Who’s afraid of the far-right GOP? John Boehner, for starters.
President Obama said on Thursday that the House speaker was keeping the government shutdown because of a small, extreme group of lawmakers in his party.
“The only thing that is keeping the government shut down, the only thing preventing people from going back to work…is that Speaker John Boehner won’t even let the bill get a yes or no vote because he doesn’t want to anger the extremists in his party. That’s all. That’s what this whole thing is about,” Obama said during a speech at the M. Luis Construction company in Rockville, Md.
“Congress has to pass a budget that funds our government with no partisan strings attached,” he said. “Take a vote. End this shutdown right now.”
Obama’s remarks come as the government enters Day 3 of the partial government shutdown, a result of House Republicans quixotically rallying around a plan to fund the government only in exchange for delaying or defunding the president’s healthcare plan. The president has said that he was willing to negotiate with the GOP but the government must reopen first.
The White House said that because of the shutdown, America’s 28 million small businesses, including the M. Luis Construction company, will be unable to access the capital supported by the Small Business Administration. In fiscal years 2012 and 2013, SBA supported approximately $93 million per day in capital to small businesses. That’s an average of $1.9 billion in capital per month.
To top it off, there’s big concern Republicans and Democrats won’t agree to raise the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling (and go into default on its bills). The Treasury Department estimates that is expected to happen on Oct. 17.
In Maryland, Obama said small businesses in particular will be hurt by the shutdown – a feeling many owners felt during the recession.
”This time it’s not because a once in a lifetime recession. This isn’t happening because of some fin crisis. It’s happening because of a reckless Republican shutdown in Washington,” he said. He noted farmers and small business owners who serve loans are “left in the lurch” because no one is in the office to process the loans.
“The longer this goes on, the worse it will be,” said Obama.
Obama on Wednesday met with leaders in Congress from both parties, including Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. But congressional leaders emerged from their meeting offering little hope for a breakthrough.
The shutdown has forced approximately 800,000 federal workers off the job and suspended several nonessential federal programs and services.