President Barack Obama told CNBC’s John Harwood in an interview Wednesday afternoon that he is “exasperated” over repeated congressional budget battles.
“I’ve bent over backwards to work with the GOP during my Presidency,” Obama said. “So, am I exasperated? I’m exasperated because this is entirely unnecessary.
“I am exasperated with the idea that unless I say to 20 million people, ‘You can’t have health insurance,’ they will not reopen the government. That is irresponsible.”
Emphasising that he believed House Speaker John Boehner would be able to pass the Senate’s so-called “clean” continuing resolution, Obama told Harwood that he wouldn’t engage in “serious negotiations” until Republicans pass a bill to keep the government funded.
“John Boehner has not been willing to say no to a faction of the Republican Party who are willing to burn the house down,” Obama said.
The interview comes amid the ongoing government shutdown, which is in its second full day with no apparent end in sight. It also comes about two weeks before Congress needs to raise the nation’s $US16.7 trillion debt ceiling.
And it’s part of a clear strategy to enlist allies in Wall Street and the business community in the two budget battles. Obama said that Wall Street should be concerned that a faction of Republicans were, in his eyes, willing to let the U.S. default on its debt in order to push “ideological” demands.
“I think this time is different. This time, I think, Wall Street should be concerned,” Obama said to Harwood.
Obama will meet with congressional leaders at the White House at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Here’s the full video of Obama’s appearance on CNBC:
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