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Obama warns Republicans against "extortion" over US shutdown

Obama warns Republicans against "extortion" over US shutdown
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President Obama has held a news conference about the US government shutdown.

He said he would be willing to talk about any issues once Congress voted to reopen government and then to raise the debt ceiling.

“I will sit down and work with anyone of any party not only to talk about the budget, I’ll talk about ways to improve the healthcare system, “ Obama declared.

He added that American people don’t demand a ransom for doing their jobs, so neither should Republicans and warned them to stop using threats:

“We can’t make extortion routine as part of our democracy. Democracy does not function this way. If, in fact, Republicans are serious about wanting to negotiate, wanting to have a conversation, wanting to talk, there is no reason why you have to have that threat looming over the conversations.”

Obama added that ordinary Americans would suffer if the debt ceiling wasn’t raised and the country defaulted.

“A decision to actually go through with it, to actually permit default according to many CEOs and economists would be and I’m quoting here insane catastrophic chaos , these are some of the more polite words. Warren Buffet likened default to a nuclear bomb.”

Obama said that if Congress refused to raise the debt ceiling, America would not be able to meet its financial obligations for the first time in 225 years.

The US has until October 17 to raise its borrowing limit before it risks defaulting.