Despite Republicans’ insistance that he’s not willing to come to the table and negotiate re-opening the federal government, President Barack Obama on Monday noted that his party is already willing to accept a short-term measure to fund the government that includes funding the GOP previously considered a policy victory, provided it doesn’t touch Obamacare.
“The bill that is being presented to end the government shutdown reflects Republican priorities,” Obama said, addressing federal employees at FEMA in Washington. “It’s the Republican budget. The funding levels of this short-term funding bill, called the CR, is far lower than what Democrats think it should be.
“Nevertheless Democrats are prepared to put the majority of votes on it to fund the government,” he added. “When you hear government not compromising, we’re compromising so much we’re willing to open the government at funding levels that reflect Republican wishes, that don’t at all reflect our wishes.”
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) was adamant on Sunday that such a bill, called a “clean” continuing resolution, could not pass the lower chamber. The White House is calling on Boehner to put his money where his mouth is and put the bill on the floor to see whether enough House Republicans would join Democrats in funding the government. Several independent whip counts have placed the number of House GOPers publicly supporting such a bill, which would include automatic budget cuts known as sequestration, at at least 20 votes.
“At FEMA they are subject to the sequester,” Obama added, noting the approach of Tropical Storm Karen. “Even before the shutdown they were having trouble making sure everybody was staying on the job and fulfilling all of their various functions. We need to get that sequester lifted that’s been hanging over the head of the economy and federal agencies during the course of this entire year. This short-term legislation to re-open the government doesn’t even address that.”
Republican leadership maintained that passing a clean CR with sequester-level funding was a victory for the party as late as Sept. 6, according to a memo written by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA).
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Igor Bobic is the assistant editor of Talking Points Memo, helping oversee the site’s coverage of politics and policy in Washington. While originally from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Igor feels best at home on the beaches of Southern California. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.