House Speaker John Boehner on Sunday flatly refused to schedule votes for full government funding or to raise the debt ceiling without concessions from Democrats, asserting that the House couldn’t and shouldn’t take either step without addressing problems with the new health care law and the nation’s debt crisis.
In an exclusive interview on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” Boehner said he does not know how and when the current standoffs will end.
But he made clear that, in his view, President Obama and Democrats in Congress are to blame for both the government shutdown and the possibility that the United States will default on its debt. The speaker reiterated his demand for negotiations with the president to find a path forward on both fronts.
“The American people expect in Washington when we have a crisis like this that the leaders will sit down and have a conversation. And I told my members the other day that there may be a back room somewhere, but there’s nobody in it,” said Boehner, R-Ohio.
“We’re interested in having a conversation about how we open the government and how we begin to pay our bills. But it begins with a simple conversation.”
The president has said no talks are possible until government operations are fully funded again, and has ruled out entirely negotiations over the debt ceiling.