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Obama to Republicans: 'We can't make extortion routine' (+video)

In a press conference, President Obama sends a message to Speaker Boehner: He's happy to talk about anything, but first fund the government and lift the debt ceiling, even for a short period. 

President Barack Obama says he's fighting the budget battle because "we can't make extortion routine as part of our democracy."
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In a press conference Tuesday, President Obama opened the door to negotiations with congressional Republicans if they will pass even short-term measures to fund the government and lift the debt ceiling, as long as no strings are attached.

On Day 8 of a partial shutdown of the federal government, and nine days before the government reaches the limit of its borrowing authority, Mr. Obama said he would talk about “anything” – health care, spending, deficit reduction – but he won’t agree to make concessions just to get to the table.

The president spoke on the phone Tuesday morning with Republican House Speaker John Boehner, but the two reported no headway in their impasse.

“I am happy to talk with him and other Republicans about anything – not just issues I think are important but also issues that they think are important,” Obama told reporters in the White House briefing room.

“But I also told him that having such a conversation, talks, negotiations shouldn't require hanging the threats of a government shutdown or economic chaos over the heads of the American people.”

Speaker Boehner has refused to bring to the House floor a so-called “clean continuing resolution,” or CR – a measure to fund government operations without added provisions, including riders that would defund or delay implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Democrats say that there are enough votes to pass such a measure if Boehner is willing to rely mostly on Democratic votes to pass it. Boehner denies there are enough votes to pass a “clean CR,” and wants the president to negotiate an end to the government shutdown.


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