WASHINGTON -- President Obama on Thursday blamed House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) for the government shutdown, warning of a possible economic recession if the political gridlock leads to a government default later this month.
The only thing keeping the government closed is Boehner's refusal to call a vote on a budget unburdened by other measures, Obama said. "He doesn't want to anger the extremists in his party," he said. "That's what this whole thing is about. ... My simple message today is: Call a vote."
On the third day of the federal government shutdown, Obama's speech at a construction company in Rockville, Md., was filled with warnings about how it could affect the economy.
With no real negotiations taking place with Republicans in Congress, Obama also warned of the exponentially worse effects to come if lawmakers don't act to raise the debt ceiling to pay government bills. The U.S. government is set to hit its limit for borrowing in mid-October and, if the ceiling isn't lifted, won't be able to pay its bills.
A day after talks at the White House revealed no common ground with the president, Republicans turned their attention to passing piecemeal measures that would fund certain, more popular government services. White House officials say they aren't interested in those incremental steps.
Instead, Obama aimed his message Thursday at assigning blame for what he called a "reckless Republican shutdown," and demanded a House vote immediately.
"That way," he said, the "American people would be clear" who is for a shutdown and who opposes it.