Obama Makes Surprise Visit to FEMA Amid Shutdown

U.S. president puts the Federal Emergency Management Agency's lack of funding in the spotlight.
52:58 | 10/07/13

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Transcript for Obama Makes Surprise Visit to FEMA Amid Shutdown
This is a special group. I'm Dan -- for -- New York with this ABC news digital special report President Obama making unexpected trip on day seven shut down. He spoke at the Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA asking congress and the shut down with a straight up or down vote FEMA. Is one of the many agencies impacted by the -- 86%. Of its workers are for a load. The president's. And -- want to say thank you to all of you for the incredible work figured don't. I think it's important to understand that the people here -- have been doing everything they can to respond. Two potential events -- -- -- in touch with their state and local partners in case resources are needed. FEMA remains prepared for natural disasters year round -- supplies pre positioned in distribution centers across the country. But their job has been made more difficult. -- thanks to the folks FEMA. We were prepared for what might have happened down in floor. Nevertheless the government is still shut down services are still in erupted. And hundreds of thousands of hard work and public servants including many -- professionals. Are still furloughed. Without. Pay or they're not a lot of work at all so Craig was just explain to me here. At FEMA about 86% of the FEMA workforce. Is -- In response to the potential event. That might have happened down in Florida and along the coasts -- called back. 200. Of those workers. Keep in mind calling him back to me American -- just means they had the privilege of working. Without pay to make sure that they were doing everything they can to respond. The potential -- of their fellow citizens. Now that this particular storm has dissipated Creag is going to have to -- furlough. At least a hundred of those folks were called back. So think about that hear your somebody who's a -- professional. Dedicated to doing your job. At a moment's notice -- -- on the show up here. In case people got in trouble and respond to them even though they are not -- paid even though you don't have certainty. And now you're being put back on furlough. Because the government is shut down. That's no way of doing business. That by the way just speaks to the -- today. Emergencies that may come up and that is FEMA job to respond to Craig was also explaining the fact that. When it comes to training first responders for example. We have on a weekly basis. Already scheduled training for first responders that now have to be rescheduled. You'll probably end up ultimately -- and government more money for us to put those things back together again. And so not only -- -- shut down -- FEMA workers not only is it making it more difficult for us to respond to potential natural disasters. But it may actually end up costing taxpayers more than it -- Right now congress should do what's in the best interest of the economy. In the American. Growth -- jobs. And providing vital services that Americans all across the country depend -- including the services that -- provides. I heard a lot of talk over the weekend that the real problem is is that the president will not negotiate well let me tell -- something. I have said from the start of the year. I'm happy to talk to. Republicans about any. Related to the budget. There's not a subject that I am not wounding -- and work on negotiate. And come up with common sense compromised. What -- said it is that I cannot do that. Under the threat that if Republicans don't get -- percent of -- way they're gonna either shut down the government. Or they are going to default. On America's debt so that. America for the first time in history. Does not pay its bills. That is not something I -- -- we're not gonna establish that -- We're not -- negotiate under the threat. A further harm to our economy and middle class families. And I got to negotiate under the threat of a prolonged shutdown. Until Republicans get a 100% of what they want. -- and negotiate under the threat of economic catastrophe. That economists and CEOs increasingly worn would result if congress chose to default on America's obligations. Now. The other thing I heard over the weekend was this notion that. Congress doesn't have the capacity. To and the shut them. The truth the matter is there are enough Republican. And democratic votes in the House of Representatives right now -- and the shutdown. Immediately -- no partisans strings attached. How should just hold that vote to back. If Republicans speaker -- saying there not enough votes -- mission -- what the bill go to the floor and let's see what happens. Just vote. Let every member congress vote their conscience and they can determine whether or not they want to shut the government down. My suspicion is my very strong suspicion is that there are enough votes there. And the reason that. Speaker Boehner hasn't called vote on -- because. He doesn't apparently want to -- the government shutdown and at the moment. Unless he's able to extract concessions that. Don't have -- do with a budget well. You know I think the American people. Simply want government to work. And there's no reason that there has to be shut down in order for the -- negotiation speaker mayor says he wants to proceed. Hold about. Callable right now and let's see what happens. The second thing congress -- to -- is to raise the debt ceiling next week so the treasury -- pay -- bills that congress has already spent. That's what most American -- -- buys something they buy car they buy a house. If it puts -- -- a credit card they -- got a paper bills. This is something routine it's been done more forty time since Ronald Reagan was president. It is never before been used. In the kind of ways that the Republicans talking might use -- -- right now. We can't threat and