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"How is that tenable?"
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was called out by ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl over the Obama administration's apparent unwillingness to negotiate at all with Republicans over the debt ceiling and a potential government shutdown over Obamacare.
Carney pointed out what he claims to be an "all-out civil war within the Republican Party," in which a small minority are forcing Republican leadership to threaten a government shutdown, possibly leading to default.
However, that's not what GOP leaders are advocating for at all.
House Republicans on Wednesday promised to pass legislation that would prevent a partial government shutdown and avoid a historic national default while simultaneously canceling out President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. Obama swiftly condemned the effort as attempted political extortion, and the Republican-friendly Chamber of Commerce pointedly called on lawmakers to pass urgent spending and borrowing legislation - unencumbered by debate over "Obamacare."
Back in the press conference, Karl asked if the White House was "giving up" in the negotiations and refusing to talk to Republicans.
"Are you actually talking to Republicans?" he asked, even if he believes his opponents are "unreasonable" in their pursuits.
"The president's position is, he will not negotiate over the debt ceiling," Karl pressed.
"Correct," Carney replied.
"How is that tenable?" Karl shot back, adding that it's practically "threatening default" by the White House.
The White House spokesman argued only Congress has the power to raise the debt ceiling. He did, however, fail to mention the immense influence President Obama has over the process and Democratic lawmakers.
Carney said raising the debt ceiling does not increase new spending and has been "hundreds of times before."
"Raising the debt ceiling doesn't add a dime to the deficit," he added. "But as everyone in this room understands…this is simply a vote to allow Congress to pay the bills that Congress has already incurred."
Featured image via AP. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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