Transcript: President Barack Obama’s remarks on the government shutdown & debt ceiling at Martha’s Table – Oct. 14, 2013

Partial transcript of President Barack Obama’s remarks on the government shutdown and the debt ceiling at Martha’s Table on Oct. 14, 2013:

Now, this week, we’ll be entering into the third week of a government shutdown that was completely unnecessary.

And I’m going to have the opportunity to meet again with the congressional leaders this afternoon and I am going to once again urge them to open the government and make sure that the United States government is paying its bills. This is fairly simple, and this whole shutdown has been completely unnecessary.

Keep in mind that the problem is not that the U.S. government has run out of money. The problem is not that our deficits are going up. Our deficits have actually been cut in half since I came into office and are continuing to go down. The problem is not that there is not the opportunity for us to work intelligently to come up with a budget that creates long-term fiscal stability while still investing in growth.

The problem is we’ve seen this brinksmanship as a strategy time and time again to try to extract extreme or partisan concessions. And I think the American people have made very clear that’s not how we expect Washington to do business.

There are going to be differences between the parties. There are going to be differences in terms of budget priorities. But we don’t need to inflict pain on the American people or risk the possibility that America’s full faith and credit is damaged just because one side is not getting its way.

And not only is it untenable for us to continue this shutdown, this week if we don’t start making some real progress both in the House and the Senate and if Republicans aren’t willing to set aside some of their partisan concerns in order to do what is right for the country, we stand a good chance of defaulting and defaulting would have a potentially devastating effect on our economy, sending interest rates shooting up. People – whether it’s Social Security recipients or people with disabilities or business people who are vendors to the government – not getting paid on time.

We’ve already had a dampening effect on our economy because of the shutdown. That damage would be greatly magnified if we don’t make sure that the government is paying its bills and that has to be decided this week…

They can solve this problem today and it doesn’t mean that the differences between Democrats and Republicans go away. That’s what elections are for. But between elections, we’re supposed to be governing and we’re not supposed to be hurting the very people who send us to represent them. I hope that kind of spirit holds true during the course of discussions today and over the next several days.

Thank you very much.


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