economic catastrophe. In the midst of budget negotiations so authorized the treasury to pay. America's bills pass a budget and the government shutdown pair of bills and prevent an economic shut down. And as soon as that happens I am eager and ready to sit down and negotiate with Republicans -- -- range issues. How do we create more jobs are we grow the economy -- -- we boost manufacturing. How to make sure kids are -- -- first class education. All those things will be on the table I'm happy to talk about healthcare. Have -- talk about energy policy. How do we deal -- -- long term. Fiscal situation. All those things I've been -- And an anxious to talk to Republicans about for the last seven months not put out a budget. That specifically. Lays out my vision for how we're gonna grow this economy and I expect the Republicans should do the -- And we can negotiated but we shouldn't hurt. A whole bunch of people. In order for one side to think that it they're gonna have -- more leverage in those negotiations. Last point I'm gonna make. The bill that is being presented to -- the government shutdown. Reflects. Republican priorities. That's the Republican budget the funding levels. Of this short term. Funding bill called the CR. Is far lower than what Democrats think it should be nevertheless Democrats are prepared to put the majority of votes on to reopen the government. So when you hear this notion that Democrats are compromising. We're compromise -- so much were -- to reopen the government at funding levels that reflect Republican where issues. Don't at all reflect our wishes for example here FEMA there are still subject to the -- so even before the -- They were having trouble. Making sure that everybody was staying on the job and fulfilling all of their various functions. We need to get that sequester lifted its been hanging over the head of the economy and federal agencies during the course of this entire year. This short term. Legislation to reopen the government doesn't even address that. That has to be down in a broader budget -- So Democrats have said we are willing to pass. A bill. That reflects. The republicans' priorities. In terms of funding levels. That's a pretty significant compromise. Or not won't do. Is to create -- permanent pattern in which. -- you get your way. The government shutdown or America defaults. That's not how we do business in this country. -- -- start. So again I want to thank -- but it -- here for extraordinary work -- -- your door. You show each and every day that you take your -- -- seriously. You do your jobs within the consummate professionalism. And hopefully you're setting a good example for members content. They need to be doing the same thing. And they can then there's no reason why aren't we all can't move forward and make sure that we're taking care America's business are -- mature -- -- Presidents -- acting -- -- in Washington DC in an impromptu trip that he made there. We're cause and the events that happened over the past a couple of days because obviously -- the government shut down in this furloughed employees. 200 employees had to be called back by the FEMA director Craig few gate because of that impending storm tropical storm Erin. That was threatening the Gulf Coast. Those employees were called back in there to help Atlantic -- -- preparations are warnings for something along those lines and the president -- to highlight their commitment. Despite in the fact of being furloughed that they were in -- called back into service because of that storm. I'm I -- bring it she shot a Walsh who is at a DC bureau on this and and cherished the president. Went out on Friday. So that lunch that a lot of people were paying noticed you -- -- highlighting some of the way it. People that are either for -- load or various parts of the government have been affected by this shut down and today. This is yet another example. Right and he's -- calling out the Republicans and specifically speaker Boehner saying. That he does believe there enough that -- -- reference saying directly to George Stephanopoulos -- interview with with John Boehner yesterday on this week. -- John Boehner said that there are not enough votes to bring -- to the -- -- Tipped pass and it. You saw the president just. Few moments ago saying that's not true. He believes he says eat his words were his strong suspicion that there is enough votes there and the ABC news -- is -- when he -- Republicans that would support a clean it. Vote on the CR and so it's looking as though. The president is correct that there wouldn't be enough obviously combined with Democrats vote to pass a clean CR and so that's what you're seeing the -- calling out directly. And what equipment -- that for further negotiations about the possibly tied to the debt ceiling. Right and you saw the president certain words there really foreboding saying that he wants a clean vote on. On the debt ceiling also because of how serious it is it because of that he doesn't want to see the the country default but what we're seeing from even the group. Republicans that would support clean CR that the -- when it comes to the debt ceiling be do you want some for negotiation where they want either spending cuts or other sort of been tiled or foreign tax reforms. And so this is really the next by and it's a much more serious one. You know this is about the government shut down next fight is about whether we're going to -- are not. And -- October 17 deadline next week shows where we at with proceed right in the house or the senate today. Right and just one more note on that which she's just see the saw the president say is that he he in his message there really was that. The Republicans say I'm not willing -- -- negotiate but. If they pass these 2 things I am willing to negotiate I am willing to sit down have a conversation he -- even on health care and so she wants to really put out that message that he isn't. That he is willing to have a conversation he is willing to negotiate