A few hours after President Obama turned up political pressure on Republican party to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling, House Speaker John Boehner suggested that the U.S. president was looking for “unconditional surrender.”
“The president said today if there’s unconditional surrender by Republicans, he’ll sit down and talk to us,” Boehner said. “That’s not the way our government works.”
The Republican speaker addressed the mass media just outside his office to rebut Obama’s earlier press conference. The Ohio politician’s message to the president was clear: the recent government shutdown and forthcoming debt ceiling deadline would not be resolved without negotiations.
“It’s time to have that conversation,” Boehner said. “Not next week, not next month — the conversation needs to begin today. The long and short of it is, there’s going to be a negotiation.”
Boehner’s remarks come after House Republicans unveiled their new strategy aimed at dealing with both the government shutdown and the looming debt ceiling crisis.
They suggested to create the so-called “bipartisan negotiating team”, similar to 2011’s supercommittee, that would hash out a deal to solve both issues.
As The Huffington Post reports, Senate Democrats didn’t seem to be interested, and plan to bring a clean bill to the floor this week that would extend the debt limit through the end of 2014.
“All we’re asking for is to sit down and have a conversation,” Boehner said.
“There’s no reason to make it more difficult to bring people to the table. There’s no boundaries here. There’s nothing on the table, there’s nothing off the table. I’m trying to do everything I can to bring people together and have a conversation.”
The news comes after Boehner told reporters that he will not raise the debt ceiling without a “serious conversation” with President Obama.
In his recent interview with ABC’s “This Week,” Republican House Speaker John Boehner told reporters: ”The nation’s credit is at risk because of the administration’s refusal to sit down and have a conversation.”
The Republican went on, adding that there were not enough votes in the House of Representatives to pass a “clean” debt limit bill, without any additional conditions and terms.
When the Speaker was asked whether that meant the country was getting closer to a default if President Barack Obama did not negotiate ahead of an October 17 deadline to raise the debt ceiling, Boehner replied: “That’s the path we’re on.”
Boehner’s remarks highlight growing tensions since late last week when the Speaker reportedly told Republicans in a private meeting that he would work to avoid default, even if it meant relying on the votes of Democrats.
Both parties traded blame for a shutdown that left more than 800,000 federal employees without work. As it’s still not known when the work of the government will be restored, the battle over its funding has merged into the one over the debt ceiling.
“I don’t want the United States to default on its debt,” Boehner said. “But I’m not going to raise the debt limit without a serious conversation about dealing with problems that are driving the debt up. It would be irresponsible of me to do this.”