Carney: Obama Not Making Partisan Demands in Shutdown Fight

White House press secretary discusses the GOP's desire to defund "Obamacare" amid the shutdown.
3:00 | 10/02/13

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Transcript for Carney: Obama Not Making Partisan Demands in Shutdown Fight
This is a special room. We'll run down company or with the CBC news digital special report the shot down is now affecting the president's travel plans President Obama -- to -- Pacific tour. Visiting the Philippines Malaysia Brunei and Indonesia. He is already canceled two of those stops and may in fact be canceling all of them and today. He announced a meeting. With the top four congressional leaders white house Press Secretary Jay -- is -- -- -- daily briefing on all of that switch will dip into went against podium but first. Jeff -- as at the capitol -- -- Washington DC in -- -- must start with you the president wants for a meeting. Is there any kind of site -- there might be a compromise and vision. Well not if what we're hearing from all sides is any indication Dan -- the White House put out a statement it when they called for this meeting and they said the president. Will reiterate his call for a clean CR the clean spending bill no attachments to it. -- reiterate his position that the debt limit must be increase that's that more serious deadline coming in just a couple weeks October 17. Without any other stipulations so. Just at the outset the president is reiterating his hardline positions that this -- basically the Republicans indicating to his demands. It was interest in just the statements except -- the -- -- on the Republican side from. Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell. And from house speaker John Boehner basically -- simplest it's great we're gonna have a median. But what's the point if the president isn't willing to make any concessions so it should be. And very interest seen dynamic today at the White House particularly after all the name calling over the past few days -- Let's let's not forget did that speaker Boehner basically mocked the president. On the house floor the other night a remarkable scene in you've seen people like Harry Reid calling Republicans and our guests. Right it's certainly has gotten acidic in Washington DC gentlemen -- -- about it just a couple of moments ago a senator Harry Reid -- is something of a challenge. To speaker Boehner want to play a little bit about. He's sitting on a bill that would reopen the government right now. This bill would pass in a matter of minutes he just let Democrats and Republicans vote. He has have to he doesn't have to vote Portland vote against it. That left the house work its will. I suggest -- at that briefing at what is exactly -- a speaker do I mean can explain why that's so called pastor rules stopping them. Short senator Reid was asking speaker Boehner in a phone call this morning and he also sent a letter to -- as -- that we have -- said look. I will negotiate we will negotiate with -- And what they want here in the short term is to appoint a few senators to join in the house Republicans have been appointed to a conference committee. The group decides. And -- come together to hash out the differences on both sides but senator Reid is -- look I will not appoint. Members of the conference committee unless. Speaker -- Funds the government so we kind of have a -- stand up here we do have a stand up here on both sides that. What senator Reid is calling on speaker Boehner to do. Is. -- violate the pastor rule like you said what's that pastoral named after former speaker of the house -- -- I'm in this has been changed a little bit over the years that basically. It is the -- will not bring up the bill unless he has the majority of the majority we mean that all Republicans basically have to agree to this they will not -- with day. Few Republicans and the rest Democrats but and that's basically where this is -- but interestingly is Douglas talking about the White House meeting. Senator Reid has been against this type of negotiation he is urged the White House privately. Behind the scenes I'm told to not have this type -- -- meeting because just sends the optics that day. Are working together when he in fact believe that they. -- are not but the optics are what's at play here in the White House is very concerned. That they are being brand with not negotiating. So they want to have people in this afternoon at 530 all four top congressional leaders but don't look for any breakers of that meeting him. -- it is interesting to see how within the party is there has been -- unification on the Democrat side but now as you've been reporting -- there appears to be some kind of mixed motivation as far as making any kind of activity like that Jeff I want to ask you about this and the GOP house -- -- try to find individual measures one by one a piecemeal approach. And Democrats are not latching on -- that. No they're not in senator Reid was very clear about that. And Republicans have been trying to get they started yesterday without success last night but they wanted that keep going on -- this afternoon and they said look we will fund this we will fund the national institute of help. The NIH will fund the N national parks will fund veterans programs. We will find some federal programs in DC. And they think it's a you know a no lose proposition the Democrats will sign on -- this but so far Democrats are holding firm and said look we will not form fund the government. Piece by piece by piece senator Reid became very. Animated and angry even at a reporter when asked don't know why not -- the NH what -- -- you know helps someone in cancer prevention. He said who are we to judge you know why should we pick one child over another so. That's the fight that's a preview of the fight -- -- here this afternoon sort of going for the rest of -- He would David Democrats are holding firm the white us has threatened to -- any piecemeal funding approach. All right endeavor I want to ask you about this as far as the that is the feeling of optimism on the hill about tonight's meeting at the white house on. What optimism. Should -- that that apparently seems to be carried a little bit more Aaron as these moments are our art. You continuing on about this. -- It was just a couple comments that Harry Reid had made a couple of moments ago that it really seem to be kind of driving a division between Democrats. That's right I -- -- -- dead Democrats themselves are very. Our editor to play the -- here but Democrats are very tempted. By that things that Jeff was just talking about -- mean in the votes last night and Jeff can speak to this a number of Democrats -- break ranks and did. Vote in favor of some of these piecemeal measures but as. We heard it from Najaf there the president has vowed to veto this said the White House is trying to hold the line they're trying to -- -- send a signal don't even think about voting for. These are Republican. Measures and do what we're gonna be to them anyways so. -- it's going to be a tough. Our top vote for Democrats we heard -- -- senator Tim Kaine of Virginia this morning just as one example. A lot of federal workers in his state a lot of military. Operations there and he was asked this morning on 1 of the morning talk shows. What would you do senator Cain if you were group presented with these -- -- -- bills and he said frankly I don't know. So is some some of these guys are tough spots but I think. As Jeff said it it -- right now they are unified on both sides there's not a lot of movement -- this is the statement that senator Reid had its place. Republicans are already saying they're skeptical what's gonna happen. White House later today what if anything you hold -- them. It's not -- leading. I've been invited me -- go to me. So Jeff. That really does speak with