing to do on spending, entitlements, and, yes, even Obamacare.
“If they want to specify all the items that they think need to be topics of conversation, I’m happy to do it,” Obama said. “If they want to say, you know, part of that process is we want to go through line by line all the aspects of the president’s health care plan that we don’t like and we want the president to answer for those things, I’m happy to sit down with them as many hours as they want.”
After the president spoke, it was House Speaker John Boehner’s turn. He continues to be frustrated that the president won’t talk unless Republicans first finance the government and thereby lift the shutdown and also raise the country’s debt ceiling so the United States can pay its debts.
“We can’t raise the debt ceiling without doing something about what’s driving this,” Boehner said. “This is about saving the future for our kids and our grandkids, and the only way this is going to happen is to, in fact, have a conversation.”
Tuesday’s comments by Obama and Boehner came after they had had a morning phone call. So, clearly, whatever they have been saying to each other in private up to now is not working.