even -- the Republicans including. John Boehner just -- -- said he's not willing to sit on top. Yet that and that's a that we haven't heard the president say before but this visited relying on some of those issues in those areas that he -- right -- to have discussions about. Right right and so that's a little bit of news -- I think specifically saying that he would. Be willing how conversation on health care which he's not willing to have now we obviously we know that house Republicans -- -- Government is shut down because they want any extension of obamacare one year extension on the health care which started last week. In order to get that that government 30 didn't he saying the president's obviously think that that's not negotiable right now that he is -- have a conversation on health care after. The government is reopen and there's a vote to increase that. -- so what is good for the house or the senate today. Will boat that don't have don't open up until 2 PM and so that's -- gonna see the first movements eyeing the house or the fact and really need to -- The vote were waiting for on on the senate side toward -- -- house. Is getting those furloughed workers back pay what during this time the government shut down. Want to go to out to Jay Carney Press Secretary at the White House now briefing reporters agency -- the American people. The hard work to continues there despite the effects of shut down there as elsewhere. And on then about the need for congress to. Pass a budget open the government. Pass a bill so that the United States can pay its bills. And therefore. Not continue to do. Or threaten. Damage to our economy. Before I take your questions I just wanted to know that earlier today president received another update on. The effects of the shut down. From Alyssa master Monaco rob -- And Sylvia -- well. One of the items that they noted is that in total we have now seen head start closures in six states. Alabama Connecticut Florida Georgia. Mississippi and South Carolina by seven grant -- who operate approximately 100 centers and serve 7200. Children. Now this comes on top of the 57000. Children cut from head start this year in every state in the nation. Due to the harmful effects of sequestration. Again. There are multiple. Negative consequences to the shutdown of the government the choice made by house Republicans to do this. And those effects are being felt in this the second week since they made that choice Julie pace. You. It says he's willing to negotiate Republicans on a variety of topics after they -- that -- you aren't that great. Morning the White House would be willing -- Somehow in more specific term. -- what they're actually. She got me included and bill are somehow put it in -- not -- way -- speaker Boehner a little bit calmer me take two. Let me say two things about that and I appreciate the question one is the president hats. Laid out specifics about what. He's willing to do and willing to negotiate. In his budget. Which is broad and specific. And the president said at the time when he released his budget that he knew he would not. I get it passed. Verbatim. That it more negotiation and compromise would be required. But what is also required in this case is a willingness by Republicans to compromise and negotiate. And the president. Has been open to negotiation. All year long and -- remains today when it comes to. How we make our choices to fund our priorities in our budget do make those choices in a way that ensures our economy grows. Make make those choices you know in in a way that ensures. -- our economy grows. In a manner that most helps the middle class because. The stronger our middle class. The better the country does that is what history has taught us. So. You know the door -- open all year long and and you know again and again and again. Republicans. Have when he came to the process in the senate and the house that they demanded refused to appoint. Conferees for that regular order to continue and for the negotiations to take place there. And even in the meetings with the president some of which were very productive and thoughtful. Republican lawmakers never came back with. A compromise proposal of their -- but he is ready to do that. Just not under threat of shut down not under threat of default. Those are fundamental core responsibilities of congress that they need to fulfill. And he won't you allow the American people and economy and the American economy to be held hostage. Two ideological demands. In return for the -- this simple functions. Let me also say that when it comes to. Putting up bill on the floor of the house. Which the speaker could do today to reopen the government because. Apparently everyone but the speaker is confident that that bill would receive a majority. In the house and would receive votes from. Republicans as well as Democrats. That would be simply doing. Would be simply extending government funding at levels that Republicans sat. Let's let's be clear that Democrats in going along -- A temporary continuing resolution. To ensure the government wouldn't shut down and now to ensure that it would reopen. And allow time for further negotiations. Is not some sort of you know fulfillment of democratic priorities you know that everybody here covers of budgets -- those that. Democrats and the president have asked for. And believe it it's necessary to have additional funding beyond the level set by. The CR but. Have made no demands associated with that none whatsoever zero. What exactly is that you're making plans before the checked out and dozens and be happy. Speaker Boehner and -- understand you know where your me. Politics and how it seems to be making it difficult for him -- -- -- on the floor. Feeling there is anything you do you. To lay out something specific makes -- -- Protestant Boehner and house Republicans. Of negotiation afterwards something specific that they want that we get behind the political cover patients. Your question contains within it but