Ben Cardin: Obama Is Not Going to Negotiate With a Gun to His Head

Democratic senator from Maryland discusses the impact of the government shutdown.
3:00 | 10/02/13

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Transcript for Ben Cardin: Obama Is Not Going to Negotiate With a Gun to His Head
This is a special group. I'm Dan definitely -- ABC news digital special report date -- of the government shut down. An impasse between Democrats and Republicans. Looking bleak as ever and this afternoon we are joined by senator Ben -- Democrat from Maryland senator thank you for your time this afternoon. I want to ask you -- the press conference today with furloughed workers of those 800000. If -- -- house Republicans enough is enough do you -- other Democrats. Essentially are winning the message. First of all Americans losing -- not his winning the message 124000. Merrill -- -- furlough right now. -- this just review the facts quickly and that is on October 1 we didn't have a budget. Democrats tried to negotiate a budget for last six months weren't able to get it. What is than regular processes to keep government open past the continuing resolution use current year spending until we can get a budget. That's what the senate -- -- and the Republicans. Are responding to an extreme element within their party acted recklessly. And close government that's where we are. We want -- open we wanted to open now. Senator let me ask you this and is there anything Republican caucus in the house. Could offer that would get you to consider a delay in the Affordable Care Act. When you know we're not that I negotiated with gun at our heads that's not the the issue of issues -- and keep government open has nothing to do with the of obamacare. Let's negotiate the health care system we need to talk about changes in health care in America do it with -- Normal legislative procedures but the Democrats are not going to negotiate the president's not to negotiate -- Ghana's that's what Republicans are asking us to do it's not gonna happen. Let let me ask you about this -- because a lot of folks through. Very closely watching how house speaker Boehner as having control of the caucus and I wanted to know from the discussions that -- -- with the Republican colleagues. What has changed over the past 48 hours in the kind of control -- does -- out. What personal I think Republicans were surprised a large number of Republicans were surprised. One speaker Boehner did not follow up procedure that would allow government to stay open. Instead he was responding to extreme element within the Republican Party so the last 48 hours I think the consequences of the shut down -- now here. And I think most members of congress including Republicans understand how damaging this is to our country so we should return to regular order. We've already passed the resolution in the senate. And speaker Boehner puts out before I am very confident that we have a majority of the members of the House of Representatives that will support. They're continuing resolution that that senate passed that will keep government open at latest year's level as the Republicans requested. There is an invitation by the White House -- for congressional leaders senate majority leader Harry Reid will be there along with Nancy Pelosi and minority leader of the house Mitch McConnell John Boehner. I even some of the congressional leadership has. Been reticent to put any kind of optimistic spin on that invitation what are your thoughts. Well first I'm glad they're all meeting. We got to keep government open we gotta figure out a way to get past this impasse. And we have to figure out how we pay our bills so I am hopeful that this will lead to an agreement -- which will not only. Return government. That'd be -- immediately but also figure out a way that we can make sure America doesn't -- its reputation by defaulting on its obligations. Let me ask you about this -- as the Republicans have put forward essentially what's been called piecemeal approach. To finding the government specifically three particular areas defining parks and monuments. -- veterans affairs and services and also DC services in Washington DC. What is your response to that kind of an approach. I -- -- what they're doing. That we still have -- shut down -- government are they saying shut down as OK I think some Republicans believe that. But I don't believe that the American people don't believe that that's -- it cost us money the last shut down. That occurred in 19956. Cost -- two billion dollars this is crazy that's open government it's not some agencies that's all agencies. What about the possibility that this shut down of course something that a lot of folks didn't see as a real possibility as early as three days ago. And now in its actuality. What is the possibility they could actually run into that debt limit deadline of October 17. Well I think we will we will figure out a way to continue pair of bills. It is beyond belief that we want to permanently damage America's. Credit worthiness which we'll have a huge cost. On interest -- in taxpayer. Expands it will damage America's reputation permanently. So I would think that we would avoid that at all cost so we are dangerously close two weeks away. That's why I'm hopeful that today's meeting in the White House will also give us an avenue forward to raising the debt -- we should do that just do it. It's not spending it's paying -- bills would argue how much. Let me ask you this thing is in the in the back of your mind if a compromise is reached on this budget impasse right now. And a short term solution of six weeks of funding is reached on both sides there. In the back of your mind is the concern about October 17 deadline looming as an approach that perhaps Republicans may want to revitalize. There defeating efforts of Obama care. A well is the president indicated that's not gonna work again we're not to negotiate health care on paying our bills these are expenses -- -- that occurred. So we wanna get government open we will we -- -- -- a six week extension. At the level the Republicans asked for so we're -- to to prove that the president is ready to sign it. We also want to pay our bills and we think that needs to be done and has -- done and responsible way and that's not a forum to negotiate. The health care system health care system let's talk about it when health care bill before the house will for the senate and let's work together to improve health care -- American. Senator thank you for your time senator Ben Carden Democrat from -- we appreciate you being with us today.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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