Obama To Republicans: 'Knock It Off'

by Jenny Hollander

President Obama had sharp words for House Republicans Friday afternoon, warning that the impending government shutdown set to go into effect Monday night — which Republicans seem intent on using as a tool for blackmail in their relentless fight against Obamacare — would have a "profoundly destabilizing effect" on the economy, and all for the sake of "a couple of laws you don't like." The president's comments come as he grows more and more exasperated with the GOP's refusal to accept his looming healthcare reform, a stance that the president has labelled "crazy."

Just as Obama continues to tell Republicans to "Knock it off... It's not going to happen," House GOP members are repeatedly insisting that they'll fight to delay or defund the president's program until the end. Over the weekend, the Republican-led House, said a spokesman, "will take action that reflects the fundamental fact that Americans don't want a government shutdown and they don't want the train wreck that is Obamacare."

But time is running out. Three days from the impending government shutdown, the Senate approved a version of the budget Friday that would fund the government through November, and stripped a provision the House had initially included to defund Obamacare. This incensed the GOP-heavy House, and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said that they will simply not accept a "clean" bill. If the House doesn't approve the final bill, there isn't time for the Senate to approve anything else they would propose — this would typically take up to a week, and funding runs out Monday night.

A shutdown would mean that major government operations, (as well as several museums, parks, and public buildings) would close. Obama warned Friday that this could be enough to "profoundly destabilize" the economy: "I realize that a lot of what's taking place right now is political grandstanding, but this grandstanding has real effects on real people," Obama said at the press conference. "Failure to meet this responsibility [of accepting the budget] would be far more dangerous than a government shutdown. It would effectively be an economic shutdown."

The House has scheduled a rare weekend session in an attempt to avert the impending shutdown. Obama remains firm that the healthcare exchange (an integral part of Obamacare, in which insurance plans can be compared online) is set to open on Tuesday, regardless of whether or not the budget is passed. If the government does shut down, it will be for the first time that's happened in 17 years.