I think. The essence of why Americans hate the dysfunction here because the suggestion is that the speaker of the house can't do the obvious and right thing. Because it is internal party politics. That they did assassin do that this has to do with you know. His job as opposed to the jobs of those who have been. -- -- the jobs of those. Americans. Who would be out of work if we were too. Allowed -- the house Republicans and Republicans in congress were to allow the unthinkable which is a default on our obligations. And I and I and I -- -- you don't want to believe that that's the case days. You know the Republicans and the speaker have had said -- they've. They staked out their position that they insist on getting something out of this some extracting some political concession. In return for. Opening the people's government in return for paying. The bills they racked racked up and what the president saying is we can't do that because that would be. Putting in jeopardy that the stability of our economy for the long term and it would do great harm to. Our democratic system if every time. It was necessary for the United States to take action to pay its obligations. A minority. In congress -- faction of one party in one house -- one branch of government could. Make a series of ideological demands and refuse to pay our bills of they didn't get it -- would be regardless of party that would be true -- Republican or sitting in the Oval Office. And the roles were reversed its it's a precedent that. Should not and must not -- Every -- -- in this question. And Libya and what benefits are actually an international waters. Well I I can obviously. Confirm -- -- Did mr. you know Abu -- -- Olivia was. Arrested and that he is in US custody I don't have more details for you. About. Where he is. The operations were conducted as you know by the US military under the authority conferred by the authorization to use military force from 2001. Which authorizes the use of military force against al-Qaeda and associated. Forces. You know this. Operation was made possible by the superb work in coordination across our national security agencies and the intelligence. Community. The fact of the matter is is that Abu -- -- Libby has been indicted. In the southern district of New York in connection with his alleged role in Al qaeda's conspiracy to kill US nationals. And to conduct attacks against US interest worldwide which included. Al-Qaeda plots to attack US forces stationed in Saudi Arabia Yemen and Somalia. As well as the US embassies. In dar salaam Tanzania and Nairobi. Kenya. And so that. Indictment has been pending. And you know we believe in a system. There. Brings people to justice through. Through indictment and and that's what you know we're witnessing now. Thank you. Earlier today. National Economic Council directors to its Burlington. Didn't wouldn't rule out the possibility. -- Debt limit increase that would last for only -- relief. You can shorten that time in the news talk further. Would you would the president accept something like. -- Steve. Well I -- question because there's been some I think particular misunderstanding about this we don't at the White House. Get to raise the debt ceiling we don't get to set that. Time -- under which the debt ceiling is raised for the duration. Raising of the debt ceiling. It is our view as I think both those. Officials stated this morning. Did. Since the whole purpose of this argument it's to remove uncertainty the uncertainty created by the threat of default the threat of not raising the debt ceiling. That the longer you raise the debt ceiling for the better. And we would support efforts under way. In the senate but senate Democrats to move a bill a clean bill that would raise the debt ceiling for a year. That would certainly. Be viewed here as. Something we could support. But. We don't get to make those determinations what our position has always been and has not been -- -- for a certain amount of time. It has been raise the debt ceiling without drama and -- So whatever the duration. Our position will not change which is raise it. So -- the United States can continue to pay its bills and continued to. -- sure that. The world knows that we are good to our word and we fulfill our obligations. And when he comes up again. Our position will still be we will not negotiate over congress' responsibility sole responsibility. To pay the bills that congress racked up. So the hope that -- -- so I think the way to view this is really around the -- certain. And I think there's -- and destructive. Past experience in our recent past here too. Demonstrate how this works in 2011. Republicans in congress decided really for the first time -- -- history to threaten default if they didn't get what they want. Out of negotiations over the budget. And that threat. Once. People realized it was real. Cause significant harm to our economy. -- not happen. But the threat other cause harm and it was measurable harm and it included a downgrading of the United States for the first time in our history. Eight months ago. The congress. Essentially the same congress. Extended the debt ceiling. Without drama without delay without. Making a lot of ideological demands. And they did it. Until you know for a period of time that we're now running up against now but. I think if you look at that period when they raised it earlier this year. You saw that not only where there are no harmful effects to our economy there were positive impacts if you can. They acknowledge that. The lack of drama the lack of uncertainty about raising the debt ceiling contributed to this sustained economic growth that we've seen in contributed to the significant job creation we've seen this year. There's there's this -- -- We saw what happened when you mess around with this when you threatened to fall in 2011 you saw what happened when congress does what it has traditionally. Which is raise the debt ceiling without making these kinds of threats. So certainty