House Speaker John Boehner stated Sunday that a majority of his Republican colleagues continue to stand by their demand that any negotiations over reopening the federal government need to be tied directly to talks over Obamacare. The speaker also warned that Congress would not approve an increase in the nation's debt limit unless the president negotiated with congressional Republicans.
Boehner's comments come as Monday will mark the seventh day of the federal government shutdown. And to complicate matters, the White House has warned the country will no longer be able to meet its financial obligations unless its borrowing power is extended by Oct. 17. The speaker said it was imperative for the president to negotiate with Republicans.
"We're not going to pass a clean debt limit increase," Boehner said, appearing on ABC's "This Week." "I told the president, there's no way we're going to pass one. The votes are not in the House to pass a clean debt limit. And the president is risking default by not having a conversation with us."
Speaking on the government shutdown, Boehner said he stood with his fellow Republicans and emphasized that it was important to "stand and and fight" against the Affordable Care Act.
"I and my members decided the threat of Obamacare and what was happening was so important that it was time for us to take a stand. And we took a stand," the Ohio Republican said. Later in the interview, Boehner said Republicans were making this stand now because they believe the new healthcare law will have negative, long-term consequences for the country.
"I have 233 Republicans in the House," Boehner said. "And you've never seen a more dedicated group of people who are thoroughly concerned about the future of our country. They believe that Obamacare, all these regulations coming out of the administration, are threatening the future for our kids and our grandkids. It is time for us to stand and fight."
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Saturday that she has 195 House Democrats who would support a resolution in line with a budget that has received support from 21 House Republicans to fund the federal government. But, for now, Boehner seems to be dismissing this option.
"This fight was going to come, one way or another. We're in the fight. We don't want to shut the government down," Boehner said, pointing to a series of piecemeal bills the House has passed to fund certain parts of the government, but that the Democratic-controlled Senate refuses to take up. The speaker was particularly critical of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and he criticized Reid's negotiating tactic as "my way or the highway."
"That's what he's saying. Complete surrender and then we'll talk to you."