U.S. President Barack Obama holds a meeting with small business owners at the White House in Washington on October 11, 2013.
Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

Obama: Boehner ‘can’t control his caucus’


House Republicans have failed for weeks to win any significant concessions from the White House in this escalating fiscal fight. But President Obama says some still seem convinced against all odds, that they can still win…something.

The commander-in-chief gave a trio of local television interviews that aired on Tuesday evening—less than two days before the nation could face its first ever default if the debt ceiling is not raised and Day 15 of the partial government  shutdown.

Some House GOPers “still believe they can get concessions for doing their job and making sure the American people aren’t hurt,” Obama told WABC-TV in New York.

The good news, Obama said is Democrats and Republicans seem to be coming closer to an agreement and “my expectation is it does get solved. But we don’t have a lot of time.”

Obama also spoke to KMEX-TV Univision in Los Angeles and KCCI-TV Hearst in Des Moines, Iowa.

After Obama gave the interviews earlier in the day, negotiations in the Senate stalled, but House Speaker John Boehner said the lower chamber will take up a proposal late Tuesday to fund the government through mid-December and raise the debt ceiling to early February. The measure would also strip lawmakers, their staff and members of the Obama administration of subsidies to buy insurance through Obamacare.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, however, that the Senate would never greenlight the proposal and that “it’s nothing more than a blatant attack on bipartisanship.”

When asked why he hasn’t done much to negotiate, Obama insisted to ABC’s Diana Williams that he has compromised and that any deal will have cuts that are “more substantial than Democrats would prefer,” arguing it will make it difficult to invest in programs like early childhood education and rebuilding roads and bridges.

“The problem that we’ve got is Speaker Boehner, for example, him negotiating with me isn’t necessarily good for the extreme faction in his caucus. It weakens him. There have been repeated situations where we have agreements and he goes back it turns out that he can’t control his caucus.”

The president told KCCI in Iowa that he believes Senate Republicans—who were trying to delay Obamacare—have now realized they were pursuing a “bad strategy.”

“We’re a little stuck in the House. But I remain optimistic that this will eventually  get resolved,” said Obama.

Obama: Boehner 'can’t control his caucus'