President Barack Obama challenged Republicans on Friday to drop what he described as their attempts at political theatre and avoid instigating a shuttering of government operations.
“To any Republican in Congress who’s currently watching, I’d encourage you to think about who you’re hurting,” Obama said in a statement at the White House. “There are probably young people in your office right now who came to work for you without much pay because they believed that public service was noble. You’re preparing to send them home without a paycheck. You’ve got families with kids back in your districts who serve their country in the federal government, and now they might have to plan how they’re going to get by if you shut the government down.”
While the Senate passed a “clean” spending bill on Friday that rebuked Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) campaign to strip funding from the Affordable Care Act, Obama called on House Republicans to share their own ideas for improving the law, but denounced what he called threats to the country’s economic standing.
“I realize that a lot of what’s taking place is political grandstanding, but this grandstanding has real effects on real people,” Obama said. “If the government shuts down on Tuesday, military personnel, including those risking their lives overseas for us right now, will not get paid on time.”
He also urged the House to vote in favor of raising the country’s debt limit by Oct. 17, which Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has made conditional upon Democrats accepting a set of demands including delaying the implementation of the healthcare law by one year.
“I want to repeat: Raising the debt ceiling is simply authorizing the Treasury to pay for what Congress has already authorized,” Obama said. “Failure to meet this responsibility would be far more dangerous than a government shutdown. It would effectively be an economic shutdown, with impacts not just here but around the world.”
Watch the president’s statement, as posted on the White House YouTube channel on Friday, below.