Transcript: Press briefing Q&A with Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi after a White House meeting on the government shutdown on Oct. 2, 2013

Partial transcript of press briefing Q&A with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) after a White House meeting on the government shutdown on Oct. 2, 2013:

…In that meeting, more than an hour, what is your sense? How real is the danger that the country may default?

Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.):
I believe based on what we have seen – the performance of the Tea Party driven, Cruz led House – no longer in the Senate, it’s now in the House – I think that it looks like these people are headed where they want to go. Michele Bachmann said, “Finally, finally, we’re where we wanted to be. We’ve closed down the government.” She’s not alone.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.):
Let me just say this about the meeting and that is the following. I think there are certain principles or attitudes that we should have. Now, I’m not saying we agreed to this in the meeting. But I’m just saying for the good of the order and the confidence of the American people, we should take the debt ceiling debate off the table.

The United States of America will always honor the full faith and credit of our country, and no President should be held hostage to that for a social or other agenda.

So let’s just take that off the table – A – because it’s really dangerous. I mean, closing the government is bad. The combination of that and not lifting the debt ceiling is beyond cataclysmic.

Again, we have to think about whatever we’re doing now and what the precedent is for it. So let’s take it off the table.

Will he invoke the 14th amendment?

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.):
…He’s not going to.

Secondly, every bill that ever passes in the Congress is subject to another bill passing in the Congress to amend it. And so if they don’t like certain aspects of the Affordable Care Act, they have every opportunity in the majority especially to bring anything to the floor to make whatever changes they want. But that should not be something that is a threat to whether government is open or whether the full faith – so take the lifting of the debt ceiling off the table, recognize that any bill that has passed and enacted into law can be changed under the regular order but don’t confuse the two.

Did the Speaker say why he wouldn’t bring a clean CR to the floor?

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.):
Well, I won’t go into – I don’t know why they haven’t accepted their own number. We stood on the steps of the Capitol – over 100 members – as I said with the support of the other members of the caucus to say we’re making a firm offer to the Speaker as I have done to him private over and over and over again that we would accept the $988 [billion]. You know that our members do not like the $988. Most of them have dug in their heels to say they would never support the $988. But to open government, that opinion is a luxury we can’t afford on the side of the Democrats or the Republicans so we’re willing to compromise to accept their number.

They had two things: $988 and overturn Obamacare. This isn’t going to happen. We’re willing to accept this. They shouldn’t move the goal post.


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