those kinds of responses and what that kind of -- really does speak to the point that you -- making as far as there being some cracks. And -- unified democratic force. And I went -- asked senator Reid right after that Dan. In if you got a meeting was a good idea and he said look the president the White House know what what I think and what Nancy Pelosi thinks it would be good for them to hear from senator McConnell. And speaker Boehner but one of that sort of jokes going around the -- here is. If by the president of the White House is going to meet with speaker Boehner how many members of the of the House Republican Conference would speaker -- -- to. Take with them to have this meeting they would have pattern a fairly large room and that punchline of that joke for people who -- following this bit by bit as we are. Is that speaker Boehner cannot make this decision alone. This is he is largely taking the temperature of his House Republican Conference in this is a group decision. You know sink or swim but increasingly again one thing we're keeping an eye on today is the Republican division much more so than the democratic division in any Republican. And defections -- this the tally is now already up to about a fifteen. Republicans are just hearing you know enough is enough already they may support the larger goal that they are opposed to. You know this keeping the government close their hearing a lot of blowback from their districts. And every anecdotal story you know means that there's more out there are so that is what is going to break this logjam this sentiment from the public. Not a meeting at the White House. And on the senate side -- want to play a clip from senator Bob Corker of Tennessee he was on the floor this morning talking -- sequestration. Other cuts in the original budget here's what he said. What I hopeful happen is we will keep the discretionary lapels that allow boldly Marty agreed to. Ambled take up. Some of those mandatory reforms the president himself authorities that he thinks are and the interests of our nation. And use -- to help us raise the debt ceiling. So what in fact are the odds that senator corker and some more moderate. Actually get those concessions death. At this point I wouldn't say the odds are very good Dan unless the talks actually began but that really is the underlying point here we talk a lot about shutting down the government. People being affected but what is really at issue is at what level -- the government be funded. And Democrats have not given a fairly big concession that's been lost in some of the coverage of this. The Democrats have agreed to those sequester levels but. Republican senators like senator Bob Corker like senator Tom Coburn of of of Oklahoma are very sort of skeptical and suspicious of these -- level so. You you have a lot of discussion going on sort of the -- -- servicer about what the level of funding actually should be but. I'll tell you -- there are no conversations going on about the actual budget. Things happening so if fact if the house would pass a a budget bill to get things going to and I think he would be a logjam break. And then you would. Absolutely have a conference committee and that's where these things could be. Sort of paddled out right now these conversations don't exist we sit here and our senate Booth that's front coming at you from -- or -- -- monitoring the TV's the phones there are no secret meetings going on right now just a lot of waiting. -- any you know I want to ask you about that because there's a lot of waiting and watching of course there is that October 17 deadline is fast approaching. And before the thinking was that that debt ceiling dates might -- a little bit easier because of this shut down debate that was the thinking yesterday. What has changed. Well what is changed is a lot of people are beginning to worry. There's two schools of thoughts on this the one school is a lot of people are reading to worry that these two fights are going to be lumped into one big. The problem here -- -- really just in a couple weeks as I look at my calendar here and that October 17 as the date that's really circled in red. On the -- across the capital now some people think that you know this is given. Some Tea Party conservatives a chance to get this out of their system. That they well the speaker Boehner will entered these negotiations in a a -- for a stronger position excuse me but. You know I'm not sure that that is true this is also emboldened it. Some conservatives and Republicans who do not believe the debt ceiling. Should be -- -- and they have not to I'd given up their objections to the Affordable Care Act so they still believe that. The Affordable Care Act they should get something from this. The Republicans want to get something they think they need something to call this a win so that's what the White House is trying to figure out. What can. You know but what's a compromise what can they concede on a little bit here has. October 17 is the deadline. There will be more talks between now and then that's what the meeting this afternoon as it at the white -- is about. More about the October 17 deadline than this current -- government shutdown. And we do have a shot of the White House the driveway where earlier today in DeVon wants enough you could speak to this earlier today the president did meet. With some CEOs talk about the very real ramifications for -- shutdown. That's right the president has done this from time to time he brings in. The leading CEOs of top American banks we know that JPMorgan's Jamie Dimon who -- attended the meeting. Goldman Sachs Lloyd Blankfein was there as well I'm diamond said going into the meeting you may see him right there he said. Look we just want solution to mean a number of these CEOs are. Right leaning -- guys but they they they come to this mean with the president and they basically say we just want. Some sort of answer we just want some sort of solution and that's the kind of thing that the president and Democrats. That's the sort of message that they hope these CEOs they're lobbyists. And other members of the business community will really start to amplify in the public space to. To put pressure. On all sides to come to some sort of deal which they don't think anybody wants to see the prospect of -- default on the seventeenth. And again just to put this into perspective we're talking about this budget battle is for a six week extension funding apparently this is not for the actual budget itself. That's right and it even as Jeff was just alluding to you heard to senator corker you play that sound -- of him talking on the floor about spending levels in this percent. But as Jeff points out we're not even really talking about that right now everybody is hung up in this debate on provisions in Obama care. And that that's kind of the primary focus of this and you're right this is just -- six week measure right now that we're talking about even if we get beyond this we get past. The debt limit deadline on the seventeenth. Then we begin talking presumably about the 2014 budget -- there's a whole another round of negotiations there so. This is all kind of coming to -- -- right now but there are several battles ahead. Jeff. I want to ask you about this senate majority stake there at the senate what are some of the senior members on the Republican side doing where Senator John McCain -- -- yesterday. He had he had made a brief statement. What's the latest today. -- Senator McCain has been very firm in this he had told me the other night outside of the floor of the senate that -- he said we can't win this fight. He believes that Republicans are for going to be ultimately. Be blamed for this suffer shutting down the government. He believes that -- cooler heads should prevail. And that a pass spending bill emergency spending bill