With the clock ticking and no budget compromise in sight, President Barack Obama said Congress doesn’t get to “extract a ransom” for doing its job.
The government is headed for a shutdown Tuesday at midnight if the House and Senate cannot come to an agreement on a short-term spending bill and whether to fund Obamacare.
Speaking from the White House Monday afternoon, the president accused Republicans of seeking to defund Obamacare, “all to save face after making some impossible promises to the extreme right wing of their party.”
“One faction of one party of one house of Congress of one branch of government doesn’t get to shut down an entire government just to refight the results of an election,” Obama said. “Keeping the government open is not a concession to me — it’s a basic responsibility.”
Obama accused Republicans for essentially holding the U.S. government hostage over their dislike of his signature health care law.
“You don’t get to extract a ransom for doing your job, for doing what you’re supposed to be doing anyway, or just because there is a law there that you don’t like,” Obama said.
Obama said that Social Security, Medicare, the military, national security operations and federal law enforcement will continue operating.
But, he warned that should the government shut down, most of NASA and all of America’s parks and monuments will take a direct hit and be closed.
“Tourists will find everyone of America’s parks and monuments from Yosemite to the Smithsonian to the Statue of Liberty immediately closed,” Obama said.
He further warned of the ramifications for federal employees.
“In the event of a government shutdown, hundreds of thousands of these dedicated public servants who stay on the job will do so without pay and several hundred thousand more will be immediately and indefinitely furloughed,” Obama said. “What of course will not be furloughed are the bills that they have to pay, their mortgages, their tuition payments, their car loans.”
Obama also asked if anyone doubted whether Republicans would do the same thing in December, when a new continuing resolution comes up.
“It does not have to happen. All of this is entirely preventable if the House chooses to do what the Senate has already done,” Obama said. “That’s the simple act of funding our government without making extraneous and controversial demands in the process the same way other Congresses have for more than 200 years.”