is what it's about. Here this weekend said that there would be no increased investment. Without concessions. President UConn contradicting a -- of time a host of occasions where he himself has said we would never default. Republican leaders in the senate and the house have long said that they would never allow us to default and now we see. The leader of the Republican Party on Capitol Hill saying that he will not raise -- debt ceiling if Republicans do not get what they want. That's highly reckless reckless and irresponsible. It is. Astounding really if you think about it. On October 7 given how little time there is -- that the speaker of the house is. Announcing to the world that he will not allow a bill to raise is that debt -- to pass. If Republicans don't get their specific demands. That's very easy hey hey John I'm having a conversation here I'm sure -- -- -- surely you'll represented what speaker saying in a minute but. But no -- -- he he said that he would not. I think mark you ask the question why you wanna eat what you say what is your understanding that the speaker said. The speaker apparently said that -- -- still the case again. -- not. Residents feeling what happens right -- And our position is this is too important to attach political demands. Demand political concessions. In return for filling -- responsibility. By congress to ensure we pay our debts and we do not -- -- -- the rays over the weekend. Apparently ready in Somalia. Failed to capture the intended target. Can you talk about whether the president ordered that specific grave and whether he was. -- -- -- -- -- can -- that that the president approved both operations. In both Libya and Somalia I think it's important to note that although they occurred at the same time. These were separate operations approved separately. And when an approval like this happens there is obviously discretion given to. Commanders as to win a initiated to fill those missions. So it is coincidence that they happened at the same time. I think it's important because there's a lot of inflation of the two to make that point. Separately on on the mission in Somalia most most of question most of the questions about it I would refer to the department. Defense but I can confirm that on October 4. US -- military personnel were involved in today in a counterterrorism. Operation against a known Al -- terrorist and as you know and has been reported no US personnel were injured or killed. And again for more information about that operation I would refer you to the Department of Defense. I'll let John -- what speaker says that. And it is fair to say though it would help. If you had a short term debt ceiling increase to turn down temperatures him. Both sides a little room into the talk about this -- I think I'm glad you're asking -- I know that you've been. Remarking upon this as if -- huge news the -- that none of it but not the case but seriously it's it's art or but I -- happy but I understand it's been out there. -- that our position has never been to. Stated that that's going out to be raised for a certain period of time our position is ought to be as bin from the beginning that the debt ceiling ought to be raised. Without drama or delay and that the problem. Around these votes has always been. The the uncertainty created by threats. At least in 2011 in this year by Republicans not to raise the debt ceiling not the -- not to fulfill their. Obligations here to ensure that the United States as a default unless they get what they want and they have a list of demands. So again so I think it what my two colleagues -- Reporting -- -- as and I -- there might be some kind of conciliatory language coming out of this white house with respect to I guess an increase -- whatever like all all I'm saying is that. Here's AB if you want congress that no right -- Not only saying that we are we have never stated and we're not saying today that that's healing ought to be -- can be any particular length of time it is our view that. The longer pay it. It was a longer debt ceiling increase. A more substantial debt ceiling increase that then. Averts another kind of confrontation like this for -- longer period of time is a good thing and we would support what. Senate Democrats are initiating now which is of a bill that would extend the debt ceiling for for a for a year but. Whether it's for that period of time -- a shorter period of time. What will not change is the congress the president's view that. He cannot and must not. Allow for you know -- ransom situation to occur when it comes to that fulfilling that responsibility so. You he will not -- he will make no demands from congress. Will ask for nothing from congress in return for congress raising the debt ceiling. And that will be true this time and it will be true next time whenever that is so I'm not I'm not ruling out. The specific duration and I wanna make that clear I'm just saying that actually our view is that -- no longer is better because we continue to have these. -- we at least of late continue to have these. Suggestions from Republicans that did that they would threaten default if they don't get what they want and I think that congress whenever it. Reaches a determination about what it's going to do here and in terms of how long. They'll raise the debt ceiling has to taking to consideration also when they want to have to deal with this themselves and it's no. Mistreated those who have covered the congress or understand how it works out those who have worked there that this is not a pleasant vote for a lot of members. And in the past there have been. -- times when congress has increased the debt ceiling for eight. Longer duration for that reason as well as some of the others that I mentioned -- this administration know what -- debt default would look like. It would look -- Jim I think we know from what it looked like. Look I think that there are independent reports out there about what the consequences of default would be. I would