Veteran journalist Carl Hoffman believes he’s solved one of the great mysteries of the 20th century. In 1961 at the age of 23, Michael Rockefeller – son of New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller and a member of one of the richest and most powerful families in America ¬– travelled to remote New Guinea in search of primitive art for his father’s new museum.
Obama: Let’s Stop The Excuses And End The Shutdown
Part of the government is still shut down. If Congress doesn’t raise the debt ceiling in a little more than a week, the government may run out of money, causing it not to meet its obligations for the first time in history.
And all sides — the House, the Senate and the White House — are still at odds with no resolution in sight.
Update at 3:20 p.m. ET. Non Standoff Question:
Obama said the operations are in line with his assertion that the U.S. is moving away from wars and moving toward targeted operations to capture terrorists.
“We’re going to have to continue to go after them,” Obama said.
Update at 3:19 p.m. ET. ‘Not Going To Do That Again’:
President Obama said when the country almost defaulted in 2011, he realized that the government could not make the American people go through the same thing against.
“That’s what we learned in 2011. We’re not going to do that again,” Obama said.
Update at 2:54 p.m. ET. No Lasting Damage:
If the government reopens and Congress works through lifting the debt ceiling in a timely manner, this showdown will not cause “lasting damage,” Obama said.
This episode will just be blamed on the “usual messy process of American democracy.”
He said that in the short term, this causes concern in the world at large, but as long as the U.S. deals with this in a timely manner, world leaders “will understand.”
Update at 2:46 p.m. ET. The Clock Is Ticking:
Obama shot down theories that he could single-handedly solve the debt ceiling crisis. He can’t “spin off a big coin” or invoke the Fourteenth Amendment, he said because those two options would leave the Treasury shrouded in legal questions.
“Ultimately what matters is what do the people who are buying Treasury bills think,” Obama said. Those two options, said Obama, would just leave questions.
Update at 2:43 p.m. ET. Dems Have Negotiated:
Obama made the case that Democrats have negotiated. Case in point, they’re willing to sign off on a short-term budget that continues funding the government at post-sequestration levels, or at a lower lever than most of them are not happy with.
Update at 2:34 p.m. ET. Continue To Be Hopeful:
When asked if his administration would prioritize payments in the case the country’s borrowing limit is not extended, Obama said any default — whether its to bond holders or retirees — will hurt.
“I’m going to continue to be very hopeful that Congress will not put us in that position,” Obama said.
He said trying to minimize the potential effects of a default is “irresponsible.”
“No option is good in that scenario,” Obama said.
Update at 2:28 p.m. ET. Can’t Make Extortion Routine:
President Obama once again said he is ready to talk about anything.
“I’ll even spring for dinner again,” Obama said, but he will not doing while the “extreme” wing of the Republican party is forcing Boehner to issue extreme demands.
“We can’t make extortion routine as part of our democracy,” Obama said.
He added: “We’re not going to pay a ransom for America paying its bills.”
Update at 2:24 p.m. ET. Risks Recession:
Unlike what some Republicans have been saying, Obama said, failing to raise the debt ceiling would be bad for the country.
It would mean the “significant risk of a very deep recession,” Obama said.
And economists agree, the president added. They’ve said letting the U.S. default on its debt would be “insane, catastrophic, chaos.”
Update at 2:20 p.m. ET. Bring A Clean CR To The Floor:
Obama called on Speaker Boehner to bring a clean continuing resolution to the House floor, saying he has the votes — if he combines a minority of Republicans and all Democrats — to pass that and reopen the vote.
“Let’s stop the excuses. Let’s take a vote. Let’s end this shutdown, right now,” Obama said.
Update at 2:15 p.m. ET. Happy To Talk About Anything:
Obama says he is happy to talk to Republicans about anything as long as it does not involving “hanging threats of government shutdown or economic chaos over the heads of American people.”
“That’s not the way negotiations work,” Obama said.
Update at 2:02 p.m. ET. Will President Obama Add Nuance:
On NPR’s special coverage, Mara Liasson says what we should be watching here is whether Obama will “add nuance to his ‘I will not negotiate’ line.”
That is, Mara said, whether Obama will allow an opening for Boehner to “crawl off the branch” that he got himself on.
Just a bit of background: Remember, this started as a battle over the Affordable Care Act. Republicans attached conditions to defund or delay Obamacare to the bill that funds the government.
The government shut down over that fight and now, without a resolution to that first standoff, Congress is on to its next battle. This time, it’s about the debt ceiling and Republicans are now talking about fiscal issues, instead of Obamacare.
Mara says what Republicans need is a “fig leaf,” or a small concession that allows them to save face.
Update at 1:37 p.m. ET. A Phone Call:
This press conference also comes after Speaker John Boehner, a Republican from Ohio, and President Obama — the two men most important to working out a solution to this standoff — spoke on the phone.
As Bill reported earlier, according to a read-out of the call released by the White House, Obama told Boehner he was willing to negotiate about fiscal issues, just not while the government is shut down and while Congress hasn’t approved a raising of the debt ceiling.
Boehner said that “by refusing to negotiate,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Obama were “putting our country on a pretty dangerous path.”
He went on to tell reporters: “Listen, there’s never been a president in our history that did not negotiate over the debt limit, never, not once. As a matter of fact, President Obama negotiated with me over the debt limit in 2011.”