Obama to House Republicans: Reopen the Govt
US President Barack Obama on Tuesday urged House Republicans to "reopen the government," saying they "don't get to hold the entire economy hostage over ideological demands" of defunding or dismantling Obamacare.
Obama placed blame for the government shutdown squarely on House Republicans, saying that one faction of one party is holding the country hostage over ideological demands.
"This Republican shutdown didn't have to happen," Obama said in remarks delivered at the White House Rose Garden. "They shut down the government over an ideological crusade."
The president called on House Republicans to pass a resolution to fund the federal government and end the partial shutdown, which began at midnight. The impact will depend how long the shutdown lasts, Obama said, but inevitably, it will hurt the economy.
"The longer this shutdown continues, the worse the effects will be," Obama said. "So once again I urge House Republicans to reopen the government."
To underscore his point, the president used Tuesday's launch of the health-insurance benefits that House Republicans are seeking to defund.
Obama, appearing with people who would benefit from the newly opened Affordable Care Act insurance marketplaces, said Republicans have made depriving the uninsured of health care the centerpiece of their agenda, and they were willing to shut down the government to do that.
"It's all about rolling back the Affordable Care Act," he said. "This, more than anything else, seems to be what the Republican Party stands for."
Obama said the health law is "here to stay."
The president's comments came 13 hours after a partial shutdown of the federal government began.