should go forward again you and -- make the point that is may -- being lost here. Only six weeks this is a six week spending bill just to get to the next budget bill to fund the government for the whole year so he believes this -- a bit by bit approach. Is wrong but other senior Republicans I've talked to even some you know much more. And conservatives -- since. Conservatives in this senate caucus say look. You know -- the house should not be driving this they are our leading up and party. In the wrong direction here so look for some of these Republicans we've heard a lot about senator Ted Cruz sort of leading the the drive over. I'm on the house side of the capitol but look for some of these other senior Republican senators to and -- urging there -- members of congress from their home states to. Maybe changed their mind and now free to supple that I think that could happen at this that continues much longer. And senator Ted -- having been criticized by senator corker and some other senior members of his own party. Photographers -- -- -- -- outspoken comments he's made recently the Devin I -- talk you just briefly about the president's travel plans because obvious that Asian trip had already been planned and scheduled out. And a couple of days ago there was not any kind of talk of altering that but now there. -- -- That's -- big changes this is supposed to be a weeklong adventure if you will to Asia for the president -- traveling to four countries. -- nine very late or very early rather Saturday morning an Air Force One takes pretty much two days to get there he was supposed to go to Bali Indonesia. Brunei he was gonna go to -- of the Philippines. And also -- -- four. Right now that trip was basically cut in half -- of the White House has dropped the back half of the trip. To Malaysia and the Philippines basically they said the teams the White House advance teams that we're gonna go to prepare for the president's arrival of those locations had not left yet many of those people are furloughed they're considered nonessential staff. So their hands were already tied at logistically for that part of the trip now the -- Half of the trip they already have teams. And in these countries spending a lot of taxpayer dollars -- ready for the president's arrival on these places. Right now his attendance is still on schedule -- that the various summits at these locations. But the White House has made very clear that that this could get the acts as well. If this drags out it would be pretty unseemly I would think to see the president. Fly so far away -- -- a twelve hour. Time difference at this time you know if if the -- has continued. Secretary of state John Kerry being sent in his place to those two -- That the president ought be your net. I'm Jeff I -- -- ask you about this then what is the what is the sentiment and what is the thought that on Capitol Hill what we'll be. That the final driver that could bring all of these parties together it's going to be if we got here is so much about these personal narratives and he's. If the -- personal stories and affects the shutdown has had. But the same time when it is tight so close that legislation has already passed. Those are two very different driving forces. -- and that actually at the heart of this I sat down yesterday afternoon on the lawn of the capitol. With a three Tea Party Republicans. Who were elected in the 2010 -- of the mid term elections. And I was struck by one thing that they said I was really wanting to know what there. Thinking was what their feeling was if it was worth. A government shutdown vs taking a stand on the Affordable Care Act and to a person they said it was. And they believe that. Only the 2010 election was about health -- -- the 2012 election was not. And it did for the 2010 election was a largely a referendum against the Affordable Care Act so they believe that they are taking a stand. Representing the view of the American people you know the the opposition the criticism of the Affordable Care Act but. I was struck at how. How hardened in their positions they were but another thing we're really hearing -- anecdotes coming into. Members of congress' office of all the stories we've heard -- -- one that really sticks out to me is an air force mechanic. Lives in Omaha Nebraska north that often air force base. He makes a 180 dollars today he didn't make that on Tuesday he didn't make that on Wednesday he's not going to make that tomorrow unless this is resolved. And those stories it was written about in the Omaha world herald. And it's -- it it it's being told here on Capitol Hill will be told later. Is those stories like that people have nothing to do with government and at least directly they're going to know a neighbor who's going you know someone else. When they start not getting paid mortgages and get paid if it goes that far that's what will break this logjam I believe this sentiment from the public. Republican lawmakers tell me that like it's going to be hard to. Hold fast on a principled position. Once they're hearing from the constituents back home again. They're very real effects of that and I now want to go to Jay Carney -- said the body now -- definitely moment. It's a meeting with the leaders. -- I don't have anything -- more Friday out of that meeting today is fat. But things are looking at the negotiations. Have been shut down. More about president Saturday leaders in the Oval Office to just tell us what you heard from him. I think I can answer your question this way a negotiation. In the Washington stands traditionally implies. Give and take trade on us demands. He gave me this I'll take that. He argued that the president's approach from the beginning in this is that he's asking for nothing. Nothing from Republicans is attaching zero. Demands. To the general proposition that congress should simply open the government. -- -- -- He's asking for nothing he is making no -- -- -- He is attaching no partisan strings. To his request that congress to -- its responsibility. To ensure that the United States does not default on its obligations for the first time. In our long history. So in that sense. -- know the president is not gonna sit down and start asking for. Puts and takes he's not going to. Engage in that kind of negotiation because he does not. Want. To hold. Or have hell did. The openness of the government the functioning of the government -- the world and American economy hostage to a series of demands. You know what the president is asking congress to do. What the president is asking Republicans in the house to do is quite literally the least they could. He is asking them to. Extend. Funding at the levels set. In the previous fiscal year to keep the government. That's the least they could. And the speaker of the house. Should hold -- vote. On that. Proposition. And see what happens if he's convinced that. A majority -- all it is. Republicans in his conference will vote no. To. Opening the government to clean CR. In Washington speak to just a build it opens the government. And funds -- at the levels that it has been funded for the previous year then then we'll see what we do that. But my guess is and the estimation of numerous observers and members of congress of the Republican Party is that if John Boehner speaker of the house who has this power alone. Put on the floor of the house a bill. To fund the government to open it up. Without partisan strings attached it would pass overwhelmingly. I think you know that's true I think every member of congress knows is true. And it reflects the simple fact. -- -- Unfortunately -- -- won't do that because he is. Responding to the demands. One faction of one party. In one house one branch of government and every one. He is paying the price of that decision that France is pretty that this place he's not. -- -- that. I look the president