CHICAGO (CBS) — There is no sign of a breakthrough in the federal government shutdown, which entered its eighth day on Tuesday.
CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley reports that President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner spoke by phone, but there was no progress to end the standoff.
In a lengthy televised news conference, the president said he told Speaker Boehner he won’t negotiate an end to the budget impasse under threat.
“Members of Congress and House Republicans don’t get to demand ransom for doing their jobs and two of their very basic jobs are passing a budget and making sure that America’s bills are paid,” Obama said.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson spent part of his 72nd birthday marching with federal workers in Chicago, who are out of work because Republicans refuse to fund the president’s health reform.
“They’re cutting back on public assistance for food, education, housing and education,” Jackson said. “America must not shrink to this challenge to the American health care act.”
Rosie Carter works in the Social Security Administration.
“People are angry because they have a job to do just like us.
Juanita Harris is working but isn’t being paid..she says 60 percent of her social security office was sent home.
“Our personnel department left, our warehouse staff had to leave, our disability area that handles claims for the disabled, they were all sent home.”
Harris says it’s immoral to hold the government hostage. The workers say they will return to rally in Federal Plaza every day until the shutdown is over.
With federal workers now off the job for eight days, attention is shifting to the Oct. 17 deadline to raise the debt ceiling. Some Republicans are demanding budget cuts and tax reductions in exchange for raising the ceiling.
If the debt ceiling is not raised, the United States could default on its bills.
“We can’t raise the debt ceiling without doing something about what’s driving us to borrow more money and to live beyond our means,” Boehner said.
The president said insolvency would mean chaos, but Republicans would be to blame.
“It is a big deal and no one should be getting concessions for ensuring the full faith and credit of the United States should be retained,” Obama said.
The president said he was willing to accept a short-term agreement to get the government running and increase the debt ceiling.
Some Republicans accept that, too, but not without a framework for deficit-reductions talks.