President Obama insisted during an interview Sunday that he would not negotiate with Republicans about increasing the nation’s borrowing capacity, hunkering down for a major clash with the GOP on a series of looming fiscal debates.
“Never in history have we used just making sure that the U.S. government is paying its bills as a lever to radically cut government at the kind of scale that they’re talking about,” Obama said in an interview airing Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” "It’s never happened before. There have been negotiations around the corners, because nobody had ever presumed that you’d actually threaten the United States to default.”
The federal government faces a mid-October deadline to increase the nation’s debt ceiling. If leaders fail to unite behind a solution, they risk the government defaulting on its debt.
Before then, the White House and Congress have just more than two weeks to pass a resolution to keep the government funded.
Republicans are trying to extract spending cuts from the White House in exchange for increasing the nation’s borrowing limit. Some are also pushing to defund Obamacare, but such an effort would instantly die in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
GOP officials point out that Obama previously refused to negotiate over the debt ceiling before making concessions to Republicans at the last moment.
For his part, the president blamed Republicans for the stalling of his domestic agenda, including immigration reform.
“If Speaker Boehner put that bill on the floor of the House of Representatives right now, it would pass,” Obama predicted. “So the question then is not whether or not the ideas that we’ve put forward can garner a majority of support certainly in the country.”
With no solution imminent on a wide array of domestic issues, however, Obama continued White House efforts to paint Republicans as obstructionists with little interest in governing.
“The problem ... is we have a faction of the Republican Party – in the House of Representatives in particular — that view ‘compromise’ as a dirty word and anything that is even remotely associated with me, they feel obliged to oppose,” Obama said. “And my argument to them is real simple. That’s not why the people sent you here.”