said. And he is true to his word that he would be having conversations with. The leaders of the congress about. The essential need to keep the government open -- now in this case to reopen the government and two I'm sure that we do not -- -- And he will have that conversation and. You know we -- we all realize -- you know this is put the Republicans you know they've gotten themselves in a box here in the house and -- but the minute. Typical position and their under a lot of pressure a lot of it applied by Republicans. And there's a simple way out. Do the democratic thing. Pass a bill. See if he can win a majority but it bill on the floor -- -- majority votes yes. Be surprised and delighted by the fact that a number of your own Republicans would vote yes by some estimates quite a number of them. Take that as a win. And move on and then we can insure that the government doesn't rather that the economy doesn't default the United States -- in the fall. We raise the debt ceiling in an orderly fashion without drama and the way and then we can go about. Debating and discussing and negotiating a budget priorities how we move forward how we fund the government no way did. Assures that our economy continues to grow that that. The jobs that have been created thus far in this record recovery seven half million private sector jobs are added to. As soon as quickly as possible with more private sector jobs. And put to votes you know different propositions about how we should do that have negotiations discussions but it to a vote. But do not mean it is profoundly undemocratic for. You know one faction of one party. To say. I didn't get what I wanted to the normal legislative process I didn't get what I wanted. Through the Supreme Court I didn't get what I wanted. When the American people nationally voted. And so I will therefore hold the government hostage in the economy hostage. In order to achieve. Miami -- I don't think. That's good for our democracy and it's certainly not good for our company. And I think you heard. Lloyd Blankfein is -- head of the financial services forum. Say that you cannot use. US obligations to repay its debt as a -- And there's a consensus this is again quoting him based on reports I've seen I was not out at this stage but there's a consensus that we shouldn't do anything to hurt this recovery and that's a consensus among. Yes CEOs who might not otherwise. All agree politically. With the president because this is about. That shouldn't be about partisan politics. We keep the government open we pay -- bills yes. It's it was yeah. Getting started a. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- The optics of different could be brought torrential down and plant -- decision on the Indonesian. Well hey you're right that it was -- logistical decisions related to the shut down it was because of where. Assets weren't people -- in the fact they had not been. Deployed to those two countries -- which were scheduled to be at the back into the trip and there -- because of the shut down and made it. Logistically. Necessary to cancel those two stocks -- assets and personnel in the first two countries. And as of now we you know continue to -- we. Intend to have the president make those. -- You make that make that trip because. It is important it is fair whether or -- that we -- day. Once again I'm not gonna get it's been had Saturday it will obviously evaluate this as each day goes by. You know -- speaker -- to do what I just talked about we -- government would be up and running by. By dinnertime so. So. There remains the opportunity here for that. -- hypothetical would be moot. And we hope that it is because you know it's important. Responsibility of a president to. Travel and conduct foreign policy to conduct -- discussions about economic growth and -- investment in the United States and our economy that creates jobs. -- -- that that the two summits that are taking place in Indonesia and Brunei. They offer opportunities both economic opportunities and security opportunities in the United States. And that's why it. A trip like this for any president. Is useful and important to the American economy in the American people so I can't give you a prediction about. What things will look like Saturday except. -- to say that I hope. You know the majority. Has an opportunity to speak. And House of Representatives. Yes. -- the second page offers meeting. The second day well he spoke with the speaker. Not long ago. He's made clear his views and you know what we've seen over the past ten days -- the Republicans being quite involved with their own internal politics and you know with. Directions in the senate and you know dictates from one body to the other about what the proper course of action should be. And to the president again has had discussions with leaders he looks forward to discussion today. But unfortunately as I mentioned yesterday he does not despite the awesome power and responsibility of the presidency of the United States. Have the power to. Order up a simple vote to see if it gets -- majority on the floor of the House of Representatives that is -- power that the speaker of the process. In our democracy and and he should exercise it. And I think he would be surprised by based on reports from Republicans. What the outcome would be he might even be able to claiming -- a majority of his majority. Or something close to it so. We won't know unless he does what we're absolutely sure what happen is that a majority of the House of Representatives would vote to open government. In five minutes if given the opportunity. -- The president was willing to -- the government shut down. Response to house Republican demands alternative for the care. We -- be willing to let the country going to fall. -- I completely. Have to dispute the the way friend that question he's not willing he's not he is not the party to this that is making. Extraneous partisan -- he's asking for nothing from the Republicans he thinks it would be wrong as I said the other day he could if you were playing that game. That's small game. That game that does not look at the interest of the United States -- looks at partisan interest. He would he would -- he'd say you know what we need to this is my opportunity even though I haven't built a consensus yet for. Two. You know eliminate for example the subsidies for oil and gas companies that taxpayers pay you know that's been something he thinks is the right thing to do. He knows that you know that that's something he's asked congress to vote on you know that some things that Republicans have rejected and successfully prevented from becoming. Law. That he could sign but he took the Republican tactic and basically. Try to circumvent. Normal democratic process here he would say I'm not gonna open the government I would I would. Refused to sign likely I would I wouldn't sign -- clean CRI would only side if it if it had my partisan demands attached to my personal. Principal demands attached -- he won't do that he will not play the game republicans' plan which is a game that has as its principal. Victims. Hard working Americans who are home now wondering when they get to get back to work wondering if they'll ever get paid. Four this time off. And and then even more frightening you folks out there including -- CEOs who were here today. Wondering why. The world economy and the American economy would look like if we defaulted for the first time because we know. One thing it would not look pretty. The impacts would be. Catastrophic according to the IMF and others. But says it's never happened. We don't know quite how catastrophic it would be and we do not we do not want to and we should not even contemplate. Trying to find -- you. Wikipedia with the president. Not go with the government shutdown what we did it cost him it is -- -- -- -- to Julie