refer you to the department of treasury for more information about our view but -- you know we're not. -- hard pressed to say with any specificity. You what the catastrophe would look like since it's never occurred before. We know from the 2011 experience and -- you saw that report from the treasury last week what even the threat of default. Can do to our economy and I can do to our economic growth and our job creation. What -- can do -- confidence. And the willingness of investors globally to. Invest in the United States so you know we know those consequences would be severe. I don't think anybody is credible doubts that when you hear some talk about. Suggesting -- kisses. Somehow. Default would not be so bad -- they really. They're really wrong and I don't think any credible economists are. Financial institution. Would. Would take those kinds of claims seriously. -- you know who's been -- president over the years. So that we won't go into default. On our -- that we did that you go. -- wrong. Yes because. You look at I don't know if -- saw him -- organization the priority is -- his default by another name. If you pay some of your bills but not not all your bills you're in default. On the bill you don't -- Period and when you're the United States of America Poland let's keep it local here. If you pay some of your bills and not all of your bills you -- in default on the -- he didn't pay more over your credit rating becomes worthless. Even though you paid some of your bills because you haven't paid the other ones so the next time you try to get along. You can say why I kept paying my mortgage I know I didn't today. The phone company in the -- and the the the you know electrical company and probably didn't -- my cable bill but I pay my mortgage and and they're gonna say will you gotta -- all your bills that's how you maintain credit worthiness so the fact of the matter is. -- organization is the fault. And as the Treasury Department has laid out. -- they run out of measures. To. Postpone. Default. And that will create. A scenario that we've never experienced before -- if the house if the congress the Republicans in congress. Do not fulfill the responsibility to ensure that we pay our bills. John. It would the president be willing to negotiate. The situation where the there were no longer be the threat. -- an increase in the -- where. Republicans would offer -- mystery for negotiations it -- have a permanent increase. That's. Not sure. I'm not -- that that -- is available are on the table and I'm not sure what you mean exactly if that if the Republicans act. And it and allow congress to act to raise the debt ceiling for whatever duration. That obviously meets the condition the president is set and then he is willing to negotiate an. Assuming they also act to reopen the government but that he that that creates the situation the president says. Yes he will negotiate yes because he has yet that's the view the thing that is so important to remember is that. The president's been negotiating and and demonstrated a willingness to negotiate all -- law. And in a process that Republicans demand. Demanded at the time must take place. When he came to. Congress passing budgets the house and the senate passing budgets and then. Those budgets which obviously were different the 1% -- house being. You reconcile through a conference. The -- OK let's do that in the Democrats in the sense that OK let's do that. And that was a principal demand of Republicans in. The negotiations last year. And of course once we did what they -- they -- for refused to do what they said they want to do which was. Allow conference to take place where those budgets could be hammered out -- the differences could be. Eliminated and -- compromise could be reached. The president is is very eager to start that process again. But not under threat of default and not under threat of continued -- -- back to what the speaker says that he and they are not going to. They are getting into specifics and demands that -- not -- Clean -- would increase if the speaker of the house sticks to that position are we going to default. -- you have to ask the speaker of the house. He speaks he sticks the well it is very little Honolulu that position are we going to involved. If you're saying if this -- attaches to the debt ceiling increase a recognition of you know. -- the importance of motherhood we might you know. Except that but what you're saying. I'm trying to be funny -- -- laughs apologize. It's been a long -- are -- but the here's -- here's the that we will not. We're not gonna negotiate over the con Congress's responsibility. To raise -- -- so if he's what he had what he and others in his leadership have said is that they want. Concessions. From the president. Presumably because they couldn't get them through the other legislative or electoral means concessions from the president in return for raising the -- That dynamic. Amounts to if you know an attempt to extort from. The executive branch and from the Democrats in congress. Concessions in order to. Prevent default and and that's off the table we -- not gonna what we're not doing that because the damage to our economy. In the long term -- to the ability of this president and future I mean this president's successors and future congresses to ensure that we you do not. Become a laughing stock internationally because we. Either come to the verge of brink of default every quarter -- every year what we do default every quarter every year. You know we cannot have that so the president is making clear that. He's not asking for anything in return from congress. For you know for congress to do -- job when it comes opening the government -- levels of spending Republicans and he's not asking. For anything in return from congress. For congress to do its job and paying our bills so we -- go to the ball well again. The president's position is clear the Republican position has changed. With you know. Every new day on the calendar so