“My message to
Obama spoke hours after the
The bill faces major obstacles in the Republican-led House, where conservatives want to use Monday's midnight deadline to pass a spending bill to achieve their long-sought goal of undermining the healthcare law. After more than three years of preparation, the centerpiece of the Obamacare program, insurance marketplaces, is due to open for business on Tuesday.
“Those marketplaces will be open for business on Tuesday, no matter what, even if there's a
House Republican leaders were deliberating Friday on whether to attach new provisions to the Senate spending bill, such as repealing a tax on medical devices or instituting a one-year delay of the requirement that individuals have health insurance. Both measures might find support in the Senate.
Obama cast the debate as largely political posturing, accusing House Republicans of being motivated by a desire to appease the
The uncertainty just days before the deadline had some in Washington predicting that some government offices would be forced to close Tuesday, the first government shutdown since the 1996 budget standoff between President Clinton and then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
This one would come with a follow-up punch. On Oct. 17, when the government is due to hit the limit it can borrow unless Congress and the president agree to raise it. If that ceiling is not raised, the United States could default on its obligations. After two bruising debt ceiling fights in as many years, the White House has said it won't negotiate with Congress on the issue.
"We're not going to do this under the threat of blowing up the entire economy," Obama said. "I will not negotiate over Congress' responsibility to pay the bills that have already been racked up."
Obama said the threat of a default is "far more dangerous than a government shutdown," calling it a possible "economic shutdown" with global ramifications.
"We don't fully understand what might happen, the dangers involved, because no Congress has ever actually threatened default," he said. "But we know it would have a profound destabilizing effect on the entire economy, on the world economy, because America is the bedrock of world investment."
[Updated, 1:52 p.m. PDT Sept. 27: A spokesman for House Speaker