we don't. Believe that's -- decision and needs to be made now that's speculation has there's an opportunity for the house speaker to place on the floor now hold -- -- See how the majority. -- see -- the majority votes. And if it as we expect. Those -- in the government. Without partisan strings attached and -- your question is answered. So sick. Mark. Anderson president is willing to negotiate. And isn't willing to entertain. Ideas for me over here why should we see these talks and that. Because they're not about that he will not negotiate he will not off. Two Republicans in exchange for not tanking the economy -- -- today's today's meeting is about. The need to open the government. And they need to ensure that we do not the fault. And the -- make clear that he will that he is healthy and willing -- he has been all year around all year long to engage in serious. Conversations and negotiations with. Republican lawmakers who want to find common ground on our budget challenges -- -- -- what he is not willing to do is. Negotiate. Under the threat of default. Or under the threat of continuing to shut down the government. Congress has a responsibility to open the government again. There is that Republicans have had ample opportunity. Two. Repeal. Defund. Delay dismantle undermine the Affordable Care Act. Ample opportunity and they have taken advantage of that opportunity and voted I've lost count. Forty plus times each time they have not succeeded. But you know. Hope springs eternal I guess and they can keep doing it but -- one way to do it as I think you know some people wrote about today is to. Continue to argue your case take it to the people see what they say when they vote. In the next election see what they say when they -- in the next presidential election and then. Pass legislation. But just because you can't get what you want through the American democratic process doesn't mean you should subvert that -- process to achieve what you want when your -- minority. Within. One party in one house. Of one branch of government -- is is just wrong that the American people don't deserve this. This serious conversation you're willing to have. That doesn't happen today or you know I didn't see -- have to -- -- four series are positioned for a gift okay. -- -- the president cannot negotiate about who I don't how we can. Come to an agreement on. Our budget challenges how we can I come to an agreement about. Funding necessary priority to ensure that we grow our economy and ensure that the middle -- is protected and expanding insure that our kids are getting the best education possible and -- ensure that we reduce our deficit. In a responsible way as we have -- doing by the way since President Obama took office. You know that's. That the president hasn't been willing to do that all year long and he has reached out as you guys reported on repeatedly. Two Republicans who have been. At least -- who suggested they were open to finding common ground who who suggested they were open to making the same kind of compromises that the president proved he was willing to willing to may. But he won't. Negotiate on behalf of the American people and the economy will not. Negotiate. -- under threat of continuing to keep the government shut down or defaulting on our obligations for the first time it is you know different precedent here when it comes a default. Would be monumental. And monuments -- -- that for the future of the American economy. Imagine. Why it. This process would look like. If every time the debt ceiling needed to be raised a minority of one party's representation of one house to dictate to the president of whichever party. Demands they couldn't achieve through the congressional process the legislative process and if they didn't get what they wanted. They big -- the world economy. It's it's the wrong thing to do and -- I -- Connolly while. Again. -- and I know you know this there has been one occasion in our history since the debt ceiling was in place. When a participant to negotiations. Used real and tangible threat of default. As part of this negotiations and raising the debt ceiling that was in 2011. And we saw the consequences and they were concrete. And they were very native and that was simply the threat of default prior to that. The debt ceiling was raised. Without the threat of default without drama or the way. And that is how it should be because. It's too serious matter to. I suggested we should leave open to question around the world. Whether the United States of America will pay its bills whether you know treasuries that investors -- sovereign governments by. -- are ever going to be rebate check ups. -- These same prison -- concerns. Years ago. Do that city's -- Think I don't think I said that I says -- -- House voted today John Boehner decided but the majority speak and vote and be heard and they voted today to. Open the government has I'm sure they would. Then they ought to move very quickly to ensure that the -- -- raised without drama and the way our position has not been. To negotiate the mechanics by which they do it they should just do it without making threats. And without. Attaching partisan demands -- it critique of these here's the maps to -- that's where. The. First of all we completely reject the Venezuelan government's allegations that US diplomats were in any way involved. In some type of conspiracy to destabilize the Venezuelan government. Our officials were conducting normal. Diplomatic engagement and as we've said many times we maintain regular contact with people across the Venezuelan political spectrum. This action. By the Venezuelan government is clearly an effort to distract from its domestic problems and is not a serious way for a country to conduct its foreign policy. As the State Department said. The United States has taken reciprocal action by declaring three Venezuelan officials persona non Grata. Brought to -- rather including the Venezuelan charge -- affairs and at their embassy here in Washington. And the Venezuelan consul in Houston I'd refer you to the state department for further details about the actions we've taken. You know we would like to reach the point where we are able to make progress on areas of mutual interest. Like counter narcotics counter terrorism. And economic and commercial ties. But getting there would require a demonstration of seriousness on the part. Of the Venezuelan government in Caracas. -- -- big deal -- actually come -- me. Curious. He Ewart said that -- are looking into the abnormally high traffic on there site yesterday ten million page hits. -- state with only forty million people. Is there any evidence are concerned that a state or federal exchanges -- the victims of hacking campaign. Perhaps an attempt to stymie. -- I have not heard that I -- I would refer you obviously to New York for whatever. They may be looking at and HHS I -- I think what we aren't confident is that the high volume we've seen around the country the four point seven million unique visitors in the first 24 hours to health care -- Reflects the extreme interest -- The opening of the market places and -- opening of the opportunity for. Individuals to shop for and select. Affordable health insurance for the first time so. You know it's I -- yesterday's first class problem there's no question that. The volume was so high continues to be so high that that has -- -- cause some delays. But it is related to those delays are an arm. View related to the high volume and and and we are working on them. To ensure this. -- fixed and the process becomes -- more more smooth for visitors to the website every day. And it's similar vein people who cover health care for us tell me that this morning you're still falsely. And exchanges. What is the level of concern. Or is there any concern that this would discourage people. Especially