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Obama Calls Boehner To Say He’ll Negotiate — Later

Filed by KOSU News in US News.
October 8, 2013

President Obama phoned House Speaker John Boehner Tuesday morning to tell him that he’s open to discussing Republicans’ fiscal ideas. But the president said he wouldn’t have such talks until after the government shutdown is over and the federal debt ceiling has been raised.

Obama told Boehner he “is willing to negotiate with Republicans — after the threat of government shutdown and default have been removed,” according to a White House summary of the call.

The president also urged Boehner “to allow a timely up-or-down vote in the House to raise the debt limit with no ideological strings attached.” And he sought a similar vote on a funding bill that the Senate has approved. Republicans in the House have insisted that such legislation include measures to curtail the Affordable Care Act.

The president is likely to address the impasse in a news briefing scheduled for 2 p.m. ET today.

With the shutdown now in its second week, the Senate may soon take up a separate measure approving a hike in the federal debt ceiling, which the Treasury Department says will reach its limit on Oct. 17.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s office says the bill, which would likely “provide enough borrowing room to last beyond next year’s election,” could come up for a vote later this week, as the Two-Way reported this morning.

Speaking to the media alongside other congressional Republicans Tuesday, Boehner renewed his calls for negotiations to end the shutdown, which has now entered its second week.

Bothner said that “by refusing to negotiate, Harry Reid and the president are putting our country on a pretty dangerous path.” And he said Obama would be breaking with tradition if he didn’t join talks to extend the government’s credit line.

“Listen, there’s never been a president in our history that did not negotiate over the debt limit, never, not once,” he said. “As a matter of fact, President Obama negotiated with me over the debt limit in 2011.”

The speaker suggested that talks between Republicans and Democrats would be open, saying, “There’s nothing on the table. There’s nothing off the table.”

“I’m not drawing any lines in the sand. It’s time for us to just sit down and resolve our differences,” Boehner said.

Sen. Reid echoed the president’s calls to hold a vote in the House. Noting that Boehner “insists the Senate-passed bill to end this shutdown can’t pass the House,” Reid said, “I have a challenge for my friend, the speaker: prove it.” [Copyright 2013 NPR]

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