In Rockville, Obama warns of economic damage of shutdown, default

President Obama continued to ramp up the pressure on House Republicans over the government shutdown, accusing them Thursday of "careening from crisis to crisis."

Appearing at the M. Luis Construction company in Rockville, Md., Obama warned of the impact of the shutdown on small businesses and the U.S.'s economic recovery.

"The worst part is this is not happening because of a once-in-a-lifetime economic recession; it's not happening because of some financial crisis. It's happening because of the reckless Republican shutdown in Washington," Obama said.

The  president's remarks, in a campaign-style event before a live audience, aimed to galvanize public opinion to pressure the GOP leaders in the House to embrace a Senate-approved budget plan that would keep spending at fiscal 2013 levels and reopen the government.

Obama demanded several times that Republicans "hold a vote" on the plan, predicting it would pass.

"They got exactly what they wanted; now they're trying to figure out how to get out of it," the president said of his adversaries.

In the second part of his speech, Obama turned his attention to the looming debt ceiling crisis, which he warned could have far greater consequences to the world economy.

The U.S. Treasury is expected to reach its borrowing limit by Oct. 17, and economists have warned that a potential default, if Congress fails to lift the debt ceiling, would damage the economy far worse than the shutdown.

“As reckless as the government shutdown is, as many people who are being hurt by a government shutdown, an economic shutdown resulting from default would be dramatically worse,” Obama said.

“The United States is the center of the world economy,” he continued. “If we screw up, everybody gets screwed up. We’ll all have problems. … It would be the height of irresponsibility.”

Obama made his remarks on his 21st wedding anniversary with first lady Michelle Obama. As his motorcade made its way along Interstate 270, it passed a group of people holding hand-written signs, including one that read: "Rough week?"

 

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Sean Sullivan · October 3, 2013