young adults. Who are key -- success of the program at least something. -- would be more easily spirits. Well I'd say two things it is as I mentioned. A good problem to have the -- interest in these first two days exceeds what we anticipated. And you know we have. An extremely competent team. The developed a very user friendly web site and they are working on. Process. Gets improved every day. It's important to remember -- answered your question that this is a six month process and were in the second day. There are something like -- 180 days left. For people to enroll and anybody. Who experienced difficulties or delays in getting on the site yesterday or browsing. Or enrolling should know that they can enroll -- Have their insurance. Kick in on January 1 that's when that's the earliest that insurance with -- for these. For several months when people enroll -- enrolling for the opportunity to have their insurance available on January 1 and then the entire enrollment process last six months so. We welcome the interest we think it's -- reflective. The fact that there are millions of Americans out there. Who want. Better options more affordable options for health care coverage and the Affordable Care Act is providing these marketplaces are providing enemy I. If you're an individual when you're looking at these going on health -- gov and you check out. The plans available in your state for you. There -- on average. More than fifty options so take some time to review them and everyone should make a considered choice about what. Plan is right for them and what plan fits their finances and what subsidies are available to them if they have low incomes. And you know that's of the process goes to war and I think it's worth noting that. This is why. At least -- Italy this -- is about. Right shut down the government. They say the house Republicans. If you don't deprive. These four point seven million Americans who at least had an interest in -- dot -- in the first 24 hours and the millions of Americans. Who have the opportunity to. Purchase affordable health care health insurance for the first time. That opportunity that's their position. And this has been litigated -- debated -- -- one senator one well known senator the Republican Party said. You know obamacare hasn't been debated. Where he was. Win this debate went on for months. On Capitol Hill. And it has since passage of course continued and in the subject. Election debates and. Legislative actions and judicial actions and Supreme Court action. So I think it's been today and it is certainly entirely appropriate and find ways the president and the rest of us rest of us it. Opponents of obamacare want to continue to press their case through the normal legislative process and yes our democracy works you you you take a position. You you try to get. That position adopted by as many people as you can -- your legislative body -- you can succeed in. Changing the law. And if you can't. You go back to the drawing board -- can try to continue to build support for you and then you have more elections and try to have. More people who see it your way elected and then try to have a president who sees it your way way. SO works but just because you didn't get what you want at the polls that you didn't get what you want out of congress and you didn't get what you want -- Supreme Court. It is not. The right thing to do to then say well. Then because I have this unique power and influence over my speaker I'm gonna tank the economy I'm gonna shut down the government. That's what their argument that's your position and that's why there's so much heat on Republicans now that's why there isn't so much of the story we're seeing now -- Republican saying this is. Bad for the American people -- for the middle class bad for the economy and bad for the Republican Party. -- -- To this meeting -- the president's not willing to negotiate business and what will he say what can be safe area. Needed to move this process forward -- -- Keep. Will I'm sure. Express. What I have just express which is his concern about. The impacts of -- shut down his concern about that devastating impacts of even the threat of default. And the catastrophic impacts. Default itself and he will. I think ask. The leaders to consider. The fact that he's making no demands of them in this process he's attaching no. Demands to. And he proposed legislation that would open the government. At current levels like these are not you know levels that the president -- but that the president asked for these are current levels of spending. No increases and then he's asking for. The congress to. Simply. Authorize the treasury to pay the bills that the congress is already charged in this would be like wonderful. And I thought about it this -- Heatley. You make a purchase on your credit card. The moment you do that because you have a contract with the credit card company you have incurred death. The bill comes due in a month. And if you don't pay that bill you have defaulted. But in paying that bill you have not -- new debt. You -- simply. Paying what you. And congress has authorized. Spending. He -- both through the annual discretionary appropriations and remanded Terry mandatory programs. And because of those legal obligations that congress has established. We have -- that we must pay. And congress has -- -- and house Republicans -- -- and that if they don't get to take insurance away for millions of Americans. They -- the United States pay either it's bills. And meet our -- and the profit -- -- prices what's going to be there again we can't. Force. House Republicans. To vote the way we think they should. We the president -- and he will. Make the case for why it's the right and responsible thing to do he will make clear to them. And his willingness. His yearlong willingness his presidency -- -- sit down and trying to find compromise with Republicans on. -- surprise. And ways to reduce our deficit and responsible. Manner and but he won't. You know he won't. Allow. The American economy in the American middle class to be held hostage the partisan demands of a minority. Within one house of one branch of government is appropriate for the president -- congress can still be getting paid 8000. Workers. But the law stipulates. How this works with our view is the government ought to be open. The government ought to be out of -- AM. With coal -- and -- well let's let's let's be shut down let's let. Let's be clear about how -- -- bush understands is not. Like furloughs caused by. You know in in. Previous. Issues people who are accepted and are working are not paid. But they are guaranteed that they will be. You know elected members I believe our guarantee that they will be data are currently being paid by law. Then there are those who are -- furloughed across the government. And of course it would take an act of congress for. Then to be paid for the time that they were laid off because of the shut down they were furloughed because of the shut down have we certainly hope. Congress would do that. But you know it is. Our our view is that shut down and right now when John -- -- to the -- to a vote clean CR and gets a substantial majority with both of Republicans and Democrats voting on and then they they should as part of that. Make sure that those who. Don't know whether they'll be paid. Are made whole again and that should happen if it happens today that's -- -- tomorrow that's great but in any case we would envision that has the right thing to do. Isn't -- part of frustration with Washington revolves around that went to mention -- sentiment noting you're aware that some people are concerned about making and -- won't -- as comfortable as easy as he moves in Washington is not working so why are we going to. Well I would say that. That's why it's so important for congress to do the right thing