Obama challenges Boehner to hold ‘no-strings-attached’ vote on budget

As the US federal shutdown enters its second week, China says a US default would damage its investments

US President Barack Obama arrives at the Federal Emergency Management Agency  National Response Coordination Centre in Washington. Mr Obama urged House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican from Ohio, to put a “clean” government Bill to a vote to prove his claim that it would not be passed. Photograph: Bloomberg

US President Barack Obama arrives at the Federal Emergency Management Agency National Response Coordination Centre in Washington. Mr Obama urged House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican from Ohio, to put a “clean” government Bill to a vote to prove his claim that it would not be passed. Photograph: Bloomberg

Tue, Oct 8, 2013, 01:17


US president Barack Obama dared the Republican leader of the House of Representatives to hold a vote on a no-strings-attached budget to reopen government as the political standoff pushed the US federal shutdown into its second week.

As Republicans continued to refuse to vote on a budget without the president’s healthcare law being delayed or repealed, or government spending decreased, Mr Obama urged House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican from Ohio, to put a “clean” government Bill to a vote to prove his claim that it would not be passed.

“The House should hold that vote today,” said the president. “If Republicans and Speaker Boehner are saying there are not enough votes, they should prove it.”

Conservative Republicans demanding lower government spending and the unwinding of Obamacare will not agree to raise the debt limit when the US government runs out of cash on October 17th or end the shutdown unless Mr Obama and Democrats yield to their demands, which they refuse to do.

The president said he was “not going to establish that pattern” where the Republicans threaten a “prolonged shutdown” or “economic catastrophe” unless they get what they want.

White House press secretary Jay Carney described Mr Boehner’s comments on Sunday that the US was on a path to an unprecedented debt default as “highly reckless and irresponsible”.

As concerns grow that the political impasse over a short-term budget may spill into an unprecedented debt default, China pitched into the US domestic political row. In its first official response to the crisis, the Chinese government warned Washington that a US default would damage the value of its American investments, saying that the “clock is ticking” towards the deal to increase the so-called debt ceiling, the amount the government is allowed to borrow.

Republican senator Ted Cruz, who has led the conservative Tea Party campaign, has said the debt ceiling has “historically been among the best leverage” that Congress has to “rein in” the president.

Some believe the Obama administration will not allow the US default even if Congress fails to reach a deal to increase the $16.7 trillion borrowing limit.