I don't know. I can't predict with speaker will be what I can say is the president's position has been consistent from the beginning. Two quick ones. What what was the speaker of the house not telling the truth when -- there aren't the votes to pass clean. What we -- been done -- what counts here among especially among Republicans. I am simply noting. They -- there have been published accounts. I think more than twenty now house Republicans said they would. Okay AB CS when he -- So house Republicans that. Have said on the record in public that they would vote for a clean CR the one that. Pass the senate or it. If you add that to that Democrats who would vote for a clean CR. You have the majority you -- and I I would note. Did other Republican. Members of the house. As well as other Republican commentators and political folks who know a lot about. The Republicans in the house have said that at least that many would vote for a clean CR if house speaker would allow it come to the floor and so we. You know as as I think we responded over the weekend or yesterday. When the speaker said that. I think he should if if he doesn't believe in -- he's sure that he's right that the majority doesn't exist then he should put it. To the to a vote why not vote -- just vote right what's that. -- we can resolve this both the dispute over whether you know who's right who's wrong if there's a majority which is. -- smaller dispute. And we could resolve the -- if he would simply allow it to come to a vote. Austin. On how many people have attempted to access. The website -- health care. CIA. -- You. Facts and figures I have as of now I still have -- the first 72 hours. Health care dot -- had over eight point six million unique. Visitors as you know there were seven times more users on the marketplace web -- that first morning than have ever been on the Medicare doc. -- at one time he's people sign up. We I'm glad you asked that question because. -- clear about it. When it comes to enrollment data. You don't want to clear this up. We will release data on regular regular monthly intervals just like was done in Massachusetts and just like what was done is done. When it comes to Medicare part. What I can confirm right now is that people are signing up through federal exchanges. But we're not going to be really network this is an aggregation process in -- in -- release. Data on an hourly or daily -- -- weekly basis will follow models that have existed in previous programs including. A similar program in Massachusetts including Medicare part. On regularly monthly intervals huge numbers of traffic when you go to -- People. It is these these are this is large volume there's no question that there's large volume and -- -- these -- rough estimates about the volume. One of the reasons why we've been able to -- why we've. Provided information about the fine is because that is the principal reason why we've had slowdowns and and other issues that we've had to try to resolve. To make the consumer experienced. Maybe eight people mentioned the January experience read this as you are probably aware it was a -- agreement a -- -- rumors continue to monitor this press. Discuss and some of the issues today Syria and destruction the chemical weapons after that resolution. Was agreed to by both Russia and the United States and -- that coming under great laws by secretary of state John Kerry and also the simultaneous raids occurred over the weekend. In Somalia. And Libya as well but for right now as we're gonna continue to watch the press briefing at the White House I -- bring in our political director Rick Klein talk about some of the developments that we heard Rick on this. President Obama just a couple of moments ago so that he wants an up or down vote in the house and that's really what -- has been that the rest of his message lately. He insists he's insisting that the votes are there. That's right -- speaker Boehner opened -- door to this he told George Stephanopoulos on this week yesterday the votes aren't there to do a so called clean bill to extend government funding through the end of the year. And now the Democrats have a huge opening to run through and say prove it. They know what we know we've -- on the record 195. House Democrats who say that they're willing to vote for we have 21 house Republicans say they're willing to vote -- that's 216 votes just one shy of an outright majority there a couple of Democrats who didn't sign that letter likely to be in support and there are many many Republicans. Who would like to see this this shut down and but aren't putting their their names to paper yet so almost certainly house speaker Boehner is wrong and he almost certainly knows it that's why we're not gonna see that vote and that's why this pressure from Democrats now to say look it's so simple if you are confident of your prediction schedule the vote. Is an effective argument. And that is why the president made this very strong statement on its that's exactly right in -- and they're swarming on this. Congress doesn't have the capacity. To -- -- shut down. The truth the matter is there are enough Republican. And democratic votes in the House of Representatives right now to and the shut down immediately. Now responding to that Rick. House speaker Boehner. Has been repeating that phone call that he had with the president and in some senses mocking him somewhat now -- the tone but the message as well. That's the -- they met face to face he he was told by the president that there are not reveal any negotiations over and over and and we heard speaker Boehner yesterday on this week. 22 times used the word negotiations in describing what he wants. He just wants a phone call from President Obama so that is the Republican position right now is that they want to start negotiations but we've heard from the White House over and over again. You can't even begin to talk until you reopen the government. And extend the debt ceiling so they can even agree on that the