attached no partisan demands to a simple vote to open government ensure that. Those hundreds of thousands of hardworking Americans neighbors and fellow worshippers. You know. Friends who are on the sidelines of our kids. Baseball and soccer games. -- have the security of knowing. That paycheck is coming. -- -- -- he's been meeting with the -- -- DO. His things dealing certain financial crisis is there any concern about a conflict of interest President Obama immediately. I would -- -- Department of Justice obviously isn't was here is part of the financial services forum was in. Town and the president's part of this a group of CEOs from the financial services industry and. -- house Republicans -- who do vote. Findings. To reopen. National -- museum that is what Orioles. Veterans. Papers the the DC government why why why. How's -- begin to -- it is because that's not how this works it's a gimmick and it is unsustainable and it's not serious. And the lack of seriousness in their approach has -- this demonstrated again and again and again. And this is yet the latest iteration that if they think that those functions ought to be open. Both -- from the government we're not asking anything from -- Democrats are not asking anything from them in return for making that simple. They ought to get. But the people -- prison just talking about let let let's let's. Send them back to work there -- neighbors they're our friends. They go to church and synagogue with us -- you know it they're good people who deserve. The security. Being able to work for their families and knowing they can pay the bills and -- all the various. Effects of the shut down both large and small. Both serious and just inconvenient can be resolved. In a minute if the speaker of the house. -- to vote. What's he afraid. Busiest busy is he afraid that. 25300. From you know members of the House of Representatives will vote to open government. Without partisan strings attached without. The insistence of the Tea Party that they get. Dismantle. A law that's passed both houses -- and sign an -- by the constitution and litigated in an election. You know what's what what is the fear here what is the problem -- -- Simply allowing. Members of the house. To vote on opening -- the -- government. Most people -- want the issue to -- progress is the fairness issue. That some people in small groups have been getting. Well -- is weavers. And don't believe is on voter mandates and obamacare whether individuals happened. If he brings. The meeting is a global. All that suggestions they discussed for a long time is absurd image that speaker Boehner and -- that the folks who are. Trying to undo. And kill obamacare anyway they can. Are not -- and improving it are delaying it to make it better their interest in. Doing what they said all along -- used it to repeal it get rid of it. There's that but the fact is. The Affordable Care Act is here this day. It is being implemented as we speak for the past three years the benefits of the Affordable Care Act have already been felt by millions of Americans by seniors. By families who have their. You know kids up to the age of 26 now on their insurance policies by. You know millions of Americans who have gotten rebates from insurance companies because of the provision within the Affordable Care Act it. Makes the law that these insurance companies. Spend a certain percentage of those premiums on health care and not on. -- CEO salaries and advertising and other administrative costs so. You know that's a -- as we know that's a ruse the president certainly interest in having discussions about how to improve the Affordable Care Act to make it better. As it provides insurance options for the first time the millions of Americans. But. You know that the the call to delay the individual responsibility provision -- individual mandate that's -- that's an attempt to. Get rid of the -- care because everyone knows who knows anything about how the system works. That provision is essential to ensuring. It every member in your family who as a preexisting condition cannot be told by the insurance companies that -- at a lot. Remember the consequences of this policy position and and we can debate it. And we should. In elections and and floor of the house and sent through the normal means. But it is completely inappropriate. To try to get what you could not get. Through the normal democratic process. By threatening the faith and credit of the United States. -- threatening to keep the government shut down. Not. Open the door noted that he's notebook market referred to president signed into law allowing. Men and women in uniform be paid -- happens. Now Republicans are saying what one -- also pay out better benefits and other things you did open the door at least a little bit to some people being paid. The president believes has obviously. Virtually everyone in congress believes that our men and women in uniform I need the reassurance that we -- and Washington. Have their backs and just like they have hours. And that is why he signed that bill. There is no question that there is there are problems created by the government being shut down there is no question that there are inconveniences and real hardship. And if Republicans are sincerely concerned. About those problems. To have an option here which is to vote to open the government. Full stop just do it don't -- The theatrics and a you know the gimmicks. Only cause the way. When the options available to. But -- simple bill on the floor keeps the government open. That's spending levels set in the previous fiscal year so they shut the government down over the spending levels a week ago. They didn't say a month ago this is unacceptable were shut it down. So why this week. Why -- wire the spending levels from last year suddenly so. Unacceptable. That -- shut the government down with all the negative consequences thereof because they -- on ideological -- and because the party has been hijacked by. A faction within -- and I say that quoting Republicans. I say that. Not to score a point but to make an observation that I think is widely. Held here. But people of both parties and people who are independent observers. And -- and it has negative impact. On the normal functioning of -- -- democracy. When you talk about theatrics wanna flash points and this has become what happened yesterday that's. The World War II. Here -- rather just area. There's allegations Republicans at the White House no problems speaking somehow ordered this. Put up barricades to prevent better get -- -- -- going to -- all that you can you please tell -- from the public when your version of what happened. The government shut down. When the house republic. -- decided to shut it down and every house Republican who has decried any impact from the shut down as if they were surprised that it would happen. Clearly didn't pay attention and every agency of the federal government posted on their web sites on Friday. What would happen if the government was shut down including the closing of national memorial and national parks. I mean on -- very eve night that they voted to shut down the government some of the most vocal. -- critics of this particular matter were quoted as saying we got what we want it well. Apparently it did. Look we honor. Our World War II veterans and I would point -- to. You know decisions made the actions being taken by the Department of the Interior and National Park Service to ensure that these honor flight. Participants are able to. Have access to that memorial but the fact is. You know when you shut down the government -- You know -- shut down a lot of services YouTube you lay off a lot of people and there are. In bad consequences to that so there if they if if any member of congress to you know -- from a television camera to try to. Get some attention on this issue spent