(CNN) — President Barack Obama went on a rhetorical offensive against House Republicans on the third day of the federal government shutdown, telling a crowd in Maryland Thursday that there’s only one party at fault and one remedy.
“There are enough Republicans and Democrats in the House of Representatives today that if the speaker of the House, John Boehner, simply let the bill get on the floor for an up or down vote, every congressman could vote their conscience, the shutdown would end today,” Obama said in a speech in Rockville, Maryland.
“The only thing that is keeping the government shut down, the only thing preventing people from going back to work, and basic research starting back up, and farmers and small business owners, getting their loans — the only thing that’s preventing all that from happening right now today, in the next five minutes, is that Speaker John Boehner won’t even let the bill get a yes or no vote because he doesn’t want to anger the extremists in his party.”
He urged Congress to “pass a budget that funds our government with no partisan strings attached.”
He also called on Republicans to support raising the debt ceiling so that the United States does not default on its debts.
“As reckless as a government shutdown is, an economic shutdown that results from default would be dramatically worse,” he said.
Social Security checks and disability benefits would be affected.
“There will be no negotiations over this. The American people are not pawns in some political game. You don’t get to demand ransom in exchange for keeping the government running” or keeping the economy running, he said.
“You don’t get to demand ransom for doing your most basic job.”
Obama was speaking to workers at at M. Luis Construction, in part to highlight impacts of the shutdown on small businesses. Many are suffering in the shutdown because some customers and clients — idle federal workers or agencies — aren’t doing business with them.
The president said the shutdown is threatening the economic progress that the nation has made since the last recession.
“The worst part is this time, it’s not because of a once-in-a-lifetime recession … it’s happening because of a reckless Republican shutdown in Washington,” he said.