precursors for how to begin negotiations both sides are still -- in. And I I gotta say you know there's some maybe a couple of encouraging -- say that we can talk about but it's remarkable to me that the talking points haven't changed at all over the last week. Today's press conferences and in dueling statements could have been issued a week ago before the shut down just as easily. And the fact of the matter is the Rick is that obviously -- -- debt ceiling as being very closely tie as the days tick on. To this deal. That's right we're only ten days away so the longer the shut down goes the more kind of drags in. That's added -- the debt ceiling and draft behind it and the idea that Republicans are gonna have to give in. On on and on both of these items at some point it will -- the government at some point -- will give in on the debt ceiling almost certainly. Caving wants is one Republican said to -- is going to be easier than -- twice cell. That that suggests that you have something bigger on the table the key is -- Republicans need something out of this they're not just gonna giving you don't see white flags. Raise all the way up in politics it almost never happens that they need to hang out something needs something -- the president. That's why these pleas for negotiations are what we hearing from Republicans they want to. Gets the negotiating table be able to go back to the -- their members is that look this is what we got out of this we got these reforms got these changes we got these considerations. But ultimately we know how this is going and we just -- -- yet. And Rick what does this I'm hearing about the possibility from some Republicans -- idea out there that they would support raising the debt ceiling. Just on a short term basis -- 66 week extension. Well the idea is that it did flirting with the debt ceiling has much more serious consequences and flirting with -- government that having -- project on government shutdown as dom and it's wasteful and it's and it's silly in a lot of ways but he debt ceiling. Running up against that that is very serious business he could have the market's crash you can send the economy into another recession -- financial chaos. Worse than we saw 2008 and Republicans know that. So the idea that they're using that as a negotiating tool as much as that is appealing to Republicans because they know that the president doesn't want that to happen either. The if you take that off the table it gives you a little bit more wiggle room and if there's a feeling in congress that you can get something gates now you can get some of the entitlement reforms that Republicans want you can maybe get some changes. The Obama health care law taking taking off pieces of it. That could fuel a sense that well -- better off just not fighting this today we have seen Republicans over and over again. Dig in in the Obama era but also strategically retreat at times is going to be one of those episodes and what is speaker raiders -- -- the bad idea that's a -- six week extension. He is sticking to the the idea that this all has to happen at once and he's been telling people privately that he still like to see something big happened and he knows that the only way to make that happen is when you have -- leverage points it's hard to create bigger ones now. With these two things going on in government shutdown that's a week old and now ten days out from it possible that the -- the speaker doesn't -- to say that to happen he also wants to reopen government. He also knows that his members are pushing for real results and that they're not -- -- give in and he may not be able to deliver the votes ultimately on something like the debt ceiling if he were to cave now. On the continuing resolution to keep the government open. And the house the senate both in session this afternoon. They -- back and it's not so clear what they're voting on one item that is likely to get taking care of in the senate the house -- voted on it over the weekend is to make sure that all. Furloughed federal employees will get paid when this ends -- -- -- pro forma it has been practice in previous shutdowns it would give peace of mind to be. 800000 or so folks who were now being told to stay at home because they're nonessential personnel the rest of their they're rather in the federal workforce were always going to be paid because they're considered. Exam in an essential personnel but -- 800000 folks most of mark making huge livings off the government. It would be very important step to them the signal that they're going to be taken care -- that raises the question again about why the other parts of the government are being funded if you can take care of that and why not the clinical trials of the National Institutes of Health. Why not food stamps and programs like that that effect for people that that -- very critical for their livelihoods so it's a little bit of a slippery slope but there is a consensus in Washington to at least make sure that these folks who were caught up in something that is not of their own making. We're taking care of when this ends. Back to that -- were to have a lot of Republicans and house -- saying well want to have a piecemeal approach to funding the government then. -- -- that from from house members and senators it looking into the problem with that is that it's hard to to juxtapose priorities if you could agree generally with the entire federal government should be doing. To pick one -- pitted against the other invites press releases like the ones we've been seeing over the weekend congressman someone so. Loves federal workers and wants to support them but doesn't support veterans are dozens -- sick children. And those are false choices and and it's a tough political circumstance to be in. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- On -- that -- New York with this seems digital special report.

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

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