half that time. On the floor of the house voting to open government. We would have a problem. Peters -- aren't there are some. Do you DR veterans are they now allowed to see the way he says there are companies -- -- someone and you're saying look the government shut down. Tough -- the Republicans haven't voted to open it. But then on the other hand you're saying we are making companies what is really happening -- Department of the Interior in the National Park Service obviously. The sources for more specific information but the -- has made an accommodation. For the -- flights and will grant access to the World War II memorial. The idealized granted a permit for the veterans that is consistent with the existing closure order. Eli will remain in contact with the honor flight organization to ensure that veterans scheduled to travel to DC -- provide access to the more memorial rather. You know my understanding is that the closure order provides a process for accepting. First Amendment activities on National Mall and memorial parks. In DC and in Philadelphia. And again for more. You know more detail on on that process that is going to allow access for these veterans and heroes -- -- -- -- to -- and national. Last -- Here this -- issues and was asked 5% Grassley countries think right now -- things that vote. I don't feel that I can make sure I can guarantee you hear people it would be much more difficult to me guarantees -- status shut down -- five. So want -- get your perspective is this. Is the country less safe now or is this James clapper trying to scare people. To put pressure on Republicans I would just point -- to that testimony of the edited and I I. You know what -- set up -- our essay why not. The person charged with making an assessment. I would I would refer to Anderson totally weird SA weekend energy believes that we -- -- open government and that there are bad route you know their bad impacts. Some of them quite serious some of them just inconveniences from. You know partisan decision to shut the government down over. -- peak about the fact it. They have many -- -- do away with the Affordable Care Act. And so but for. -- we're what we're focused on. Trying to undo this. -- -- it. Make clear that there's a simple way to do that which is to have a vote and let the majority in the house -- side. And so that we don't have to. A day from now a week from now or. Hopefully. Two or three weeks from now not have a discussion about -- what has been the result what happened the consequences. Prolonged shut down. Offices 70%. In telling -- -- It's here that's going to be -- real concern. -- -- and I don't really I don't you know every agency is has the -- information as I understand it about why it. Happens with. Shut down and and you know I would refer you to each agency and again for those agencies to make assessments about what the immediate effects. Shut down our you know I don't. I don't have anymore information on that than. Certainly the director provide its. Well -- I was taught you about him. -- -- -- barometer for owners of what's negotiable and what's not. The president would be willing to negotiate on a yearlong. Budget right and -- -- reading it if we win. -- -- think this negotiation members of congress -- great leaders coming in here. Were to negotiate a a year long. Budget -- and another six weeks the year long fighters from there be some give and take you negotiate data and then. You know slap on the these were right raising the debt ceiling and and and be done within and Republicans can pretend there were negotiating on -- -- but. You know as far as you be concerned you'd really be talking about your about it. Look. The issue here is holding. The threat of default if you don't get what you want. And that is absolutely reckless and irresponsible. And as others have pointed out. In discussions we've had about efforts by Republicans to say it somehow commonplace to make that threat. And has been over our history there's no question -- -- in different means by which. The debt ceiling has been raised you know attached to different bills I'm not gonna speculate about the mechanics of doing and our concern is -- that it get done without drama or delay. And without the threat of default. So that's -- to we have already shut they have -- the Republican in the house of -- that we are living under shut down they have already shut down the government. It is. You know maybe in some. Idealized. Washington -- 2013 we could negotiate a yearlong. Budget compromise. In an hour we're too. But the fact is we need you know the congress needs to the Republicans need -- the government. And remove the threat of default so that we can get about the business which I'm sure -- be contentious. But hopefully successful if you know intense. If everybody sincere in their efforts to negotiate a longer. Budget deal and you know whether it's you know how long it is -- and what it contains obviously -- Be decided by the process itself but right now. The -- to shut down the government. Right now we're roughly two weeks away from the first default in our history. -- the Republicans need to do the responsible thing. Presidents not asking anything in return. For them filling these basic responsibilities. And and then we can and the president looks forward to. You know having discussions and debates and negotiations about how we move forward and. Six we -- you right back where we are six weeks because it makes sense. OK let's do -- all right now through your own. And I under the threat of continued shut down and not under threat of default here opens of that page right now you want. That there is there is no scenario under which it would be anything but bad for the economy. To. Hold the economy hostage to the threat of default while you're involved in negotiations over trying to get what you want. In our long term in a long term budget deal. That's the kind of damage to the economy that we can't afford we saw what happened in 2011 it's reckless and irresponsible it's wrong. And the only like. He you know the -- Part of it is is that you know obviously there -- some members on the hill who think it's good for their personal politics it's good for them in their districts. And that's all they -- care most about. But there's no question that at the broad level nationally it's terrible. It's terrible for the economy's terrible for the middle class it's clear we should not consider today's music. Not in the sense that the president would make any demands on congress in return for their willingness to simply do their jobs and -- -- So that is Jay Carney. Briefing the press today now date to the government shut down and this Auckland before the president will be meeting with congressional leaders tonight. Majority leader Harry Reid minority leader Mitch McConnell along with house speaker House Minority Leader all it's got to be at the White House this afternoon. We will continue to live stream Jake party's press conference. To reporters this after -- but before we let you go. Jay Carney had been asked questions about World War II veterans making their way to the World War II memorial yesterday despite the government shutdown which closed a lot of -- all the parts cross country. And some -- did make their way to the more yesterday and today a very similar scene. And different today. Members of congress Republicans and Democrats -- from the senate and from the house greeted these World War II veterans that were coming and on an honor flight from Chicago. Making their way of World War II memorial. That you. The and -- of course we'll leave you without it a complete report on abcnews.com. As -- entering day two that the government shut down. -- -- on Dan Butler New York. I.

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

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