Less than two hours after President Barack Obama turned up political pressure on Republicans to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the president was looking for “unconditional surrender.”
Boehner said Tuesday, “The president said today if there’s unconditional surrender by Republicans, he’ll sit down and talk to us. That’s not the way our government works.”
The Ohio Republican addressed reporters just outside his office to rebut Obama’s earlier press conference. His message to the president was clear: The ongoing government shutdown and pending debt ceiling deadline would not be resolved without negotiations.
Boehner said “It’s time to have that conversation. Not next week, not next month — the conversation needs to begin today. The long and short of it is, there’s going to be a negotiation.”
Boehner ducked a question on what would happen if Congress found itself in the final minutes before a debt ceiling breach without an agreement, reiterating the need to talk.
Obama placed a call to Boehner earlier in the day, to reaffirm his position that Republicans should pass ‘clean’ bills, with no strings attached, to end the government shutdown and to increase the debt ceiling. Boehner said it was a “pleasant” conversation, but he was left “disappointed.”