Transcript: Press briefing remarks by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid after a White House meeting on the government shutdown on Oct. 2, 2013

Partial transcript of press briefing remarks by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) after a White House meeting on the government shutdown on Oct. 2, 2013:

It’s my understanding that Speaker Boehner said that Democrats won’t negotiate. But the Speaker has to accept his yes for an answer.

He said that he wanted to go to conference. He sent us something from the House that he wanted to go to conference.

So I thought that we’d throw him a lifeline. I said, “Fine, we’ll go to conference. All we want you to do is open the government.” And I went through a litany of things that we would be happy to talk about or anything else he wanted to talk about. We said, “We’ll be happy to talk about discretionary spending. We’ll talk about agriculture. We’ll talk about parks. We’ll talk about health care. We’ll talk about anything you want to talk about.”

And he says, “No. All I want to do is go to conference on a short-term CR.”

We have the debt ceiling staring us in the face! And he wants to talk about a short-term CR?

I thought that they were concerned about the long-term fiscal affairs of this country and we said we are too, let’s talk about it.

My friend, John Boehner, I repeat, cannot take yes for an answer.

One of the things I was very – I felt very happy I was there – the President of the United States was very, very strong, strong, strong.

This has never happened before. They can make all the historical analysis that they want. This has never happened before where a political party would be willing to take the country to the brink of financial disaster and say, “We’re not going to allow us to pay our bills.” The President said he will not stand for that.

…And I said, “Happy to work with you on a way out of this.” But we are where we are. We’re through playing these little games and it’s all focused on Obamacare. That’s all it’s about.

And as I’ve said before and I’ll tell each of you here tonight. They did the same thing to Social Security. They did the same thing to Medicare. And they’re trying to do the same thing with Obamacare.

Obamacare is another Social Security. It’s another Medicare program. It’s something that’s signature of this administration, and Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid worked hard to get it done; we’re happy it’s done. One thing we made very clear in that meeting – we are locked in tight on Obamacare.

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