President Barack Obama said Monday that the United States faces a “good chance of defaulting” unless Republicans in Congress “set aside some of their partisan concerns.”
Hours before a scheduled meeting with congressional leaders from both parties, Obama told a group of furloughed federal workers volunteering at a Washington, D.C. food pantry that the government shutdown could have been avoided.
“Now, this week we’ll be entering into the third week of a government shutdown that was completely unnecessary,” Obama said. “I’m going to have the opportunity to meet again with the congressional leaders this afternoon. And I’m going to, once again, urge them to open the government and make sure that the United States government is paying its bills. This is fairly simple. This whole shutdown has been completely unnecessary.”
The president then shifted his attention to Thursday’s debt ceiling deadline.
“Not only is it untenable for us to continue this shutdown, this week, if we don’t start making some real progress both in the House and the Senate and if Republicans aren’t willing to set aside some of their partisan concerns in order to do what’s right for the country, we stand a good chance of defaulting and defaulting would have a potentially devastating effect on our economy, sending interest rates shooting up, people — whether Social Security recipients or people with disabilities or small business people who are vendors to government — not getting paid on time,” Obama said.
“We’ve already had damaging effect on the economy because of the shutdown. That damage would be greatly magnified if we don’t make sure that the government is paying its bills and that has to be decided this week.”