President Obama urged congressional Republicans on Tuesday to re-open the government, saying the longer the shutdown continues, the greater the damage to the economy. (Saul Loeb / AFP)
President Obama urged congressional Republicans on Tuesday to re-open the government, saying the longer the shutdown continues, the greater the damage to the economy.
“More families will be hurt,” Obama said after meeting with supporters about the program at the heart of the Washington budget dispute, the health care law.
Obama again blamed the GOP for the shutdown that began at midnight Monday, saying some party members are waging an “ideological crusade” against the new health care law.
Obama also warned the Republicans to raise the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling that comes due later this month, saying that failure to do so would lead to “an economic shutdown.”
The president spoke after meeting with people who have signed up for the health care marketplace exchanges that came on line Tuesday. These exchanges are a key to financing the new health care law.
Large swaths of the government closed down at midnight after the Republican House and Democratic Senate failed to agree on a new spending plan for the new fiscal year that began Tuesday.
Most Republicans support a plan that would delay parts of the health care plan by a year. Obama and Democrats say that is a non-starter, and the GOP is trying to use the budget to gut the health care plan.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, criticized Senate Democrats for refusing to negotiate on the two plans, saying they “slammed the door” on re-opening parts of the government. Boehner said, “we hope that Senate Democrats — and President Obama — change course and start working with us on behalf of the American people.”
While some Republicans try to roll back the health care plan, Obama used his speech to emphasize that “a big part of the Affordable Care Act is now open for business” -- the new market exchanges.
Previously funded, the exchanges are not subject to the shutdown. Obama said they force insurance companies to compete for business, lowering prices for previously uninsured Americans.
Earlier in the morning, the president met with people “who will benefit from the opening of Health Insurance Marketplaces and being able to comparison shop for the health plans as a result of the Affordable Care Act.” said the White House.