- (Photo: Reuters/Larry Downing)
President Barack Obama said Friday the Republican-led House was "trying to mess with me" by passing a bill that would cut off all funding for his health care law about 10 days before the government runs out of money to operate.
"They're willing to plunge America into default, if we can't defund Obamacare," the president said soon after the House passed a government spending plan by a 230-189 tally.
"They're not focused on you," CBS News quoted the president as saying at a Ford plant in Kansas City, Mo., on Friday. "They're focused on politics. They're focused on trying to mess with me."
This is not a "banana republic," Obama added. "We don't run out on our tab. We just can't not pay our bills."
The bill will mostly likely be rejected by the Democrat-led Senate unless the provision defunding the Affordable Care Act or "Obamacare" is removed. The White House could partially shut down the government on Sept. 30.
"Any bill that defunds Obamacare is dead. Dead. It's a waste of time, as I've said before," the leader of Senate Democrats, Harry Reid, was quoted as saying.
"I will not negotiate over the full faith and credit of the United States," the president told the crowd. He said Congress should raise the debt ceiling with "no obstruction, no games, no holding the economy hostage if you don't get 100 percent of what you want."
Obama also said the Republicans should not threaten to "blow the whole thing up if you don't get your way."
"Our message to the United States Senate is real simple. The American people don't want the government shut down, and they don't want Obamacare," House Speaker John Boehner was quoted as saying.
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi accused the Republicans of trying to deprive millions of Americans of affordable health insurance. "Either you don't know what you are doing, or this is one of the most intentional acts of brutality that you have cooked up – with stiff competition for that honor."
"It's up to Senate Democrats to follow House Republicans and show some responsibility," House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was quoted as saying. He also said the House would consider a one-year debt ceiling measure containing some other conservative-backed proposals, which may also include pushing off of Obamacare's implementation for a year and approval of the Keystone oil pipeline.
Fla. Senator Marco Rubio applauded the House action. "The American people support defunding Obamacare and oppose shutting down the government," Rubio said in a statement. "The House voted today to follow the will of the American people and the Senate should now follow suit."