US House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner (seconf left), with staff and security, walks to the House floor to vote on funding for the National Guard in the US Capitol in Washington, DC, yesterday.
Washington: The US government shutdown prompted growing concern of wider economic consequences when it stretched into a third day yesrerday, and President Barack Obama challenged Republicans to “stop this farce” by allowing a straight vote on a spending bill. Both sides in the standoff, which was triggered by Republican efforts to halt Obama’s healthcare reforms, appeared entrenched.
Republicans in the House of Representatives are planning at least 10 more small bills to reopen specific federal programmes, according to a senior Republican aide. Democrats reject that piecemeal approach.
Fears grew that the crisis would merge with a more complex fight looming later this month over raising the federal debt limit and that this could stymie any attempts to end the shutdown before the middle of October.
Obama said there were enough Republicans willing to pass a spending bill immediately if House Speaker John Boehner would allow a vote on a spending bill without partisan conditions attached, a so-called clean vote. But Obama said the speaker was refusing to do so because “he doesn’t want to anger the extremists in his party.”
“My simple message today is ‘Call a vote,’” Obama said in a speech at a construction company in Maryland. “Take a vote. Stop this farce, and end this shutdown right now.”
In his speech earlier, Obama warned that as painful as the government shutdown was, a default caused by a failure to raise the debt limit would be dramatically worse for the economy as a whole.
Boehner’s spokesman said the speaker had “always said that the United States will not default on its debt.” REUTERS