Obama Tells House to ‘Just Vote’ on Whether to Reopen Government

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After a taking the weekend off, President Obama resumed his public pounding of House Republicans on Monday even as a top aide laid out a possible avenue for defusing the fiscal fight that has frozen parts of the government and threatens a federal default.

filephoto Barack Obama Presser 8-9-13

President Obama at a news conference Aug. 9, 2013.

Speaking during a visit to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Obama disputed Speaker John A. Boehner’s claim that there are not enough votes in the House to pass legislation reopening the government unless Republicans first win concessions from the White House.

“The truth of matter is, there are enough Republican and Democratic votes in the House of Representatives right now to end this shutdown immediately with no partisan strings attached. The House should hold that vote today,” Obama said. “Just vote. Let every member of Congress vote their conscience, and they can determine whether or not they want to shut the government down.”

Obama’s visit was part of a strategy to have the president keep publicly discussing the shutdown, although there appear to be no talks, public or private, on ending it. Obama and his aides put the onus on Boehner, saying he needs first reopen the government and address the crisis around the corner — lifting the debt ceiling — before negotiations can begin. The federal government is due to hit the ceiling around Oct. 17, risking the first federal default in modern history.

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