In an interview Monday with National Public Radio, President Barack Obama excoriated GOP efforts to defund his signature health care law, and made it clear that Republican leaders are wasting their time if they think he will negotiate over that or the debt ceiling.
NPR's Steve Inskeep asked Obama what he could offer as a way to avoid a government shutdown, which at the time of the interview was about half a day away.
“Steve, when you say, ‘What can I offer?' — I shouldn't have to offer anything,” Obama said. “They're not doing me a favor by paying for things that they have already approved for the government to do.”
He went on to say he is willing to talk to both political parties about “how we shape a budget that is investing in things like early childhood education, rebuilding our roads and bridges and putting people back to work, growing our economy, making sure that we've got the research and development we need to stay at the cutting edge and that deals with some of our long-term debt issues.”
In other words, Obama's happy to discuss all parts of his progressive, high-spending agenda. Anything other than that doesn't really interest him.
Oct. 17 is the date by which Congress must raise the federal borrowing limit. If the debt ceiling is reached and the country risks going into default, Inskeep asked, “you absolutely will not negotiate, even in that circumstance?” Obama: “Absolutely, I will not negotiate.”
We wrote this week that Republicans in Congress stand to gain in the long run if they show a willingness to give once in a while on issues of the day, instead of placing ideology above all else as some factions within the party would prefer. It's worth noting that Obama, clearly, can make it mighty difficult to get in the giving mood.